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Types of Farm Jobs in the UK

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Types of Farm Jobs in the UK

Farm work in the UK can be extremely varied depending on the type of role, location or farm type a person is hired for. This can be what people find appealing about the farming sector as it can suit all kinds of individuals and may not always require any formal qualifications. Farm work can be quite unsociable with long hours, early starts, late finishes and weekend work. Individuals need to be committed and loyal as well as passionate about agriculture. 

Types of UK Farms

In the UK there are different types of farm broadly split between arable and pastoral (livestock) - some farms can be both. 

  • Arable Farms: Focus on crop production, such as cereals and vegetables

  • Pastoral Farms: Specialize in livestock, including dairy, sheep, and cattle farming

  • Mixed Farms: Combine elements of both arable and livestock farming

Common Farming Practices:

  • Sustainable farming techniques to protect the environment

  • Technological advancements for efficiency and productivity

  • Seasonal farming activities influenced by the UK climate

Arable farming 

This is essentially producing crops and in the UK, these can be cereals like oats, barley and wheat. They can also be root vegetables like potatoes or pulse crops which may consist of beans, peas, rape, kale and cabbages. There are also fruit farms in the UK producing apples, pears, and even grapes. Hay production for animal feed is also a feature for some arable farms. Depending on the type of soil, weather, air, water and other environmental factors may mean different areas of the UK grow a particular crop.

Pastoral/livestock farming

Livestock farming in the UK is for the most part the biggest chunk of agricultural output. It essentially includes any farm involved in the production of milk, eggs, wool and meat. Farms involved in livestock can be divided as follows, sheep farming, cattle farming, dairy farming and pig farming. 

Jobs on UK farms can vary depending on the type of farm looking for works. For instance, a dairy farm may look for those with milking experience over and above someone with only experience of arable farming. Some of the main roles on farms are as follows:

Farm Worker or Farm Labourer 

Showing initiative, being used to working outside in all weathers. Practical application as well as local knowledge could all improve the possibility of being hired as a farm labourer.

A position as a farm labourer at any of these settings could be wildly different but for the most part a typical list of responsibilities could be as follows:

- work with animals (feeding, mucking out, bedding down, transporting or moving, milking, hand rearing, caring for sick or injured animals, caring for new-born animals etc
- ploughing/preparing fields, sowing, fertilising, spraying and harvesting crops
- working with farm machinery
- operating and maintaining farm machinery
- cleaning and maintenance of farm buildings
- looking after field and farm perimeters (ditches, hedges, fences)

Some farm workers might be offered accommodation as part of their role. This could depend on the nature of the task for which they are hired and could only be temporary e.g. during lambing season. 

Farm Manager

As farm manager a person can expect to be responsible for the maximum yield for the farm for any of the farm types. It is even possible that this could involve crop, dairy or animal production as a whole. A farm manager would need to work within the regulation parameter set by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). In addition, the farm manager would be responsible for: 

- planning and executing farm finances including farm production and budget control
- practical tasks such as driving farm vehicles, feeding livestock, fertilising crops etc
- marketing farm products
- buying supplies
- allocating resources and recruitment of seasonal staff
- pest control and disease management
- weather planning and contingency of poor weather
- health and safety 
- animal welfare
- preparing products for sale - i.e. auction./markets
- financial recording 


A person in this role could be responsible for one or all of the types of animal on a farm. This could be pigs, sheep or cows/cattle. The herdsperson will need to be able to look after, clean, feed and generally protect the wellbeing of these animals on the farm. Depending on the size of the farm means the number of stock could vary. A reliable herdsperson will get to know their herd well so that they can accurately pick up on anything that might impact the health or wellbeing of the herd in general. The responsibilities could change day to day and also include looking after pregnant animals and their young.

UK Farming Job Market Overview

Agriculture and the food supply chain are significant sources of employment in the UK. According to the June 2023 census by DEFRA, there were 462,000 individuals working on agricultural holdings.

However, when considering the broader agri-food sector—which encompasses agriculture, manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing, and catering—the employment numbers are even more impressive. This sector employs over 4 million people, making up 13.4% of total employment in Great Britain. This highlights the extensive impact and importance of the agri-food industry on the national workforce.

Average Farm Job Salaries in the UK

A farmer in the UK typically earns £25,000 (starter) to £100,000 (experienced) per year, although this can vary widely when we look at sectors such as Agri-Tech and farm management. Check out our farm job listings to see the types of salaries available!

Tips for Applying to Farm Jobs

Applying for farm jobs can be a unique process compared to other industries. Here are some tailored tips to help you stand out and increase your chances of landing a farm job in the UK.

Understand the UK Farming Industry

  • Research: Before applying, understand the different types of farming (arable, pastoral, mixed) and identify which type suits your skills and interests.

  • Seasonality: Recognise the seasonal nature of farm work and how it affects hiring needs. This knowledge can inform when and for what roles to apply.

  • Talk to our Team: At Agricultural Recruitment Specialists, our team can help you prepare for interviews, help you to find the perfect role and much more. Contact us today!

Tailor Your CV

  • Highlight Relevant Experience: Even if you haven't worked on a farm, including any related skills or experiences, such as outdoor labour, machinery operation, or animal care.

  • Emphasize Soft Skills: Farms look for reliable, hardworking individuals. Stress traits like dependability, adaptability, and a strong work ethic.

  • Certifications: List any relevant certifications, such as first aid, machinery operation, or animal husbandry courses.

Prepare for the Interview

  • Practical Skills: Be ready to discuss or demonstrate your practical skills related to farming.

  • Research the Farm: Show initiative by learning about the specific farm’s operations, products, and philosophy.

  • Dress Appropriately: While farm job interviews may not require formal attire, wearing clean, practical clothing shows professionalism.

Leverage Networking

  • Agricultural Shows and Events: Attend these to meet farmers and industry professionals, offering a great opportunity to learn and express your interest in farm work.

  • Social Media and Forums: Engage with agricultural communities online to discover opportunities and gain insights from experienced workers.

Utilise Recruitment Specialists

  • Agricultural Recruitment Agencies: They can match you with suitable farm jobs and provide valuable advice on your application and CV.

  • Specific Job Boards: Utilise job boards and websites dedicated to farming and agriculture to find job listings that might not be advertised elsewhere.

Show Your Commitment

  • Volunteer or Intern: Gaining experience through volunteering or internships can significantly enhance your CV and demonstrate your commitment to a career in farming.

  • Continuous Learning: Express your willingness to learn and adapt. The agricultural industry is continuously evolving, and showing your eagerness to keep up with changes can be a significant advantage.

Follow Up

  • After the Interview: Send a thank-you email to express your gratitude for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the position. This can help keep you top of mind.

Useful Resources:

Farm Jobs FAQ

Q1: What qualifications do I need to work on a farm?

A1: Many farm jobs do not require formal qualifications and are more focused on practical skills, experience, and a willingness to learn. Specific roles, such as a Farm Manager, might require qualifications in agriculture or related fields.

Q2: Can I get a farm job without prior experience?

A2: Yes, many farms are willing to hire individuals without prior experience, especially for roles like Farm Labourer, where on-the-job training is provided. Showing enthusiasm for agriculture and a strong work ethic can significantly enhance your chances.

Q3: What are the typical working hours for farm jobs?

A3: Farm work often requires early starts and late finishes, with the possibility of weekend work depending on the season and specific job role. Working hours can be long but are usually rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and, in some cases, additional perks like accommodation.

Q4: Are farm jobs available year-round or are they seasonal?

A4: While some farm jobs are available year-round, many are seasonal, particularly those in arable farming where activities such as planting and harvest dictate hiring needs. Livestock farms tend to offer more year-round positions.

Q5: What's the difference between arable and pastoral farming jobs?

A5: Arable farming focuses on crop production, including cereals, vegetables, and fruits. Jobs might involve planting, maintenance, and harvesting. Pastoral farming is centered on raising livestock for products like milk, meat, and wool, requiring skills in animal care and management.

Q6: How can I improve my chances of being hired for a farm job?

A6: Demonstrating practical skills, flexibility in working hours, a genuine interest in agriculture, and the ability to work well in a team can significantly improve your chances. Also, consider volunteering or internships to gain experience and showcase your commitment.

Q7: What kind of accommodation is provided with farm jobs?

A7: Accommodation varies greatly and can range from shared housing to private cottages, depending on the farm's location and the nature of the job. Some roles may offer temporary accommodation during peak seasons, like lambing or harvesting.

Q8: Where can I find farm jobs in the UK?

A8: Here at Agricultural Recruitment Specialists we can help you to find the perfect farm job! Simply contact us, or browse our job listings - we would be more than happy to help and assist you find the perfect career. 

Agricultural Recruitment Specialists are the UK and worldwide market leader in agricultural, farming, horticultural and food recruitment.

If you are looking for a new role, please send us your CV in complete confidence to info@agriRS.co.uk and one of our consultants will call you to discuss options.

Alternatively, if you are a client looking to grow your team, then please contact our highly successful team on 01905 345 155.

If you would like to find out more about Agricultural Recruitment Specialists Ltd, then please visit www.agriRS.co.uk