Mixed crop and livestock farm worker

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

It is possible to work as a mixed crop and livestock farm worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a formal qualification in agriculture, rural operations, production horticulture, pork production or a related area.

Certificate II and III in Agriculture, Certificate II and III in Rural Operations, Certificate II and III in Production Horticulture, and Certificate III in Pork Production are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

You can also undertake a traineeship in agriculture (level 2 or level 3), rural operations (level 2 or level 3) or production horticulture (level 2 or level 3). The traineeships usually take 12 to 18 months to complete and the level 2 traineeships are available as school-based traineeships.

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.