There are many jobs involved in growing and harvesting animal and plant products – meat, wool, milk, fish, logs, cereals, fruit and vegetables. All of these roles need some technology, engineering and science knowledge and skills, whether they're learnt on the job or via certificate, diploma or degree-level study.
Applying these skills helps make growing and harvesting primary products more economically efficient and supports more sustainable use of our land and water resources. For example:
- Understanding chemistry, biology and soil science in order to use the optimal amount of fertiliser, keeping costs down and waterways clean
- Catching and treating plant diseases before they spread, and knowing when to switch to varieties that are more resistant
- Making use of pregnancy and herd testing services, including DNA technology
- Working with engineers to find effective waste management solutions for dairy conversions
People involved in growing and harvesting often work in teams. They also work with people from the Supporting and Protecting part of the industry: agricultural consultants, large animal vets, biosecurity specialists and water resources engineers. The Processing and Commercialising subsector takes the harvest and turns it into products that we can eat, drink, wear or build with.
Some key job roles include:
- Farm managers plan, manage and record the operation of farms, including dairy and beef, sheep, deer
- Orchard managers plan, manage and record the operation of orchards, including apples, avocados and kiwi fruit
- Forest managers plan and direct the planting, growth and harvesting of trees
- Aquaculture farmers and fisheries scientists set up and run marine farms to grow mussels, oysters and salmon
- Viticulturists plan and manage growing grapes for the wine industry
The main employers of people involved in growing and harvesting primary industry products are the owners of farms, orchards, forests and vineyards.
National certificates and on-the-job training are the starting point for many different growing and harvesting jobs, but getting an advanced qualification will help you get into more challenging roles. For example:
- Farm and orchard managers often have a diploma or degree in Agriculture, Agribusiness, Agriscience, Horticulture or Farm Management
- Forest managers need to have a diploma or degree in Forest Management, Science or Engineering
- Aquaculture farmers can do a diploma or a degree in Aquaculture
- Vineyard managers may have a diploma or degree in Viticulture (grape-growing) or Winemaking
Required and recommended school subjects
- Agricultural Science, Horticultural Science, Agritechnology or Agribusiness