The agricultural sector is inarguably a lynchpin industry for the UK, bringing in nearly £6 billion a year in income and contributing over £11 billion to the UK’s economy.
Its worth isn’t merely financial, though; farming and other agricultural efforts provide crucial resources to communities across the country.
There aren’t many that consider farming to be a dream job. It is notoriously a job of early starts and gruelling hours, with the prospect of diminishing returns if you’re seeking to own a farm yourself.
But for the green-fingered amongst you, that would love nothing more than to make a career out of honest agricultural labour, here is the low-down on starting your career in farming.
What Does Farm Work Entail?
Farm work can differ immensely, depending on the farm and the role in particular.
The agricultural industry is vast, and covers all manner of produce from vegetables and grain to livestock and beyond.
For farms that focus on the cultivation of fruit and veg, you’ll be spending long hours tending to fields, spreading fertiliser and harvesting produce by hand or which mechanised equipment.
In the case of livestock farming, a farm worker would be expected to look after farm animals, cater to their needs and harvest their produce.
For sheep, this would involve the feeding of sheep, the administration of sheep housing, and the shearing of sheep for their wool.
For cows, you would need a little more engineering nous due to the mechanical nature of cow milkers on larger farms.
These are all specific tasks, but only a small part of a much larger, holistic role in helping a farm to thrive.
The Skills You Need
Many are of the mistaken belief that farm work requires little more than a little brute strength.
But, while a little brawn can indeed go a long way, farming is much more complex than throwing around bales of hay.
You will need some horticultural skills under your belt, in order to best tend to crops; you will also need a little practical engineering experience, in order to properly maintain farm equipment.
Above all, you’ll need a resilient streak to weather the long hours of work!
How to Start in Farming
There is no one route to starting out in farming as a career. Many farm hands start with no experience whatsoever, working cash-in-hand until they gather the experience and skills necessary to find a permanent space in another farm.
However, there are many things you can do to improve your chances at starting on the right foot.
Agricultural courses are available, enabling you to obtain a qualification while learning the skills you’ll need to succeed.
There are also apprenticeship routes, which guarantee both a qualification and hands-on experience.
Ultimately, you can choose your preferred route to starting in farm work – but sometimes, nothing beats simply getting in touch with your nearest farm.