The truth about working in farming and growing

The truth about working in farming and growing

Don’t be held back from exploring a career in farming or growing by outdated beliefs about the industry. Our mythbuster describes what working in agriculture and horticulture is really about. 
Sun sets as farmer finishes rolling a field.
Many people have an outdated idea of what farming and growing jobs ential.
Sun sets as farmer finishes rolling a field.
Many people have an outdated idea of what farming and growing jobs ential.

Don’t be held back from exploring a career in farming or growing by outdated beliefs about the industry. Our mythbuster describes what working in agriculture and horticulture is really about.

Myth 1: You need to be from a farming background to work in agriculture and horticulture 

This may have been the case in the past, but not today! Forward-thinking farm and horticulture businesses are keen to consider anyone eager to learn and passionate about how our food is produced. 

As the industry rises to big challenges like feeding a growing population and tackling climate change, there’s a need for talented people who can bring new thinking, knowledge, skills, and experience, whether practical or academic. 


Myth 2: You need to live in the countryside  

The reality is many agriculture and horticulture businesses are based in the countryside, but this is not necessarily a barrier.  

Some farm businesses offer accommodation with specific jobs. Otherwise, you'll likely need your own transport to reach locations that aren't on public transport routes. 

But there are also opportunities if you live in a town or a city. ‘Urban’ food production is a rapidly growing area.  

Indoor farming, known as controlled environment agriculture, is starting to make its mark across the UK. More jobs will become available in this area in the near future.


Myth 3: Farming damages the environment  

Farmers and growers face the huge task of feeding an ever-growing population while repairing and boosting the countryside and nature. 

It’s true that agriculture and horticulture can have significant impacts on the environment, such as on soil health, water, and air. But while there can be negative impacts, farming and growing is also a big part of the solution. For example, harmful greenhouse gases can be ‘trapped’ within crops and soils. 

England's farming and growing industry has already made big improvements, such as being smarter about using and managing nutrients, pesticides, energy, and water. More environmentally friendly approaches are being adopted to protect and help the land and wildlife.  

The National Farmers Union has set the goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the whole of agriculture in England and Wales by 2040. This contributes to the UK’s ambition of net zero by 2050. 

There's still a lot more to do. The government and the wider food supply chain need to work together for those in farming and growing. Agriculture and horticulture want people who can help tackle this challenge to join the industry. There are many rewarding career opportunities for those passionate about the environment. 


Myth 4: Farming is old-fashioned and low-tech  

Visit a modern farm or horticulture business today, and you will likely see a range of data-driven technology in use. This might include a drone that allows a farmer to detect weeds within a crop, a GPS-enabled tractor that can steer itself, robots that milk cows and pick or pack soft fruit, or livestock sensors that enable a farmer or vet to detect and treat an illness at the earliest possible stage.   

The use of technology in farming and growing has increased dramatically over the past 30 years. It's helping farmers and growers increase their production to feed the growing population while helping to reduce the impact of this on the environment. 

New technology is being developed all the time. People with science, technology, and engineering skills are needed to create new ideas and solutions to make farming and growing more sustainable.  


Myth 5: Farming and growing jobs are unskilled 

Today’s food production is much more complicated than it was even 50 years ago. As the population grows and the challenges of feeding people while caring for our planet increase, everyone working in farming and growing needs to build their skills and develop new ones.  


Myth 6: The pay is low 

As in any industry, the pay in farming and growing varies depending on the job. However, you might be surprised that many roles offer a good salary, especially as you gain more experience and progress in your career.

Additionally, many on-farm roles offer free accommodation as part of the job, significantly lowering the expenses of those working in these positions.

Find out more about salary ranges for a variety of roles in our Job profiles.


Myth 7: The hours are long  

This depends on the job. In some roles, there are times in the farming calendar when the hours might be long or unsociable – sheep cannot schedule the most convenient time to give birth, for example, while the very best time for harvesting a crop may depend on the weather.

But employers in agriculture and horticulture are now more aware that it's possible to offer a regular working pattern to attract the best employees. This could include rotas so everyone does a share of the night shifts, getting time off later for extra hours worked, or having a lighter working schedule at the weekends.  

A good employer will be clear about the commitment expected when advertising a job so you know what to expect before you apply. 


Myth 8: There’s no opportunity for career progression 

There's a huge variety of exciting jobs in farming and growing and endless opportunities for an exciting career where you can develop your skills and experience and make a real difference to people and the planet. 

You can enter the farming industry at any level – such as through work experience or an apprenticeship, following a college or university course, or by having relevant skills from working in another industry. 

Working in the farming sector can bring great job satisfaction because you know you are helping to provide safe, quality food for the nation and doing something positive for the environment.  

Find out more about just some of the careers available in our Job Profiles

Want to learn more? Check out the mythbuster videos from Farmers Guardian on YouTube

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