Farm Worker Career Profile

How do I become a farm worker?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

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4 January 2024


What is a Farm Worker?

A Farm Worker attends to the daily tasks required to successfully run a farm. Animal Farm Workers take responsibility for looking after the livestock (animals) on a farm, from cattle to bees or fish.

A general Farm Worker may work on a crop or livestock farm, or a farm that has a combination of both.

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This career deals with those who are hired to work on farms, and does not include the actual list of different farmers, such as a chicken farmer, or dairy farmer. You can find these careers under the Farming and Livestock Management category.

Alternative names

A general farm worker may be referred to by various alternative names, depending on regional preferences, specific job duties, or the type of farming involved. Here are some alternative names for a general farm worker:

  • Farmhand
  • Farm Labourer
  • Agricultural Labourer
  • Field Worker
  • Rural Labourer
  • Farm Helper
  • Farm Attendant
  • Crop Worker
  • Harvest Worker
  • Livestock Worker
  • Farm Technician
  • Farming Assistant
  • Orchard Worker
  • Greenhouse Worker
  • Dairy Farm Worker
  • Poultry Farm Worker
  • Cattle Ranch Hand
  • Farm Crew Member
  • Ag Worker (short for Agricultural Worker)
  • Horticultural Labourer

These terms can be used interchangeably, but the specific title might vary based on the type of farming operation, the region, or the employer’s preferences.

Career Categories

The Farm Worker career can be found within the following career categories:

  • Animal Care
  • Farming & Livestock Management

What does a farm worker do?

With which Groups of animals does a Farm Worker work with?

Farm Animals Icon OZT
Farm Animals

Farm workers may work with a variety of animals depending on the type of farm and its focus. The specific animals a farm worker interacts with can vary widely, and the responsibilities may include feeding, care, breeding, and general management. Here are some common types of animals that farm workers may work with:


Dairy Cattle:

Raised for milk production.

Beef Cattle:

Raised for meat production.



Raised for meat (broilers) or egg production.


Raised for meat production.

Ducks and Geese:

Raised for meat or egg production.

Pigs (Swine):

Pork Production:

Raised for meat production.


Raised for Wool:

Wool production and sometimes meat.


Dairy Goats:

Raised for milk production.

Meat Goats:

Raised for meat production.

Fiber Goats:

Raised for their wool or mohair.


Work Horses:

Used for various farm tasks.

Riding Horses:

May be used for recreation or work.



Beekeeping for honey production and pollination.



Farming of fish for food production.

Alpacas and Llamas:

Raised for Fiber:

Fiber production (wool or fiber).

Deer and Elk:

Game Farming:

For meat production, Antlers, or hides.


Meat and Fur Production:

Raised for meat and fur.

Aquatic Animals:


Aquaculture of mollusks like oysters or clams.


Various species raised in aquaculture.

What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

With whom does a Farm Worker work?

A farm worker may work with various individuals and groups, depending on the size and type of the farm as well as the specific tasks involved. Here are some key people and entities with whom a farm worker may collaborate:

Farm Owner/Manager:

The farm worker often takes direction from the farm owner or manager, who oversees the overall operations of the farm.

Supervisors/Team Leaders:

On larger farms, there may be supervisors or team leaders who provide guidance to groups of farm workers and coordinate daily tasks.

Other Farm Workers:

Collaboration with fellow farm workers is common, especially when working on tasks such as planting, harvesting, or caring for animals.

Agricultural Scientists/Advisors:

In some cases, farm workers may work with agricultural scientists or advisors who provide expertise on crop management, pest control, or other specialised areas.

Livestock Veterinarians:

If the farm involves livestock, farm workers may work alongside or under the guidance of veterinarians to ensure the health and well-being of the animals.

Equipment Operators:

Farm workers may collaborate with individuals who specialise in operating and maintaining agricultural machinery and equipment.

Transportation and Logistics Professionals:

For farms involved in the distribution of agricultural products, farm workers may work with transportation and logistics professionals to coordinate the movement of goods.

Government Inspectors/Regulators:

Farm workers may interact with government inspectors or regulators who ensure compliance with agricultural regulations and standards.

Crop Consultants:

In specialised farming, such as horticulture or organic farming, farm workers might collaborate with crop consultants to optimise crop yields and quality.

Seasonal Workers/Temporary Laborers:

During peak seasons, farms often hire seasonal or temporary workers to handle increased workloads, and farm workers may work alongside them.

Farm Suppliers:

Farm workers may interact with suppliers of seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, and other agricultural inputs.


In some cases, farm workers may be involved in direct-to-consumer sales or work with retailers who distribute the farm’s products.

Community Members:

Farm workers may engage with the local community, especially if the farm is involved in community-supported agriculture or participates in local farmers’ markets.

Collaboration and communication with these various individuals and groups are crucial for the efficient and successful operation of a farm. The specific interactions will depend on the nature of the farming operation and the tasks involved.

What does a Farm Worker focus on?

A Farm Worker is involved in a wide range of tasks related to the cultivation of crops, care of livestock, and general maintenance of the farm. The specific focus of a Farm Worker can vary based on the type of farm, its size, and the seasonal demands.

What are the daily tasks of a Farm Worker?

The daily tasks of a farm worker can vary based on the type of farm, the season, and the specific needs of the agricultural operation. Here is a general overview of the daily tasks that a farm worker might perform:

Morning Checks:

  • Conduct routine checks on livestock, ensuring they are fed, watered, and in good health.
  • Inspect crops for signs of pests or diseases.

Crop Cultivation:

  • Engage in planting, transplanting, and cultivating crops as needed.
  • Monitor soil conditions and irrigation systems.


  • Harvest crops at the appropriate time to maximise yield and quality.
  • Operate and maintain harvesting equipment.

Livestock Care:

  • Feed and water animals, ensuring they receive the proper nutrition.
  • Check for signs of illness or injury and provide the necessary care.

Equipment Operation:

  • Operate farm machinery and equipment for tasks such as ploughing, seeding, or harvesting.
  • Conduct routine maintenance checks on equipment.

Weeding and Pest Control:

  • Control weeds in fields and around crops.
  • Monitor and implement pest control measures as needed.

Field Maintenance:

  • Clear fields of debris and prepare land for planting.
  • Repair or replace fencing and gates.

Animal Handling:

  • Move livestock between grazing areas or pens.
  • Assist with animal breeding and reproduction tasks.

General Farm Maintenance:

  • Perform maintenance tasks on farm buildings and infrastructure.
  • Repair and maintain tools and equipment.

Irrigation Management:

  • Monitor and manage irrigation systems to ensure proper watering of crops.

Record Keeping:

  • Maintain accurate records of daily activities, including planting and harvesting dates, crop yields, and livestock health information.

Adaptation to Seasonal Tasks:

  • Adjust daily activities based on seasonal demands, such as preparing for planting or winterizing the farm.

Health and Safety Measures:

  • Adhere to health and safety protocols to ensure a safe working Environment.
  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment.

Community Interaction (if applicable):

  • Interact with customers at farmers’ markets or community-supported agriculture programmes.

Adopting Technology:

  • Embrace technology for tasks such as precision farming, where applicable.

Other specialised Tasks:

  • Depending on the farm type, tasks may include beekeeping, mushroom cultivation, or other specialised activities.

It’s important to note that the tasks of a Farm Worker can be physically demanding and may vary daily based on the needs of the farm. Flexibility, adaptability, and a strong work ethic are key attributes for individuals working in this role.

With what kind of tools and technology (if any) does a Farm Worker work?

Farm workers rely on a variety of tools and technologies to perform their duties efficiently and effectively. These tools and technologies can vary depending on the type of farming operation, crops, livestock, and tasks involved. Here are some common tools and technologies used by farm workers:

Hand Tools:

Shovels, Spades, and Forks:

Used for digging, lifting, and turning soil, as well as handling compost and manure.

Hoes and Rakes:

For weeding, cultivating soil, and spreading mulch.

Pruning Shears and Loppers:

Used for trimming plants, pruning trees, and harvesting fruits or vegetables.

Harvesting Knives:

Designed for harvesting crops such as fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

Mechanical Equipment:


Essential for various tasks such as ploughing, planting, cultivating, and harvesting. Tractors may be equipped with attachments like ploughs, cultivators, seeders, and mowers.


Machines designed for efficiently harvesting crops like grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Hay Balers and Forage Equipment:

Used for baling hay and forage crops for storage and feeding livestock.

Livestock Handling Equipment:

Includes chutes, gates, and panels for safely handling and working with livestock.

Irrigation Systems:

Automated or manual systems for watering crops, including sprinklers, drip irrigation, and flood irrigation.

Technology and Precision Agriculture:

Global Positioning System (GPS):

Integrated into tractors and other equipment for precision guidance, mapping, and monitoring of field activities.


Used for aerial imaging, mapping, and monitoring crop health and field conditions.

Farm Management Software:

Tools for planning, record-keeping, and analysing data related to crop production, inventory management, and financials.

Weather Monitoring Systems:

Sensors and weather stations for monitoring temperature, humidity, rainfall, and other weather variables to inform decision-making.

Protective Gear and Safety Equipment:

Work Gloves:

Protect hands from cuts, blisters, and abrasions when handling tools and equipment.

Safety Goggles:

Eye protection from debris, chemicals, and dust during various farm tasks.

Ear Protection:

Hearing protection from loud machinery and equipment.

Respiratory Masks:

Protection from dust, allergens, and chemical fumes during tasks like spraying pesticides or handling organic matter.

Livestock Management Tools:

Tagging and Identification Equipment:

Tools for tagging, branding, and identifying individual animals for record-keeping and management purposes.

Milking Equipment:

Includes milking machines, udder sanitization equipment, and milk storage containers for dairy farms.

Fencing and Containment Systems:

Used for creating pasture rotations, dividing grazing areas, and containing livestock.

Transportation and Handling Equipment:

Wheelbarrows and Carts:

For transporting materials, tools, and harvested produce around the farm.

Trailers and Wagons:

Used for transporting crops, equipment, and livestock between fields and storage areas.

Forklifts and Skid Steers:

For lifting, loading, and moving heavy objects and materials.

Farm workers often require a combination of traditional hand tools, machinery, and modern technology to carry out their duties efficiently while ensuring productivity and sustainability in agricultural operations.

The Working environment of Farm Workers

Where does a Farm Worker work?

A Farm Worker’s working environment can vary based on the type of farming operation and the specific tasks involved. Both indoor and outdoor settings are common, and the work often involves exposure to various weather conditions. Here’s an overview of the indoor and outdoor working environments for a farm worker:

Outdoor Working Environment:

Field Work:

  • Description: Many farm tasks take place in open fields, including planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops.
    Environment: Exposure to sunlight, wind, and varying temperatures depending on the season.

Livestock Areas:

  • Description: Caring for and managing livestock involves working in pens, barns, or grazing areas.
  • Environment: Outdoor settings with exposure to animal waste, dust, and varying weather conditions.

Orchards and Vineyards:

  • Description: Workers in orchards or vineyards are involved in tasks such as pruning, thinning, and harvesting.
  • Environment: Outdoor settings with exposure to trees, vines, and varying weather conditions.

Crop Irrigation:

  • Description: Monitoring and managing irrigation systems for crops.
  • Environment: Outdoor settings, often involving working with water and irrigation equipment.

Machinery Operation:

  • Description: Operating tractors, plows, and other machinery for field preparation and maintenance.
  • Environment: Outdoor settings, exposure to dust, and noise from machinery.

Weeding and Pest Control:

  • Description: Controlling weeds and managing pests in crop fields.
  • Environment: Outdoor settings, exposure to pesticides, and varying weather conditions.

Fencing and Infrastructure Maintenance:

  • Description: Repairing and maintaining fences, gates, and other farm infrastructure.
  • Outdoor settings, involving physical labor and exposure to the elements.

Indoor Working Environment:


  • Description: Tasks such as seedling propagation, plant care, and harvesting may take place in greenhouses.
  • Environment: Indoor settings with controlled temperature and humidity.

Barns and Animal Shelters:

  • Description: Caring for livestock in barns or animal shelters.
  • Environment: Indoor settings with exposure to animal odors and waste.

Processing Facilities:

  • Description: Sorting, packing, and processing harvested crops in designated facilities.
  • Environment: Indoor settings with equipment for sorting and packaging.

Equipment Maintenance:

  • Description: Performing routine maintenance on farm machinery and equipment.
  • Environment: Indoor workshops or equipment storage areas.

Places of Employment:

Family Farms:

  • Description: Small to medium-sized family-owned farms where workers may engage in various tasks.

Commercial Farms:

  • Description: Larger-scale commercial farms with more specialised tasks and potentially more mechanised operations.

Livestock Ranches:

  • Description: Farms specialising in livestock raising, such as cattle ranches or dairy farms.

Orchards and Vineyards:

  • Description: Farms focused on fruit or grape cultivation for commercial purposes.

Greenhouses and Nurseries:

  • Description: Facilities specialising in the cultivation of plants in controlled environments.

Community Gardens:

  • Description: Small-scale farms or gardens operated by communities or organisations.

Organic Farms:

  • Description: Farms that follow organic farming practices, emphasising sustainability and natural methods.

Specialised Farms:

  • Description: Farms with a focus on specific crops or activities, such as mushroom cultivation or beekeeping.

The working environment can be physically demanding, and farm workers should be prepared for a combination of indoor and outdoor tasks, often in close proximity to the natural elements and agricultural machinery. It’s important to note that the specific conditions can vary widely based on the region, type of farm, and time of year.

What is the average annual salary for a farm Worker?

Salaries or wages for farm workers, including those focused on livestock, can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, education, specific duties, and the cost of living in each region or country. Additionally, pay structures may differ, with some workers receiving hourly wages while others may be salaried.

Here is a general overview of the average yearly salary or wages for livestock-based farm workers in the specified countries and regions. Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change. It’s advisable to consult local sources or labour authorities for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Country-Specific Estimates:

United States (USA): Average: $25,000 to $35,000 per year.
Note: Can vary significantly based on the state, type of livestock, and size of the farm.

Canada: Average: $25,000 to $35,000 per year.
Note: Variability is based on province, farm size, and responsibilities.

United Kingdom (UK): Average: £18,000 to £25,000 per year.
Note: Salaries can differ based on location, type of farm, and experience.

India: Average: INR 1,50,000 to INR 3,50,000 per year.
Note: Highly variable depending on the region and scale of farming.

Australia: Average: AUD 45,000 to AUD 60,000 per year.
Note: Varies based on location, farm size, and experience.

New Zealand: Average: NZD 40,000 to NZD 55,000 per year.
Note: Salaries depend on the region and farm type.

Nigeria: Average: NGN 300,000 to NGN 600,000 per year.
Note: This is highly variable depending on the region and type of farming.

Kenya: Average: KES 150,000 to KES 400,000 per year.
Note: Salaries can vary based on the region and farm size.

South Africa: Average: ZAR 80,000 to ZAR 150,000 per year.
Note: Salaries depend on factors like experience and farm size.

Regional Estimates:

South America: Average: USD 10,000 to USD 25,000 per year.
Note: This varies by country and local economic conditions.

Europe: Average: EUR 20,000 to EUR 30,000 per year.
Note: Salaries differ significantly by country and region.

Southeast Asia: Average: USD 4,000 to USD 10,000 per year.
Note: This is highly variable based on the country and local economic conditions.

Keep in mind that these figures are general estimates, and actual salaries may be higher or lower based on individual circumstances. Additionally, benefits and living conditions can also play a significant role in assessing the overall compensation package for farm workers. For the most accurate information, it’s recommended to consult local labour authorities, agricultural organisations, or salary surveys specific to each region or country.

Can a Farm Worker be promoted?

Yes, a Farm Worker can experience career advancement and be promoted within the agricultural sector. While the traditional career progression in farming may not follow the same hierarchical structure as in some other industries, there are opportunities for growth, increased responsibilities, and advancement in various areas. Here are some avenues through which a Farm Worker might progress in their career:

Junior Farm Worker

Performing basic care and maintenance duties.

Supervisory Roles

Experienced farm workers may be promoted to supervisory roles where they oversee and coordinate the work of other farm workers. This could involve managing a team during planting or harvesting seasons.

Farm Management

With additional experience and skills, a farm worker may advance to a farm management position. In this role, they would be responsible for overseeing overall farm operations, making strategic decisions, and managing resources.

What difficulties do farm workers face?

Farm workers can encounter a variety of challenges in their profession due to the nature of agricultural work and the diverse tasks involved. These challenges can encompass physical, safety, environmental, emotional, and business-related aspects. Here are some common challenges that farm workers may face:

Physical Demands:

  • Challenge: Agricultural work often involves strenuous physical labour, including lifting, bending, and repetitive tasks.
  • Impact: Physical fatigue and the risk of injuries, especially musculoskeletal issues, can be challenging for farm workers.

Safety Concerns:

  • Challenge: Working with machinery, equipment, and livestock presents safety hazards.
  • Impact: Accidents and injuries, including those related to machinery operation and handling of animals, can pose significant risks.

Variability in Working Conditions:

  • Challenge: Farm work is highly dependent on weather conditions and seasons.
  • Impact: Variability in weather can affect crop yields, require adjustments to work schedules, and impact overall productivity.

Emotional Challenges:

  • Challenge: Farm workers may face emotional stress related to factors like crop failures, animal health issues, or the uncertainties of agricultural income.
  • Impact: Emotional well-being can be affected, leading to stress, anxiety, or burnout.

Business Management:

  • Challenge: Farm workers involved in farm management or entrepreneurship may face challenges in financial management and decision-making.
  • Impact: Business-related challenges can affect the overall sustainability and profitability of the farm.

Regulatory Compliance:

  • Challenge: Farms must comply with various local, state, and federal regulations.
  • Impact: Ensuring compliance with environmental, labour, and safety regulations can be time-consuming and may require additional resources.

Continuing Education:

  • Challenge: Staying updated on evolving agricultural practices, technology, and regulations requires ongoing learning.
  • Impact: Lack of access to training programmes or resources may hinder professional development.

Unpredictable Work Hours:

  • Challenge: Farm work often involves long and irregular hours, especially during planting and harvesting seasons.
  • Impact: Irregular work hours can affect work-life balance and lead to fatigue.

Market and Price Volatility:

  • Challenge: Fluctuations in commodity prices and market conditions can impact farm income.
  • Impact: Economic uncertainties may affect the financial stability of the farm and the livelihood of farm workers.

Access to Resources:

  • Challenge: Limited access to resources such as water, fertilisers, or quality seeds can affect agricultural productivity.
  • Impact: Insufficient resources may hinder the ability to achieve optimal yields.

Succession Planning:

  • Challenge: Planning for the future and ensuring the continuity of the farm through generational transitions can be challenging.
  • Impact: Lack of succession planning may result in the loss of family farms.

Environmental Sustainability:

  • Challenge: Balancing agricultural productivity with environmental sustainability practices can be a complex task.
  • Impact: Failure to adopt sustainable practices may lead to soil degradation, water pollution, and other environmental issues.

Addressing these challenges often requires a combination of proactive management, access to resources and support services, training and education, and adapting to changing conditions in the agricultural industry. Agricultural organisations, government agencies, and community support can play crucial roles in helping farm workers overcome these challenges.

Future Growth and Possibilities

The annual growth for farm workers is well over 10%.

The general trends and factors that have been influencing the agriculture and livestock industries, which may continue to shape the future, are:

Technological Advancements:

  • Trend: Increasing adoption of precision agriculture, automated systems, and data analytics in livestock farming.
  • Possibility: Continued technological advancements may improve efficiency, reduce labour demands, and enhance productivity.

Sustainable Practices:

  • Trend: Growing emphasis on sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices.
  • Possibility: The demand for sustainably produced meat and dairy products may influence farm management practices and create new opportunities.

Animal Welfare Standards:

  • Trend: Heightened awareness and consumer demand for humane and ethical treatment of livestock.
  • Possibility: Farms adhering to high animal welfare standards may have a competitive advantage in the market.

Global Market Dynamics:

  • Trend: Increasing global demand for meat and dairy products.
  • Possibility: Export opportunities for livestock products may expand, creating possibilities for increased production and trade.

Diversification of Livestock Products:

  • Trend: Beyond traditional meat and dairy, there’s a growing market for niche and specialty products (e.g., organic, grass-fed, and free-range).
  • Possibility: Farm workers may explore diversification to meet changing consumer preferences and market demands.

Regulatory Changes:

  • Trend: Evolving regulations related to food safety, environmental standards, and animal welfare.
  • Possibility: Compliance with new regulations may require adjustments in farm practices and management.

Labour Shortages:

  • Trend: Challenges in attracting and retaining skilled labour in agriculture.
  • Possibility: Adoption of more automation and technology to address labour shortages and enhance efficiency.

E-commerce and Direct-to-Consumer Sales:

  • Trend: Increased interest in direct-to-consumer sales, online platforms, and farm-to-table models.
  • Possibility: Farm workers may explore alternative marketing channels and business models to reach consumers directly.

Climate Change Impact:

  • Trend: Growing awareness of climate change and its potential impact on agriculture.
  • Possibility: Adoption of climate-resilient practices and innovations to mitigate risks and ensure long-term sustainability.

Education and Training Programmes:

  • Trend: Recognition of the importance of education and training in agriculture.
  • Possibility: Increased investment in training programmes to equip farm workers with the skills needed for modern farming practices.

Smart Farming and IoT Integration:

  • Trend: Integration of Internet of Things (IoT) devices for monitoring and managing livestock.
  • Possibility: Continued integration of smart farming technologies to optimise production and enhance animal health.

Pandemic Response and Resilience:

  • Trend: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted vulnerabilities in the food supply chain.
  • Possibility: Farms may focus on building resilience, diversification, and local supply chains.

It’s essential to note that the livestock farming industry can be influenced by a range of factors, and projections may vary based on geographic location, market dynamics, and unforeseen events. Staying informed about industry trends, embracing innovation, and adapting to changing consumer preferences are key strategies for the future of the livestock farming sector. For the latest and most accurate information, it’s recommended to refer to industry reports, agricultural organizations, and government sources.

Availability of Jobs

Very Good

Which Skills must a Farm Worker have?

The skills required for a career as a farm worker can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship
Life Skills

Career Skills

  • ​Basic animal handling and care techniques
  • Good health and physical fitness
Career Skills

Which subjects must I have at School to help prepare for this Career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

What will I need to Study to become a Farm Worker?

Minimum educational requirement

Most Farm Worker positions require at least a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification. This provides a foundational level of education for understanding basic agricultural concepts and performing practical tasks on the farm.

Study Focus

Subjects for Further Study:

Agricultural Science:

Further study in agricultural science can deepen your understanding of crop and livestock management, soil science, and sustainable farming practices.


A more in-depth study of biology can provide additional insights into plant and animal biology, genetics, and Ecosystem dynamics.

Animal Science (if interested in livestock):

Specialising in animal science can be beneficial for those interested in working with livestock, covering topics like animal health, nutrition, and breeding.

Agricultural Economics:

Studying agricultural economics can provide knowledge of the economic aspects of farming, including market trends, pricing, and budgeting.

Advanced Studies (if Necessary):

Diploma or Certificate in Agriculture:

Pursuing a diploma or certificate in agriculture from a technical or agricultural college can offer specialised training in farm management, machinery operation, and specific aspects of crop or livestock production.

Associate’s Degree in Agriculture:

An associate’s degree in agriculture provides a more comprehensive education and may include coursework in agronomy, horticulture, or animal science.

Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture (for Farm Management):

Farm workers aspiring to take on managerial roles may consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree in agriculture with a focus on farm management, business, or agronomy.

Optional Short Courses:

Machinery Operation and Maintenance:

Short courses on machinery operation and maintenance can enhance your skills in operating and caring for farm equipment.

Pesticide Applicator Certification:

If involved in crop management, obtaining certification in pesticide application can be valuable for understanding and safely using agricultural chemicals.

First Aid and Safety Training:

Courses in first aid and safety training can be beneficial for handling emergency situations and ensuring a safe working environment on the farm.

Livestock Handling and Husbandry:

Short courses on livestock handling and husbandry can provide practical knowledge for those working with animals.

Precision Farming Technologies:

With the increasing use of technology in agriculture, short courses on precision farming and agricultural technologies can be valuable for staying updated on industry trends.

Study Duration

The duration of short courses differ, but can range from a few days to a few weeks.

​Possible Career Preparation Paths

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A preparation path is like a road map to where you want to be.

​Possible Paths:

Here is a suggested career preparation path for a high school student aspiring to pursue a farmworker career:

  1. Attend Career Guidance Sessions:

Attend career guidance sessions organised by the school or local community to gather information about various career options, including farm work.

2.  Research All Possible Careers:

Conduct thorough research on the Farm Worker career, understanding the responsibilities, required skills, and potential career growth.

3.  Explore Educational Paths:

Look into different educational paths such as vocational training programs, community college courses, or agricultural education programs that can prepare you for a career as a Farm Worker.

4.  Align High School Subjects with Educational Path:

Choose high school subjects that align with the educational requirements for a career in farming, such as biology, agriculture, or vocational courses related to farming and agriculture.

5.  Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent:

Focus on academic performance to obtain a high school diploma or equivalent qualification.

6.  Learn about Animals:

Gain knowledge about the animals commonly associated with farming, such as livestock or poultry, and understand their care requirements.

7.  Align Post-School Path:

Decide whether to enter the workforce directly after high school, pursue further education in agriculture, or consider starting a small farming business.

8.  Gain Experience through Volunteering/Internship/Mentorship:

Seek opportunities to gain practical experience through volunteering, internships, or mentorship programs with local farms or agricultural organizations.

9.  Pursue Extracurricular Activities:

Participate in extracurricular activities related to agriculture or farming, such as joining a Future Farmers of America (FFA) club or participating in agricultural fairs and events.

10. Join Professional Associations:

Join relevant professional associations for farm workers or agriculture professionals to stay connected with the industry and access resources.

11. Gain Specialized Skills:

Acquire specialized skills, such as operating farm machinery, understanding irrigation systems, or handling specific crops or animals.

12. Network with Professionals:

Attend industry events, workshops, and networking sessions to connect with professionals in the farming community.

13. Enter the Job Market, Finish Tertiary Studies, or Launch a Business:

Depending on your chosen path, enter the job market, pursue further studies in agriculture, or consider launching a small farming business.

14. Stay Updated and Pursue Continuing Education:

Stay informed about advancements in farming practices, technology, and regulations. Pursue continuing education opportunities to enhance your skills and knowledge throughout your career.

By following these steps, a high school student can better prepare for a Farm Worker career and increase their chances of success in the agricultural industry.

Possible Combined Career Paths

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternative(s):

Stepping Stone Career

A stepping-stone career refers to a job or position that serves as a transitional or intermediate step towards a long-term career goal. Individuals may take on a stepping-stone job as it requires minimum education or finances to enter, or to gain relevant experience and develop skills, or to make professional connections that will ultimately help them progress towards their desired career path.

These interim positions may not be the ultimate or dream job, but they provide valuable learning opportunities and contribute to the individual’s overall career development. Stepping-stone careers are often seen as a strategic approach to building a successful and fulfilling professional trajectory, allowing individuals to gradually move closer to their desired roles or industries.

A career as a livestock farm worker can provide valuable skills and experiences that may serve as a foundation for various other careers. While working on a farm, individuals develop practical skills, a strong work ethic, and an understanding of agricultural operations.

Here are some potential career paths that individuals may consider as they transition from a livestock farm worker role:

Training and apprenticeship

Becoming a successful Farm Worker often involves a combination of formal education and on-the-job training. On-the-job training and apprenticeships are crucial for gaining practical skills and hands-on experience in agricultural tasks. Here are some key components of in-house or on-the-job training for aspiring farm workers:

Basic Farm Operations:

Training Focus:

Introduction to day-to-day farm operations.


  • Planting and harvesting crops.
  • Feeding and caring for livestock.
  • Field preparation and maintenance.
  • Operation of basic farm equipment.

Machinery Operation:

Training Focus:

  • Safe and efficient operation of farm machinery and equipment.


  • Tractor operation.
  • Proper use of ploughs, cultivators, and other equipment.
  • Routine maintenance and basic repairs.

Livestock Handling:

Training Focus:

  • Proper care and management of livestock.


  • Feeding and watering animals.
  • Handling and restraining animals safely.
  • Basic veterinary care procedures.

Safety Protocols:

Training Focus:

  • Ensuring a safe working environment on the farm.


  • Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Emergency response procedures.
  • Hazard identification and mitigation.

Environmental Considerations:

Training Focus:

  • Awareness of environmental impact and sustainability.


  • Implementation of conservation practices.
  • Responsible use of water resources.

Specialized Skills (as needed):

Training Focus:

  • Acquiring skills specific to the type of farming operation.


  • Beekeeping for pollination (if applicable).
  • Handling specialized equipment or machinery.

Business Management (for farm managers):

Training Focus:

  • Understanding financial and managerial aspects of farming.


  • Budgeting and financial planning.
  • Decision-making related to crop selection and resource allocation.

Average level of education of those entering the career

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

Licenses, Certification, Registration and Professional Associations

Becoming a livestock farm worker may involve obtaining certain licences and certificates and complying with legal requirements. The specific requirements can vary based on the country, state, or province and the type of livestock farming involved. Here are some general considerations:

Agricultural Operation Permits:

  • Requirement: Some regions may require farmers, including livestock farm operators, to obtain agricultural operation permits. These permits ensure compliance with local regulations related to farming activities.

Livestock Handling Certificates:

  • Requirements: Certificates in livestock handling or husbandry may be required, especially if working with specific types of livestock. These certificates demonstrate competence in caring for animals.

Pesticide Applicator Certification:

  • Requirement: If involved in crop management on a livestock farm and using pesticides, pesticide applicator certification may be necessary. This certification ensures the proper and safe use of pesticides.

Tractor or Machinery Operation Licences:

  • Requirement: Depending on the region, licenses or certifications for operating tractors and other agricultural machinery may be necessary. Training programs and tests may be required to obtain these licenses.

Animal Welfare Certification:

  • Requirement: In some regions, there are certifications related to animal welfare standards.
  • Livestock farm workers may need to adhere to specific guidelines to ensure the humane treatment of animals.

Biosecurity Training:

  • Requirement: Farms, especially those dealing with large numbers of animals, may require biosecurity training to prevent the spread of diseases. This training is essential for protecting the health of livestock.

Food Safety Certification:

  • Requirement: If involved in the production of food products from livestock (e.g., meat or dairy), individuals may need food safety certifications to ensure compliance with health and safety standards.

Commercial Driver’s Licence (CDL):

  • Requirement: For farm workers involved in transporting livestock or agricultural products using large vehicles, a CDL may be required. This is common when transporting animals for sale or processing.

Environmental Compliance:

  • Requirement: Compliance with environmental regulations may be necessary, especially if the farm has waste management systems. Permits related to waste disposal and environmental impact may be required.

First Aid and CPR Certification:

  • Recommendation: While not always a legal requirement, obtaining first aid and CPR certification is advisable for emergency situations on the farm.

Occupational Health and Safety Training:

  • Requirement: Training on occupational health and safety practices may be mandated by local regulations to ensure a safe working environment.

It’s important to note that specific legal requirements and certifications can vary widely based on the location and the type of livestock farming operation. Individuals interested in becoming livestock farm workers should check with local agricultural authorities, extension offices, or agricultural organizations to determine the specific requirements in their region. Additionally, seeking guidance from experienced farmers or farm managers in the area can provide valuable insights into local regulations and expectations.

Professional Associations

Here are a few professional associations and societies related to agriculture and farm work. Keep in mind that the availability and prominence of associations may vary by region. Here are some notable organisations:

1. National FFA Organization (Future Farmers of America):

2. National Farmers’ Union (NFU):

3. Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA):

4. American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF):

5. National Farmers Union of Canada:

6. World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO):

7. Australian Farmers:

8. South African National Farmers’ Union (SANFU):

9. International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP):

10. National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT): 

Please note that the status and web links of these organisations may have changed since my last update. Additionally, there may be regional or specialized associations that cater to specific types of farming or agricultural practices. It’s advisable to check the websites for the most up-to-date information and explore local associations that may be relevant to specific agricultural sectors or regions.

Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards animal care

How do I start to prepare for this Career?

If you do decide on following this career, then OZT can assist you in gaining knowledge about the career and the animals you will be working with. We do this by offering you thousands of FREE short courses.

A. You can access the specialised study guide that fits in with the above preparation path

B.  If you are still uncertain about choosing this career, then have a look at our special series of WHAT NEXT courses. They take you through all of the questions you might have on how to choose the right career, what to do while and after school, and even how to start your own business.

C.  Or, join OZT as a member to access easy-to-use lists of courses to make your career preparation as smooth as possible! And yes, membership is always free.

Join the OZT online community for special access to more tools!

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a farm worker.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge 
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being a Farm Worker, and want to join the OZT Community, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu to start a new search and learn about a different career.

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Some of the best websites to help you decide on the Career:

American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC):

Website: American Livestock Breeds Conservancy

Description: ALBC is dedicated to the preservation of rare and endangered breeds of livestock. The website provides resources on heritage breeds, Breed conservation, and information for farmers interested in sustainable livestock farming.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA):

Website: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

Description: NCBA represents the cattle industry in the United States. The website offers resources on cattle farming, industry news, and educational materials for those interested in a career in the beef cattle sector.

Dairy Farmers of Canada:

Website: Dairy Farmers of Canada

Description: This website focuses on dairy farming in Canada and provides information for dairy farmers and those interested in the dairy industry. It covers topics such as milk production, farm sustainability, and industry news.

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