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How to get into farming: Farm jobs on the rise with 375% increase in searches

How to get into farming: Work team harvesting fresh vegetables in the community greenhouse garden

Searches for farming jobs are on the rise to a huge degree. With borders to the UK having been closed for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s time to look for the silver lining – and in this case, it’s plenty of opportunities to try your hand at farming. 

Making the move into an agricultural career is a big step, especially if you have long been employed in a hugely different sector. But now could be the chance you’ve been waiting for, to see if farming is for you.

What’s more, it could be a good way to keep money coming into your household if you are a student, job seeker or have been laid off due to a change in your employer’s circumstances, in the wake of the viral pandemic. Farms need helping hands and you need to maintain cash flow, so taking on a suitable role could be a match made in heaven.

What you’ll find in this article

 

What farming jobs are people searching for the most?

We’ve compared month-over-month data for top farming-related search terms and saw significant increases for many titles. This data is sourced in April 2020.

Popular search termsAverage of % Change
fruit picking2144%
vegetable picking1682%
farm work617%
rural jobs366%
farm jobs325%
agricultural jobs100%
farm jobs with accomodation94%
farm labourer76%
relief milking67%
tractor driving42%
livestock jobs33%

UK locations where the interest in farming jobs grew the most

Besides looking at the fluctuations in search terms, we’ve decided to investigate in which locations of the UK farming and agricultural jobs had most increase in interest month-over-month. This data is sourced in April 2020.

Location% ChangeJobs availableAvg. salary
Scotland152%8134,450
Dorset836%1527,422
West Midlands1955%12635,908
East Sussex2149%1436,668
West Sussex2265%2427,768
Lincolnshire479%3727,965
Cornwall493%928,671
Hampshire690%4928,566
Herefordshire342%1626,907
Yorkshire And The Humber504%9831,386
Essex3927%3625,112
Suffolk754%2939,128
Somerset188%3838,385
Norfolk274%6224,041
Cambridgeshire2088%5230,972
Kent1580%7028,479
North East England401%1044,693
Wales272%1840,308
Worcestershire2221%1329,481
Oxfordshire833%2429,890
Surrey5527%1838,012
Wiltshire577%2535,055
North Yorkshire168%3334,125
Shropshire406%3026,065
Devon787%3326,847
Hertfordshire1100%1320,331
Northern Ireland81%430,354
Northamptonshire1183%3228,213
Nottinghamshire7336%1426,209
Lancashire618%1144,096
Staffordshire247%627,875
Cumbria215%1539,621
Cheshire906%2922,412

Careers in agriculture: what kinds of jobs are available?

Young man farmer working in the garden, picking strawberries

There are four main sectors in agriculture, with many opportunities in each. To successfully enter the industry, you’ll need to assess your skills objectively and decide which area you are best suited to.

Livestock production: As the name suggests, this is to do with the management and welfare of animals with a view to using them to produce end-products including milk and meat. Livestock production also supports further areas of farming thanks to the waste created by animals, which makes for a rich soil additive.

Crop production: Focused on the growth and development of crops that are later harvested for food, fibre and animal feed, this sector is what most commonly comes to mind when picturing farmers out in their fields.

Agricultural economics: If you have a head for figures, this could be the perfect way for you to break into farming. Tasked with looking at the figures and maximising profitability, production and distribution, this area is vital and has global impact, too, with food viability being discussed in terms of both developed and developing countries.

Agricultural engineering: The backbone of the whole sector, agricultural engineering develop machinery, tooling and solutions to keep farmers working. Taking account of various strains of engineering theory, a degree is usually a must for any role in this specialist area.

 

How much money can you make in agriculture?

This all depends on the level at which you enter the sector, previous experience, and whether you are an employee or a contracted worker, but take a look at a selection of different roles below for an idea of what you can expect to earn in careers in agriculture.

Job titleCurrent vacanciesAvg. salary
Agricultural solicitor52£46,365
Farm manager113£41,422
Agricultural sales37£35,600
Cattle breeding advisor2£30,244
Agricultural technician52£29,954
Agricultural science27£29,411
Agricultural engineer109£29,297
Horticulture lecturer8£25,000
Tractor driver23£23,364
Pig stockperson10£22,666
Poultry farm worker48£21,295
Farm worker42£20,239
Fruit picker21£17,985
Vegetable picker5£16,742

 

How to start a career in agriculture?

Farmer in a cow farm

When it comes to asking how to become a farmer, for many it is an inherited career, with family farms passed to the next generation to maintain. Don’t get caught up in the romance of this image though, as agricultural work is hard going. It requires a lot of commitment and can be demanding, physically. That said, it is also fantastically rewarding, so if you aren’t fortunate enough to be gifted a farm inheritance, the following tips could help you break into the field, so to speak:

1. Ask farmers for advice

Getting to know people in the sector, locally to you, will be beneficial and you can ask for tips and even stay alert for job openings. It can often be a case of who you know and who knows you are looking for a role in areas such as farming. Relationship building is a key element to success, so introduce yourself and look for relevant associations to join, too.

2. Consider going back to school

Agricultural colleges give you a sound basis for entering the world of farming, from animal management through to the science of horticulture. Smart people solve farming problems every day and those who truly understand the nature of everything they are trying to grow, or rear, will always fare better than those that don’t.

3. Get hands-on experience

If your aspirations run to the ambitious and you’d like a farm of your own one day, that’s great, but start a little more realistic with some practical experience on an existing farm. You need to be sure you can enjoy the process of improving the productivity of a farm and that you have the right amount of patience. Nothing happens overnight in the farming world, so you need to be a long-term thinker and planner that wants an operational career, not an immediate gratification job.

4. Assess your actual skills

This might be hard to hear, but you might not be cut out for the side of farming that you are envisaging. There are plenty of opportunities within the sector, though, so if you can’t quite get to grips with driving large machinery but are naturally organised, why not think about farm management?

5. Embrace a tenancy farm

Most local councils still have farms to run and you could apply for the job. It’s a little like taking on a pub for a brewery in that you don’t own the business, but you are responsible for making it profitable and successful. It’s a good option if you don’t have the capital to buy land. Similarly, you could also contract yourself out to existing farms to get as much experience as possible. It’s a low-risk way to start making your name in the industry.

You could also marry into a farming family, as Farmers Weekly suggests – but this might be a little hard to guarantee and isn’t a fail-safe way to get into farming!

 

Is agriculture a good career?

Woman picking vegetables

It’s a varied sector, and offers plenty of scope for building on existing skills and contributes to feeding the world, so yes, agriculture IS a good career to get into. It’s not all about traditional cattle rearing and crop harvesting, although these are obviously important elements, as technical and scientific careers can also be on the cards. From plant sciences and food supply through to developing farming technology, there are a host of different avenues to explore.

More and more people agree with the opinion that we should be teaching younger generations about farming and giving them access to the core skills that all successful farmers need. With this in mind, it seems a safe assumption that the future will always need farmers as we know them or AI-powered, which in itself offers a certain degree of job security.

 

Finding seasonal work on farms

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get into farming, seasonal roles could be the answer, especially now that COVID-19 has stopped workers from abroad coming over to help with harvest time. Thousands of temporary farm labourers are desperately needed now, to help with crop picking and various other tasks, but how can you find a suitable position?

  1. Register with employment agencies – Not all agencies will deal with farming vacancies, so be sure to ask in advance to save wasting time registering if you don’t need to. Those who are looking for farm assistants will expect you to be able to work at short notice and be reliable above all else.
  2. Approach directly – It doesn’t hurt to send a few enquiry emails out to farms you can easily travel to – it might even be a welcome relief for some farm managers.
  3. Search online – Searching for ‘farm jobs’ online will give you fast and easy access to plenty of roles that are needing to be filled.

💡 Read more: All you need to know about temporary jobs and how to get one

 

Becoming a farmer: training and progression

Working at a livestock farm

In the simplest of terms, farming is entirely focused around the growing of crops and animals for food production. When starting out, you can expect your salary to be around the £20,000 mark, reaching anything upwards of £50,000 if you are successful and develop your business well.

In terms of training, look into degrees, rural college courses, apprenticeships and even hands-on experience and job progression. For apprenticeships, university and college-based options, you’ll be expected to have a good level of basic education and will be expected to specialise in a certain field once you have a broad overview of the sector as a whole.

To be successful, you’ll need to be resourceful, able to work alone as well as with a team, patient, thorough and physically fit. Good communication skills will be a must, as will an ability to problem-solve on the go. Daily tasks will range from hands-on duties to planning and managing budgets, overseeing livestock or crop purchases and even an element of recruitment.

If you are successful in your farming career, you could progress to consultancy positions, training roles or even advisory opportunities. There are few limits when it comes to taking your farming knowledge and turning it into a viable and exciting career.

 

Is it worth becoming a farmer?

We will always need farmers, so if you have the right disposition and a passion for feeding the world, it is absolutely worth becoming a farmer. If you are not a fan of hard work, need instant gratification and get disheartened easily, we think we can find a far more suitable career option for you.