So You Want to Become a Farmer?

By March 19, 2019Blog

Farming is an old industry, but it’s come a long way from the days of one solitary farmer tending a few crops and sheep. Nowadays farming is far more technologically advanced and split into different divisions, with separate farms for dairy, poultry or crops like wheat and barley. The farming industry is much more varied than people might imagine, with a whole range of careers and jobs available, from machine operators to horticulture, nutrition, consultancy, crop growers, dairy farmers and more.

Working in agriculture is very rewarding, but can be hard work, with a lot of manual labour and working in all weathers. However, the connection with the land and the rewards gained are like no other, so if you’ve ever considered a career in farming or agriculture, read on to see what you need to get started.


It’s definitely not essential to have a degree to enter the farming profession, and a lot of farmers are born into the family business and gain experience through observation and practice as they grow up. However, degrees in agriculture are available, and as farming becomes more modernised it can be extremely helpful to have some formal training as well as practical experience. Agricultural degrees cover all aspects of farming including biology, agricultural science, production and global food science, with the option to specialise in areas such as organic farming, plant diseases and crop development. For those who don’t want to go to university, there are sites dedicated to explaining all the different routes you can take to enter the farming business, be that through diplomas, work experience or apprenticeships. For those choosing an undergraduate degree, most courses require at least two A levels (preferably in science subjects) and some practical experience is always a great advantage.

Apprenticeships and training

Apprenticeships are a great option as you gain qualifications while working on the job – as well as getting paid. Apprenticeships can specialise in several different roles, including farm worker, livestock technician and agriculture machinery operator.

Higher level apprenticeships can lead all the way up to becoming an assistant farm manager, hatchery supervisor and more, so there’s plenty of opportunity to progress.

Work experience

Whether you’re studying for a formal degree or not, work experience is absolutely crucial before entering a career in the farming industry. Universities may be able to advise on internships or placements through the course, or you can gain experience through hands-on work with experienced farmers. Some farms offer their own internships and there are plenty of places that will need help with seasonal jobs like fruit picking. Of course this is all a lot more practical if you live near the countryside, but many cities do have inner city farms so don’t let that put you off. There are even organisations that can organise farming work experience placements abroad, where candidates volunteer in exchange for free room and board.

Every farmer needs the right equipment and reliable services they can trust, and at JH Willis & Son we have plenty. With everything on offer from muck spreaders to ploughs, tractor hire, sowing and round baling, we have everything you need to keep your farm running smoothly and efficiently. Don’t hesitate to visit our website to see the full range of agricultural services and machinery on offer.