CAREER GUIDES

Here's how farming covers the production that's suitable for a moderate to subtropical climate

Image: 123RF/Iakov Filimonov.

Farming covers the production of almost all kinds of animals, crops, fruits and vegetables suitable for a moderate to subtropical climate.

Farmers’ objectives are to make farming activities productive, profitable and professional. 

The nature of the work differs according to the size and type of farm. The topography, climate and vegetation of an area determine the type of farming practised. On small farms, farmers may perform the actual labour, as well as plan and direct farming operations.

With crop farming, farmers perform a wide range of duties, such as determining land use, planting, fertilising, spraying, cultivating and harvesting procedures as well as marketing.

On livestock farms, farmers take care of animals. The correct breeding or incubation programme as well as feeding programmes, need to be followed. Pastures have to be planned and controlled in such a way that enough grazing will be available for the animals.

Animals must also be vaccinated against illnesses. Wool, meat and dairy products need to be processed and marketed.

Farmers are also employers. The number of labourers each farmer employs is in direct proportion to the size and profitability of the farm and the degree of mechanisation. Farmers need to be well informed on all legislation that regulates labour relations in agriculture.

Farmers evaluate existing practices and look at methods for improvements. They maintain financial records, purchase supplies, determine labour needs and hire and supervise workers.

Watch the video to learn more:

Personal requirements

  • Enjoy working outdoors, in all weather conditions
  • Like working with plants and/or animals
  • Perseverance, diligence and patience
  • Organisational ability
  • Good planning, analytical and problem solving skills
  • Good leadership qualities and interpersonal relationships
  • Good health and physical strength, stamina and agility
  • Ability to endure isolation and limited social contact
  • Independent, responsible and self-disciplined
  • Mechanical aptitude and able to work with computers

How to enter

Schooling & school subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to study

Formal training in agriculture is available on four different levels, namely schools, agricultural colleges, universities of technology and universities.

Schools: Certain secondary schools offer Agriculture as a formal subject. There are also special agricultural schools where the students are obliged to take one or more agricultural subjects. These schools usually have a farming unit with enough agronomic and animal material for demonstration as well as for training purposes.

At most agricultural schools, the choice of subject is such that matric exemption can be obtained.

Agricultural colleges: Worcester College of Agriculture offers agricultural courses in Farming Management that can result in a N4, N5, and N6 Diploma in Agriculture - emphasis is placed on the agricultural situation prevalent in the area served by the specific college.

Other agricultural colleges in the country are,

  • Elsenburg Agricultural Development Institute - Stellenbosch
  • Glen Agricultural Development Institute - Bloemfontein
  • Grootfontein Agricultural College - Middelburg
  • Cedara Agricultural Development Institute - Pietermaritzburg
  • Lowveld Agricultural College - Nelspruit
  • Owen Sitole College of Agriculture

Agricultural degrees and diploma’s are also offered by various TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) Colleges.

Degree: BSc (Agric) and other agricultural degrees - NMMU, UFS, UFH, UL, US, UKZN, UP, UV, UZ, UNISA, NWU

Diploma: Various diplomas are offered by different universities of technology, - CPUT, CUT, TUT, DUT.

Employment

  • Large farming corporations
  • Owners of large farms
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Land Affairs
  • Universities, universities of technology and agricultural colleges
  • Self-employment, with own farm

Getting started

  • Try to obtain vacation work as a farm-hand
  • Grow vegetables in your own garden
  • Keep and care for pets
  • Arrange to visit different farms and speak to farmers about this type of career
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