Farm Worker

Job Description:

Farm workers raise livestock and use machinery to plant and harvest crops.

Job Category:
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

What you will do:

Day-to-day tasks
Your day-to-day duties will depend on the time of year and the type of farm you work on.

You could:

  • feed and look after farm animals
  • treat animals and crops to prevent disease
  • plough fields, sow seeds and harvest crops
  • operate and repair farm machinery like tractors, ploughs and milking machinery on dairy farms
  • maintain farm buildings
  • trim hedges, clear drains and ditches and mend fences and walls


You’ll need:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • physical skills like strength, balance and coordination
  • the ability to work on your own (independence)
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)

Restrictions and Requirements

You’ll need to:

  • have a good level of fitness and you may need a driving licence for some jobs.
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a farm worker, specific GCSE subjects are not usually required, but certain subjects can provide a foundation for skills and knowledge relevant to working on a farm. Here are some recommended GCSE subjects that can be beneficial for aspiring farm workers:

  1. Science: General science knowledge, especially biology, can be helpful for understanding agricultural practices, plant growth, and animal care on a farm.
  2. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are important for tasks like measuring, calculating quantities, and handling financial transactions related to farm work.
  3. Design and Technology: This subject can provide practical skills useful for maintaining and repairing farm equipment and machinery.
  4. Physical Education: Physical fitness and the ability to engage in physically demanding tasks are essential for many aspects of farm work, so staying active and healthy is important.
  5. Geography: Understanding geographical factors and land management can be helpful for farm workers, especially in tasks related to crop rotation and soil quality.
  6. English: Good communication skills, both written and verbal, are valuable for interacting with colleagues and following safety protocols and instructions.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You could take a course at an agricultural college, such as a course in:

  • Practical Farm Animal Care Skills
  • Agriculture
  • Agriculture, Land Management and Production

Courses combine theory and practical skills and include units on crop production, animal husbandry and operating farm machinery.

The following apprenticeships might be relevant depending on the type of farming you’re interested in:

  • general farm worker intermediate apprenticeship
  • poultry worker intermediate apprenticeship
  • poultry technician advanced apprenticeship
  • livestock unit technician advanced apprenticeship
  • packhouse line leader advanced apprenticeship

It will usually take 12 to 18 months to complete one of these apprenticeships.

Direct Application
There is no particular qualification you need to become a farm worker but it might help if you:

  • have an interest in farming
  • enjoy working outdoors
  • have experience of working on a farm from a weekend or holiday job

Working Hours and Environment:

Typical working hours are 46-48 hours a week but these hours may vary.

You could be expected to work on the weekend, on public holidays and in the evening.

You could work on a farm.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, dusty and dirty.

You may need to wear protective clothing.


Career Path & Progression:

With qualifications and experience, you could:

  • supervise or manage a large farm, though you may have to move between farms to get experience or a promotion
  • work as a contractor to maintain machinery or supply services to more than one farm
  • work on agricultural equipment and supplies