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Introduction to Agriculture

Diverse, dynamic and rewarding – if you’re practical and love the outdoors, then a career in agriculture could be for you.

Agriculture is diverse, dynamic and rewarding, with a huge range of interesting and varied career options. If you’re practical, hardworking, love the outdoors or have a passion for science and technology then working in agriculture could be for you.

The UK and Ireland's farmers and crofters play a huge part in looking after our natural landscape. While producing food, they can improve biodiversity, plant trees, restore peat, improve water and soil quality, and generate renewable energy. From the latest trends in data science to new methods of animal husbandry, land management and ecology, working in agriculture is a direct way to address the climate emergency, as well as supporting rural life.

If you’re interested in technology, you could work on a farm using the latest equipment and science to produce food sustainably, safely and efficiently. Or if you want to radically change how we produce food and use our land working vertical farming or remote sensing could be for you. More than ever, agriculture needs innovative, enthusiastic people to help make the food we produce both taste good and make good sense for the planet.

  • Utilised agricultural land use stands over 70% of the total area of the United Kingdom and over 82% of the Republic of Ireland

  • Total income from farming in the United Kingdom is estimated to have been £4.1 billion in 2020

  • Economists at Teagasc estimate that in 2021, the average family farm income in the Republic of Ireland increased by 20% from the previous year

  • Principal destinations for UK food, feed and drink exports include the Republic of Ireland, France, the USA, and the Netherlands

Spotlight careers

There are a wide range of diverse career opportunities available to you in the Agriculture sector.


Animal Nutritionist

Animal Nutritionists are scientists who analyse the nutritional value of feeds and provide dietary advice to all staff working with animals.
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Farm Worker

Farm Workers carry out practical work on mixed, arable and livestock farms.
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Agricultural Contractor

Agricultural Contractors provide temporary, seasonal or specialised support to farms.
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What's a career in Agriculture really like?

Ben Lewis: A Wonderful Journey into Farming

Ben Lewis works and runs his farm in Cwrtnewydd, near Lampeter, which was inherited through his grandfather at the age of 16.  Starting his fourth year, studying BSc in Agriculture at Harper Adams University.

During his Second year of university, he gained a scholarship with The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which was aimed at students from traditionally underrepresented areas in the rural economy. This has enabled him to travel to various locations, take part in farming conferences, visit different farms, and go to diverse events to engage.

As well as pursuing his education, Ben is passionate about continuing his grandfather’s legacy of building strong and long-lasting land. “This is the best job in the world, I like being outdoors and amongst animals so for me, farming was a no-brainer.” He went on to add: “For those who do not have their farm, talk to different kinds of people, even join a Young Farmers Club, you have nothing to lose and where you can apply for scholarships.” Ben believes this is the best time to get into farming due to the industry demands increasing.

Advanced technologies can revolutionise farming, and throughout Ben’s experience, he appreciates the need for efficient approaches. “I was given a grant for a GPS tracker to use machinery more efficiently, and an ID reader which supports me in identifying the animals quickly, especially if there are any problems”.

With so many mouths to feed and nature to restore and sustain, farming may well be the most important job on the planet. During Ben's placement year at Howard farms, in Nottingham and Carlisle, he noticed working sustainably and ‘green’ was an important factor. “The whole point of introducing livestock to Howard farms was to revitalise and fertilise the soil that had been degraded after decades of arable use.” Being financially stable was essential to, focusing on cutting down costs through implementing an 8-year crop rotation method to future-proof the land, while reducing pest and disease pressure, thus making an environmentally and financially sustainable cropping system.

Ben has ambitions to continue building his farm efficiently by conducting soil tests, and though this is a lengthy and difficult process, the benefits, and pride override anything. “Yes, it can be challenging, and maintaining a balanced home and work life takes time, still my proudest moments are going to university to study and choosing a farm that was most suited for me during my placement year, though it was not close to home”.

Feeding the planet isn’t a simple ask, it’s complex and multi-dimensional yet if you can be hands-on, open-minded, and have patience within the process of building soil strength, crop growing, and animal health, “anyone can join, because there are so many sectors in Agriculture, it’s an extremely diverse and progressing industry.”

Sarah Want: Join the world of Land-based & Environmental Industries

Meet Sarah, a team manager at MorePeople Recruitment in Lincolnshire and a member of the Young People in Horticulture Association (YPHA).

In this Q&A session, we explore Sarah’s role and journey in the field of recruitment and Horticulture. 

What does the business do?

I have been working at MorePeople Recruitment for nearly 5 years! I feel like every day is a learning day as we specialise in recruitment for food, fresh produce, horticulture, and agricultural industries and these industries are continually evolving. For the Young People in Horticulture Association (YPHA), I have been sitting on the committee since May 2022, committed to uniting under 35’s in horticulture.

What courses or qualifications have you completed?

At MorePeople Recruitment, I’ve completed a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 3 in Recruitment, studied for my Royal Horticulture Society Level 2, and a Chartered Management Institute Leadership qualification. For me, the leadership qualification was fantastic. I was able to build a really strong base understanding and foundation to work on, as well as areas that I needed to develop.

With the Young People in Horticulture Association (YPHA), working on this committee has given me so many new networking and career skills I would have never gotten the chance to do otherwise!

The main thing I would say about most qualifications is that they build knowledge and some great theory but putting it into practice is always different.

What do you do in your job each day?

My day-to-day job at MorePeople is so varied, and I could probably bore someone all day with the ins and outs! Essentially, I help people find their next job, or help businesses find that person they need. I specialise in Horticultural and Agricultural recruitment, so I focus on lots of different roles. I also manage a team of 3 and help them develop their knowledge and skills.

At the Young People in Horticulture Association (YPHA), as a volunteer, we do what we can when we can. My main role is to represent us at various events, manage the website, and ensure the job page is up to date so people have another resource to use.

I hope that I change people's lives and help them advance their careers!

What skills do you use in your job?

I think for both roles, the main skills I use are people skills and communication. I’ve learned so much about reading people’s body language, changing your tone depending on the situation, empathy vs sympathy, and more.

Organisational skills are also so important!

What’s the best part of your job?

This is going to sound cheesy, but the best part of my job is the industries I work in. I didn’t know how vast the industry was, and I wouldn’t be part of the Young People in Horticulture Association (YPHA) if it wasn’t for MorePeople Recruitment.

I’m so interested in all parts of Horticulture and Agriculture, and the best part of the job is that I get to speak to so many people, that I never stop learning!

Are there any challenges in your job?

At the Young People in Horticulture Association (YPHA), one of the biggest challenges is time. We’re all volunteers with full-time jobs, so trying to fit in everything we want to achieve is a challenge.

With MorePeople, the main challenge is trying to ensure that everyone you work with in the end is happy with the outcome.

Is technology important to your role?

Technology is so important for both of my roles as so much of my role at MorePeople is done over the phone, and via email as we recruit across the UK.

At the Young People in Horticulture Association (YPHA), our members stretch from the top of Scotland to Cornwall, so having a communication platform for our group is key. We also host seminars over teams to keep the networking and education piece going, and we couldn’t do this without technology!

If you had to convince someone else of the benefits of a career in your line of work, what would you say to them?

I would highlight how interesting and varied my role is! While the day-to-day and my targets are the same, I deal with so many different people at any one time. I’m always learning, and I love it! It’s all about putting yourself out of your comfort zone and thinking of long-term goals.

We have learned from Sarah, that you can have multiple career goals! If you have a love of plants, growing fruit and vegetables as well as a passion for working outdoors, then the world of Horticulture is the perfect career choice for you!

Minnie Cooke: Take on the responsibility to drive positive change!

Minnie Cooke is currently completing a scholarship placement. Throughout her story, we learn about a wonderful voyage of passion for changing career paths as well as gaining knowledge about the diverse routes within agriculture.

Inspiration to pursue this route came after changing careers from Veterinary Physiotherapy during her second year at Harper Adams to agriculture. “I am from Ireland, and we don’t have our farm, but the course lead gave me the option to access farms. He said if I were serious about this, they would sponsor me to improve my agricultural skills, which I did through Lantra.”

Currently working in a rural health and safety consultancy to farms, and what needs to be actioned such as audits and risk assessments. “Mainly based in agriculture, but involvement with all agri-businesses and estates.” Minnie’s role still varies and can consist of a lot of software testing and making designs for adverts and campaigns. “I am known as the IT person! I enjoy going to events and being able to engage with people, especially to discuss health and safety.”

Within the world of Health and Safety, Minnie’s role is one where being computer-literate and adaptable in learning systems is a must. “If you are looking to start working in agriculture, you can start by getting training, with your tickets like telehandler. If you are more passionate, go and investigate academic study!” There are many interesting qualifications you can do, just make time, and be determined enough to pursue a rewarding path.

“Farming will be relying more on technology going forward”, Minnie explained in agriculture, you can notice the way government and legislation push farming to become regenerative. Within her career in health and safety, some things can be done, for example, trying to become paperless.

We notice, feeding the planet isn’t a simple ask, it’s complex and multi-dimensional. However, in your ‘green bubble,’ you have a personal relationship with nature through access to light and fresh air. “Agriculture is such a massive ecosystem that there is a spot for every type of worker in it! We have endless and diverse opportunities with so many different pathways. We will always need to feed people in different ways.”

As her pathway has already been eventful from moving to England from Northern Ireland, Minnie hopes to remain open-minded. “I am always hesitant to make plans because I did change my career path, agriculture is such an open field and there are so many opportunities.”

Things may go wrong but at the end of the day, you are changing the world. “All the farm work I have done, I loved it, it feels like you are contributing to the world and realising I am feeding people! Being on the land and connecting to provide food to people has been an amazing experience.”

It doesn’t take something massive to make a change, you need that drive and passion to want to make a difference. Minnie explained, “It is rewarding, and you get to be out there amongst beautiful land, it is a wholesome world!” You don’t have to come from a farming background or know everything, in any industry, there will always be people who can help you.

“I always thought you could never enter the industry if you don’t have a farm, but I was wrong!” There is a huge need for people to get into farming, and agriculture welcomes ALL to join.

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