Help tackle some of society’s most urgent problems and build new skills in the process. Start today by studying an agriculture course.
What do agriculture graduates do?
After completing an agriculture course, you’ll be qualified to seek employment in a range of different roles, including working as an agricultural scientist or technician, as a farm manager or assistant, or in production and quality control for agricultural industries.
In any agricultural role, you’ll likely work with plant and animal science, agricultural systems and planning, and consider a range of economical, ethical and environmental perspectives in your work.
If you work as an agricultural technician or scientist, you might perform tasks like:
- Sampling the topographical, physical and soil characteristics of farmland to assess nutrient profiles and deficiencies;
- Assessing and identifying new methods of planting, fertilising, harvesting and processing crops to achieve optimum land usage;
- Identifying parasites, fungi and weeks harmful to crops and livestock, and developing methods of control;
- Performing and managing experiments to develop improved crop and livestock strains;
- Inspecting crops and livestock to assess and monitor effectiveness of scientific interventions;
- Arranging the supply of drugs, vaccines and other chemicals to farm managers, and advising on their use; and
- Collecting and analysing data.
If you work as a farm manager or farm hand, you might perform tasks like:
- Identifying and assessing environmental and market factors influencing farming operations;
- Selecting and planting seeds, seedlings and bulbs;
- Managing crop production by cultivating, de-budding and pruning, and maintaining optimal growing conditions;
- Organising and conducting farming operations, such as collecting, storing, grading and packaging produce, and organising its sale and dispatch; and
- Directing and managing general farming operations, including managing staff and business requirements, including production and resource preparation.
You’ll enjoy working in agriculture if you:
- Enjoy practical work
- Are passionate about the environment
- Can work effectively in fast-paced environments
- Are organised and efficient
- Want a career outdoors
- Work well with details
- Enjoy repetitive work
- Want a meaningful and rewarding career
- Want to make a difference
Graduates of agriculture courses can expect to enjoy strong employment demand for their skills, with the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture stating that three jobs currently exist for graduates of agriculture and related courses.
The Australian Government’s Job Outlook offers employment prospects for a range of roles within the agriculture sector, and agrees generally that employment prospects for agriculture graduates are increasing.
Job opportunities for farmers and farm managers are expected to remain stable or grow slightly over the next few years, employing an additional 300 people by 2020, Job Outlook estimates. Opportunities for farmers have contracted over the past decade, but the sector will stabilise and expand over the next decade.
Similarly, agricultural scientists will enjoy a period of relative employment stability, with Job Outlook predicting that the volatility in job opportunities from the last decade will stabilise, and the profession will grow by approximately 10 per cent to 2020.
A range of salary predictions is available for professionals working in the agriculture industry. According to PayScale, an agronomist can expect to earn on average approximately $60,000 per year; a farm manager can expect to earn approximately $65,000 per year; a farm hand can expect to earn approximately $39,000 per year; an operations manager can expect to earn approximately $88,000 per year; and an office manager can expect to earn approximately $53,000 per year. Generally, professionals in this industry can expect to command higher salaries with higher qualifications or more years of work experience.