Farming: 11 professions rolled into one

We want to highlight what farmers are really like, rather than the checked shirt-wearing, hay-chomping, cider-drinking stereotypical image.

OK, so they are actually all those things – but farming is a multifaceted job, with many a skill needed. 

We have made a quick list of all the jobs a farmer needs to be able to do.

See also: 8 pitfalls of farming with your child


Tractor tyre pressure being checked

© FLPA/Rex Shutterstock

You have got to know your nuts from your bolts and your spanners from your hammers.

There is never a week without a breakdown and the professional fixers cost a fortune.


Vet giving bluetongue vaccination

© Nick Spurling/FLPA/Imagebroker/Rex Shutterstock

How do you feel about afterbirth in your hair, trimming feet and putting you hand up a cow’s rectal passage? They are run of the mill.

And it’s no good if you are afraid of needles. 

Animal rescue

Just take sheep for example.

Their main mission in life, second to trying to kill themselves, is to get on to greener grass, whatever fences, hedges, ditches or roads they need to cross.

And at the first glimpse of their success you need to retrieve and rescue them.


Two farmers sheering sheep

© FLPA/Rex Shutterstock

Well the sheep can’t trim their own bottoms and as the temperature rises, those woolly coats need a trim.


Racing car

© Action Press/Rex Shutterstock

Potentially the only overlap between the glamour of F1 and farming. 

One minute you’re on the combine, next you are jumping on to the quad and then you are in the car.

Not to mention reversing trailers through the smallest of gaps.

Adaptable driving is necessary to avoid too much kangaroo-esque movement.

Business deals

You need to negotiate. Buying prices, selling prices, wages, commissions. You don’t have to have a briefcase or shiny suit to do business.

Human resources manager

Firstly you have got to persuade your 87-year-old father or mother that retiring might be a good idea.

Once you finally hold the reins, you have got to persuade the harvest student that 5am-12pm days are the norm.

Weather forecasting

Weather forecaster Alex Beresford

© Ken McKay/Rex Shutterstock

Red sky at night, red sky in the morning, oak before ash, ash before oak – all extremely valuable tools in this aspect of the farming role.

Wonky weather can destroy a lot of work so you need to be prepare for what’s on the horizon.

You need to know how many hours of sunshine there have been each day this summer, quote rainfall statistics for the past 12 months, download every weather app going and watch every TV forecast.

PR and publicity consultant

Everyone’s got an opinion about farming, right? In the village pub, in the high street, even when you’re dropping the kids off at school, you’ll find yourself facing a barrage of questions?

There’s the occasional criticisms, too. You take a deep breath and explain. Sometimes it can feel like you’re single-handedly PR-ing the industry, reminding everyone what a great job farmers across the nation do.


Man building a wooden frame

© Image Source/Rex Shutterstock

Carpenter. Plasterer. Bricklayer. Roofer. You name it, you’ll have a go.

None of that teeth-sucking and “It’s a big job” or “Not sure I can do this”. You’ll assess the task at hand, open your toolbox and get on with it.

IT engineer

Well, you will need to be internet-savvy if the RPA get their way. And, perhaps a broadband installer, too. As the saying goes: “Whoever said that country life was simple never lived on a farm.”

We could have carried on but thought we better stop at 11. If you have suggestions on the other skills involved, send them to