Agricultural Contractor

Job Description:

Agricultural contractors provide specialised, seasonal or temporary services to farmers.

Job Category:
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

What you will do:

Depending on your area of work specialism you could:

  • process, mill and mix seeds
  • spray and fertilise crops
  • harvest crops
  • help with animal husbandry like breeding calves and delivering lambs
  • trim hooves or shear and dip sheep
  • maintain and create new dry stone walling
  • erect fencing
  • do excavation or drainage work


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of food production methods
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
  • to have a ‘Certificate of Competence’, if you carry out hazardous tasks using a chainsaw (in the UK)

As well as:

  • physical skills like coordination and manual dexterity
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to organise your time and workload (organisational skills)
  • the ability to motivate and manage staff (leadership skills)
  • practical skills such as driving, operating machinery, and working outdoors are essential for an agricultural contracting career.
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You could take a course at agricultural college which may be useful when you start looking for work.

Courses include:

  • Level 2 or 3 Award (or equivalent) in Land Based Technology
  • Level 2 or 3 (or equivalent)Certificate in Agriculture
  • T Level (or equivalent) in Agriculture, Land Management and Production

The following apprenticeships may be relevant to this role:

  • countryside worker intermediate apprenticeship
  • land based service engineer intermediate apprenticeship
  • land based service engineering technician advanced apprenticeship

Direct Application
You could apply directly to become an agricultural contractor. Employers will usually expect you to have experience of working with farm machinery.

Agricultural contracting can be competitive, with lots of contractors applying for the same work. It will help you to get jobs and build your business if you have a specialism that no one else in the surrounding area offers.

Professional and industry bodies
You could join the National Association of Agricultural Contractors. They can help with industry training and professional development.

School Subjects

To become an Agricultural Contractor in the UK, specific GCSE subjects are not usually required. However, certain subjects and skills can be beneficial for pursuing a career in this field, such as:

  1. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are essential for managing finances, calculating costs, and pricing services in agricultural contracting.
  2. Design and Technology: This subject can provide insights into machinery operation, maintenance, and repair, which are important aspects of agricultural contracting.
  3. Business Studies (optional): Knowledge of business principles can be helpful for understanding the commercial aspects of running an agricultural contracting business.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Familiarity with digital tools and software can be useful for managing records, communicating with clients, and optimizing operations.
  5. Science (optional): Although not mandatory, studying a science subject, such as Biology or Chemistry, can provide a basic understanding of agricultural processes and practices.


Working Hours and Environment:

You could work on a farm.

Your working environment may be physically demanding, outdoors in all weathers and you’ll travel often.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could move into teaching, training or consultancy.

You could also work for private companies or co-operatives that offer management services to farms.