Agribusiness, Horticulture & Fishing

Farmworker

Farmworkers do practical and manual work on a farm.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Farmworker do?

Farmworkers do practical and manual work on a farm. Farmworkers are usually employed on any of the three main types of farm: farms that only have animals, farms that only have crops, and farms that have both. Increasingly, farmworkers are also employed in allied areas such as aquaculture farming.

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Work activities

Your work will vary depending on the type of farm and the time of year, but could include:

  • working with animals - such as feeding, cleaning out stalls or troughs, caring for ill livestock and using milking machines on dairy farms
  • ploughing fields, sowing seeds, spreading fertiliser, crop spraying and harvesting
  • mustering
  • operating tractors, irrigators, combine harvesters and other farm vehicles
  • maintenance of farm buildings and structures
  • digging and maintaining ditches
  • putting up and mending fences and gates.

You would be supervised by the farm owner, manager, or landowner, and you may also supervise seasonal casual staff.

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Key skills and interests

To become a farmworker, you would need:

  • the ability to do hard physical work
  • practical skills and technical knowledge
  • awareness of health and safety
  • communication skills and the ability to follow instructions
  • reliability, responsibility and motivation
  • a willingness to work flexibly.
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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Farming is seasonal and some times of the year are busier than others. You would normally work a standard number of hours per week, but would be expected to work paid overtime during the busy season. Early mornings, evenings and weekend work are standard.

There are often part-time and casual work opportunities available particularly during harvesting.

Conditions

Most aspects of working on a farm involve working outdoors in all weather conditions. Farm work is dirty and dusty and will not suit allergy sufferers. 

You will need to be physically fit and you may need a drivers’ licence for some jobs.

Accommodation may be provided by the employer on the property.

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How to become an Farmworker?

Entry Level Education

You do not need any formal qualifications to become a farmworker but it helps to have an interest in farming and working outdoors. Experience of working on a farm, for example from a weekend or holiday job, dairy work or crop picking would be useful. You would get some training on the job.

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of farmworkers is projected to decline somewhat.

Despite increasing international demand for food and meat, fewer farmworkers may be needed as agricultural and livestock establishments continue to consolidate. Technological advancements in farm equipment could also affect employment for farmworkers as output per worker increases.

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