A Solid Foundation for Working in Agriculture or Running a Farm
Learn how to set up or run an agricultural concern from scratch with this 600-hour course. Study management and marketing techniques, then add in the specialty courses required to suit your unique needs. Excellent for hobby farms, small holders, and existing farms looking to expand or improve productivity.
Course Duration: 600 hours
This course is comprised of 3 core modules and 3 elective modules. All assignments and exams must be completed to successfully finish the course. (Additional exam fees apply.)
Students take the following three core modules.
These can be any 100 hr modules that are relevant to agriculture and do not cross over with the core modules above. Normally the electives will be chosen from the following.
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Learn to Plan for Success on a Farm
Everything in this world constantly changes. There is no guarantee that markets that were open to a farm today, won't dry up next year. The most profitable livestock or crop this year might be different to the most profitable next. As science and technology develops, the possibilities for smarter more efficient farming will constantly increase. With all of this change in today's world, anyone who works in agriculture needs to stay informed of change, and be ready to adapt and embrace new opportunities, and discard redundant ways promptly and with minimal fuss. This requires you to always think ahead, and plan for the future.
Every farm needs a different type of plan; different in emphasis, different in content and different in structure. Given that each farm has different priorities, and operates under a different set of circumstances, it is impossible to follow a "generic" or standard approach to planning. It is important to plan ahead for all aspects of your operation, including production, finance, land care, facility and equipment management, marketing, product processing (if relevant), and physical layout (ie. design of the farm).
Planning in each of these areas will involve:
- Determining decisions which need to be made in order to prepare for the future.
- Gathering information upon which to base those decisions.
- Analysing that information.
- Considering the options, and the likely outcome of each option.
- Selecting the most appropriate option, based upon the information available.
- Acting on the selected option.
- Reviewing the situation periodically, and accordingly modifying the action being taken.
A well organised and experienced farmer might not need to be too rigid in adhering to a procedure like this; however, many farmers will find a real benefit in working through such a systematic procedure "on paper". The surest way to succeed is to move through this procedure step by step; writing down everything as you go. This gives you a chance to ponder over what you have written, add new thoughts, or make alterations.
Rethink Your Production
Farms have always been product based industries (ie. They make their money out of producing a product such as milk, fruit, meat, vegetables, or grain). They have sometimes partially processed their products (eg. a dairy farm separating cream from milk); but rarely to a stage where the product is ready for retailing. Some farmers do go the extra “value added” step (eg. a small town butcher using his own stock). A financially struggling operation may be able to increase their economic viability by turning their attention towards deriving more income by processing their produce, or by providing income generating services such as farm tours or accommodation (eg. farm stay). To remain financially sustainable a farm may need to reconsider the enterprises it is undertaking, from time to time.
If a particular crop or animal product is becoming less profitable, it may be time to change to providing a different service or product. There are two things farms can sell:
- Products: plants or animals (either as raw produce, or processed to add value and increase income).
- Services: generating income from either your property or manpower resources (eg, charging for farm tours or events such as weddings, operating an on farm school, providing accommodation, renting land , etc).