Agriculture: A Beginner’s Guide for 2020by Hania Syed
Curious about life as an agronomist, what it’s like to launch an agribusiness or any other facet of the agricultural industry? This guide is your go-to source for information on the Australian agricultural industry. Learn all the steps you need to take to start your own agricultural career.
Farming in Australia
The agriculture industry is the backbone of Australian society, putting food on the table for the entire nation. Agriculture is also the livelihood of thousands of Australians, with a total of 1.6 million Australians working in farming, agriculture and related industries.
The industry is connected to many other segments of the economy, with successful agricultural production improving the economy as a whole (in fact, agriculture contributes to 3% of Australia’s GDP). On top of this, Australia is a significant world producer of many products like dairy, wool and beef, known for the incredible quality of our products.
A Change is Coming
At the same time, there is a growing need for sustainable agriculture and food production, and concerns are arising about Australia’s ability to thrive under the effects of droughts and competitive global agronomy. New approaches are needed to not only sustain Australia’s agricultural industry but preserve it for future generations.
So how can young people interested in agriculture ensure they keep up with all the changes and challenges, and use their passion and skills to contribute to the nation’s economy and wellbeing?
First, it’s worth familiarising yourself with the sheer diversity of Australian agriculture. A career in agriculture can involve sustainable development of the land, natural resource management, improving the health and wellbeing of Australian citizens, boosting the Australian economy through exporting in-demand goods, and everything in between.
Life on a farm is varied and challenging, allowing you to relish in your self-sufficiency. At the same time, working in agriculture doesn’t necessarily have to mean toughing it out on a farm. Someone interested in agriculture might find themselves working in government, logistics or science, to name just a few possible avenues. Whatever your chosen pathway, the career opportunities in agriculture are plentiful and equally rewarding.
The Benefits of Australian Agriculture
Australia’s access to stunning produce is part of what makes us the lucky country. We are also lucky enough to receive guidance from the indigenous people of Australia, who have an ancient and proven approach to farming and harvesting. There are plenty of areas of specialisation, from tending to our land and ensuring future generations can enjoy its spoils, to innovating in new areas of agriculture like urban agriculture.
Of course, agricultural science is complex, and the range of careers varies greatly depending on what you choose to specialise in. From working on a dairy farm to working elsewhere in the farming supply chain, the possibilities in agriculture are endless! It can be tricky to wrap your head around the accreditations and qualifications you’ll need, especially since agricultural business has a global trade element to it as well.
If you’ve been considering a career in agriculture, you could be wondering where to even start with this enormously broad industry. You might have some questions on your mind before diving into the field, like:
- What are the types of agriculture to consider?
- What is sustainable agriculture?
- How does agriculture affect the environment?
- What is horticulture vs agriculture?
- What are some technological impacts on agriculture?
- What is precision agriculture?
- What is biosecurity in agriculture?
But don’t stress! There’ll be a career pathway to suit you in the diverse world of agriculture, from getting your hands dirty to working in a lab.
Ready to sink your teeth into all things agriculture?
Let’s get stuck into it!
This career guide is the launching pad you’ll need, covering:
1. TYPES OF AGRICULTURE IN AUSTRALIA
Find out which approaches are going to be relevant in the next generation of agriculture.
2. RANGE OF AGRICULTURE JOBS ON OFFER
Agriculture is a wide open field with many available paths. Get your bearings first.
3. AGRICULTURE QUALIFICATIONS
The array of qualifications available mirrors the variety of jobs open to you in the agriculture sector.
4. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Your questions about agriculture, from biosecurity to climate, answered.
Types of Agriculture
Let’s dive into each one of these agricultural streams, and uncover which one speaks to you the most.
The term “agriculture” refers to the practice and science of farming, including rearing animals, cultivating soil and growing crops in order to provide food, wool and other products. There are various streams of agriculture in Australia, including regenerative agriculture, sustainable agriculture, precision agriculture, industrial agriculture and animal agriculture.
Let’s dive into each one of these agricultural streams, and uncover which one speaks to you the most.
Regenerative agriculture involves taking a conservationist and rehabilitative approach to food and farming. Concepts include increasing biodiversity, the improvement of the water cycle, topsoil regeneration, increasing resilience to climate change and bolstering the vitality of farm soil. Regenerative agriculture also has a focus on composting and recycling, with the aim being to let the farmland restore itself.
This makes regenerative agriculture the perfect field for those who are environmentally conscious and want to make a positive impact on the world.
Industrial agriculture refers to a large-scale and intensive approach to farming, in which fertilisers and antibiotics are often used.
Technology is used to promote faster growth and reduce illness, allowing for a greater quantity of food to be produced at a lower cost.
The concept of sustainable agriculture has been growing in recent years, with the aim being to meet society’s current food and textile needs without impacting future generations’ access to resources.
Environmental science guides sustainable agriculture practices, making it a popular field for environmentally conscious young people to enter.
Precision agriculture harnesses the power of technology to take a modern approach to farming. Also referred to as satellite farming or site-specific crop management, precision agriculture is a farming management concept that measures, observes and responds to variability within and between crops.
Animal agriculture involves breeding animals for the production of animal products, or recreational purposes. While there has long been a focus on maximising production while minimising costs, modern approaches to animal agriculture tries to take a more humane approach.
Types of Agriculture Jobs
So what do jobs in agriculture actually look like? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about being a farmhand!
Some pathways for job seekers to consider include:
- Agricultural consultant
- Animal nutritionist
- Biosecurity officer
- Environmental engineer
- Farm manager
- Fisheries officer
Types of Agriculture Jobs in Australia
Australia has a robust agricultural industry, offering extensive career opportunities to those interested in farm business and contributing to the Australian economy. Here are some of the top agriculture jobs to choose from, whether you’re in Queensland, Western Australia or somewhere in between.
A Passion for Plants: What It’s Like Working in Horticulture
Meg’s role incorporates a whole lot more than just planting seeds. In her role, she must be extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of plants and plant care. She also must be prepared to work outside all day no matter what.
Frequently Asked Questions About Agriculture
Why is agriculture important?
Agriculture not only provides food and raw materials to the Australian people but is also a source of our economic strength thanks to the international appeal of our produce. The agricultural industry also provides employment opportunities, indirectly or directly, to millions of Australians.
How does horticulture differ from agriculture?
Horticulture can be considered a subdivision of agriculture, dealing specifically with the gardening of plants.
What is biosecurity in agriculture?
Biosecurity refers to a set of measures designed to prevent the creation or spread of harmful organisms, which could result in the transmission of infectious diseases to people, animals and plants.
What are some technological impacts on agriculture?
Human innovation has meant that we are able to produce greater quantities of food. Some of these technological advancements include irrigation, livestock genetics and crop genetics. At the same time, however, technological advancements have also put pressure on the ecosystem.
How does agriculture affect the environment?
Outmoded methods of agriculture can have negative effects on the environment, such as deforestation, soil degradation and waste. Sustainable and regenerative agriculture are two methodologies that are being used to farm in a more environmentally responsible way.
How does climate change affect agriculture?
Increases in temperature, changes in rain patterns and natural disasters can all affect agriculture. This is why it’s especially important for young people today to take an environmentally-conscious approach to their agricultural careers.
From the wide array of careers listed above, it’s clear that there’s no one-size-fits-all qualification for agriculture. It’ll all depend on the precise role you see yourself entering. As a guide, some courses for those interested in Australian agriculture include:
Time to get out in the field?
So you’ve read up on agriculture, and now you’re itching to get your hands dirty. The sooner you investigate a course, the sooner you’ll be reaping the rewards of your hard work. Discover what’s on offer today!
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