Mixed crop and livestock farm worker

Also known as:

  • General Farm Hand

What they do

Mixed crop and livestock farm workers, also known as farm hands, assist with general farming duties, such as growing crops and raising livestock. From crop farming in the Wheatbelt to dairy farming in the South West, they work in a variety of location all over rural WA. Their job is to conduct routine tasks every day to help the farm run smoothly. These tasks include sowing and harvesting crops, weed control, repairing fences and machinery, feeding livestock, cleaning animal stables or pens, milking cows, mustering sheep and cattle, and assisting with the breeding procedures of livestock.

Working conditions

Mixed crop and livestock farm workers work outdoors and in all weather conditions, from the hot and dusty Rangelands in the north of the state to the cooler and wetter South West Agricultural region. These workers should also be prepared for social isolation, as farm hands frequently live on or near the farm where they work. Their hours can be irregular and, especially during busy times of the year such as breeding or harvesting, they can be required to work long hours.

Tools and technologies

Mixed crop and livestock farm workers use agricultural machinery like ploughs, tractors, trucks, motorbikes and pesticide spraying equipment. Depending on the type of farm they are working on they may also use manual or automated milking equipment, shearing equipment, as well as basic handheld tools such as hammers, drills and shovels.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a mixed crop and livestock farm worker you usually need to complete a formal qualification in agriculture, rural operations or production horticulture.

The Certificate II and Certificate III in Agriculture, Certificate II and Certificate III in Rural Operations, and the Certificate II and Certificate III in Production Horticulture are offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can complete a traineeship. The farm hand (bees and crops), (grain), (poultry and vegetable crops), (production horticulture); assistant cattle farm hand; assistant farm hand (dairy); piggery farm hand; sheep and wheat farm hand; sheep and wool farm hand; mushroom farm hand; orchard worker; and rural operations worker traineeships usually take 12 months to complete and are available as school-based traineeships.

You can also complete a cattle station hand, dairy farm hand, grain hand, mushroom farm worker, orchard farm worker, vegetable farm worker, senior station hand (sheep and wool), and rural operations senior farm hand traineeship. These traineeships usually take 12 to 18 months to complete.

You can work as a mixed crop and livestock farm worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.