Things To Consider When Pursuing A Career In Farming

Last Updated on July 8, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

A career in farming can be incredibly fulfilling. Despite being such a successful industry, many people do not know the range of opportunities that are available. If you are wondering whether or not this is the right path for you, it is important to consider the following:

Understanding the Agriculture Industry

The agriculture industry is a critical sector that not only provides food for the global population but also contributes significantly to economies around the world. It includes a wide range of activities related to the cultivation of crops and rearing of animals for food, fiber, medicinal plants, and other products used to sustain and enhance human life.

The industry is composed of various sectors such as crop production, livestock farming, forestry, and fishing. Crop production involves the growing of crops like corn, wheat, soybeans, and fruits for human and animal consumption. Livestock farming includes the rearing of animals like cattle, poultry, and fish for meat, dairy, and eggs.

Forestry is another significant part of the agriculture industry, focusing on the growth and harvesting of trees for timber, paper, and other wood products. The fishing sector, on the other hand, involves the catching of fish and other seafood from oceans, rivers, and lakes for human consumption.

In terms of economic impact, the agriculture industry plays a substantial role. For example, in 2021, agriculture, food, and related industries contributed roughly $1.264 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), accounting for a 5.4-percent share.

Agriculture is also an essential source of employment. From small-scale farmers in developing countries to large agribusinesses in developed nations, the industry offers a wide array of job opportunities.

However, the industry faces several challenges, including climate change, water scarcity, and soil degradation, which require sustainable farming practices and innovative solutions.

Despite these challenges, the agriculture industry remains vital for global food security and economic development. As the global population continues to grow, so does the demand for food, making the industry’s role even more crucial in the coming years.

Skills Needed for a Farming Career

A successful career in farming requires a unique blend of skills and personal qualities. Here are some of the key ones identified from various sources:

1. Technical Skills: Farmers need to understand how to operate and maintain farm machinery, as well as handle livestock and crops. This includes everything from tractors and irrigation systems to understanding the lifecycle of crops and animals.

2. Analytical Skills: Farmers must make decisions based on a variety of factors, such as weather patterns, soil conditions, and market trends. Therefore, strong analytical skills are essential.

3. Physical Strength and Stamina: Farming is a physically demanding job that often involves long hours of work in all kinds of weather. Farmers need to be physically fit and have the stamina to handle these demands.

4. Mechanical Skills: Equipment breakdowns are common on farms. Having some basic mechanical skills can save time and money when minor repairs are needed.

5. Business Management Skills: Farmers must understand the business side of farming, including financial management, marketing, and strategic planning.

6. Problem Solving Skills: Unexpected issues are commonplace in farming. The ability to think critically and solve problems as they arise is crucial.

7. Organizational Skills: Farmers need to manage a wide range of tasks, often with limited resources. Good organizational skills can help ensure that everything gets done in a timely and efficient manner.


Unlike other careers, there is not one specific course you need to take in order to qualify in becoming a farmer. Before you can decide what qualifications to pursue, you should first do some research into the different jobs available. You will need to think about whether or not you want to own a commercial or smaller farm. It is also worth researching the current farms in your area, to determine what is already on offer, whether you would rather compete or get a job at an existing farm.

It is also very valuable to speak to others within the industry to gain valuable insight into what different roles entail. In doing this, you may even be able to secure yourself some work experience which can be instrumental in helping you realize which area of farming you want to go into.

Finally, you can now begin researching different agriculture courses available and which is going to work best for you.

Educational Pathways to Become a Farmer

Education plays a pivotal role in farming. It equips farmers with the necessary skills and knowledge to improve their productivity, manage their farms effectively, and adapt to changing agricultural trends and technologies.

Here are some reasons why education is essential in farming:

1. Enhances Farming Skills: Education provides farmers with the knowledge they need to manage their crops or livestock effectively. For instance, they learn about different types of soil, the best crops for each season, how to care for various livestock, and much more.

2. Facilitates Adoption of New Technologies: The farming industry is continually evolving, with new technologies and practices being introduced regularly. Education helps farmers understand and adopt these innovations, enhancing their productivity and efficiency.

3. Promotes Sustainable Practices: Through education, farmers learn about sustainable farming practices, such as organic farming, permaculture, and agroforestry. These methods help protect the environment while also improving crop yield and quality.

4. Improves Business Management: Farming is not just about growing crops or rearing animals; it’s also a business. Education equips farmers with skills in financial management, marketing, and strategic planning, enabling them to run their farms profitably.

5. Enhances Problem-Solving Abilities: Farming comes with its fair share of challenges, from pest infestations to unpredictable weather patterns. Education equips farmers with problem-solving skills, helping them navigate these hurdles and make informed decisions.

6. Empowers Farmers: Lastly, education empowers farmers, giving them the confidence to experiment with new crops or farming methods, negotiate better prices for their produce, and even advocate for policies that benefit the farming community.

Gaining Practical Experience

Hands-on experience plays an indispensable role in farming. It provides a practical understanding of the processes and challenges associated with agriculture that can’t be fully grasped through theoretical learning alone. Here is a deeper look into the significance of hands-on experience in farming:

1. Skill Development: Farming involves a range of tasks such as planting, harvesting, livestock handling, machinery operation, and more. Hands-on experience allows individuals to acquire and refine these essential skills.

2. Understanding the Cycle of Farming: Farming is a cyclical process, with each season bringing different tasks and challenges. Through hands-on experience, one gains a first-hand understanding of these cycles and the rhythm of farm life.

3. Problem-Solving: Unexpected issues often arise in farming, from equipment breakdowns to pest infestations. Dealing with these issues firsthand develops problem-solving skills and resilience.

4. Knowledge of Sustainable Practices: Hands-on farming experience provides a deeper understanding of sustainable farming practices. It helps individuals learn about organic farming, soil conservation, water management, and other eco-friendly practices.

5. Connection to Nature: Working directly with the land and animals fosters a strong connection to nature. This connection often instills a sense of responsibility towards the environment and a commitment to sustainable farming.

6. Learning Business Aspects: Farming isn’t just about growing crops or raising animals; it’s also a business. Hands-on experience exposes individuals to the business side of farming, including marketing produce, managing finances, and understanding market trends.

7. Building Community: Many farming experiences involve working alongside others, fostering a sense of community. This can lead to the formation of supportive networks, which are invaluable in this challenging industry.

Career Progression in Farming

A career in farming is often a lifelong journey that involves various stages, opportunities for advancement, and areas of specialization. Here’s an overview:

1. Entry-Level: This stage usually involves working as a farmhand or intern. It’s a period of learning the ropes, gaining hands-on experience, and understanding the day-to-day operations of a farm.

2. Mid-Level: After gaining sufficient experience, one might advance to roles like farm manager or supervisor. This stage involves more responsibilities, including managing staff, overseeing operations, making decisions about crop rotations or livestock care, and possibly handling some business tasks like marketing and sales.

3. Senior-Level: With more experience and demonstrated competency, individuals may become farm owners or operators, or they might take on high-level management roles within larger agricultural companies or organizations.

In terms of specialization, there are numerous paths within the farming industry. Some farmers choose to focus on certain types of crops (such as organic produce, grains, or specialty crops like vineyards). Others may specialize in livestock (dairy farming, poultry, beef cattle, etc.). There’s also the possibility of specializing in areas like farm equipment technology, agricultural science, or farm business management.

Networking and professional development are crucial at every stage of a farming career. Building relationships with other farmers, suppliers, customers, and agricultural professionals can provide valuable opportunities for learning, collaboration, and growth. It’s also important to stay updated on the latest research, technologies, and practices in agriculture. This can be achieved through continuing education courses, workshops, webinars, industry publications, and membership in professional organizations.


There are a lot of benefits to getting a job in farming.

Firstly, it is a vast industry, meaning there are so many role options. Therefore, if you do not enjoy your initial job, there are other areas you could try.

There is high job satisfaction in farming. Being able to see your hard work become food on people’s tables, it is certainly a job that will always be required, giving you security as well as satisfaction.

Working in farming also requires teamwork, giving you the opportunity to build strong relationships that can last a lifetime.

Finally, farming is an industry that is beginning to utilize technology far more frequently, making it an exciting time to get involved.


Despite the benefits of a career in farming, there are also certain risks that need to be taken into consideration.

Farming is typically a very physically intensive job. From handling animals, using chemicals, and being exposed to intense vibrations, farmers often have ill health during or at the end of their careers. This is not always caused due to long-term issues but can also be the result of accidents such as being struck by machinery. In such instances, farmers may be able to make a claim if the incident was through no fault of their own.