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How do farmers make money?

Farmers do some of the most vital work in New Zealand. After all, without them we wouldn’t have our amazing produce at markets, on shelves and in restaurants. But there’s a heap of other, less conventional ways that farmers add positively to our society, and also to their own profits! 

If you’ve always dreamed of joining the agricultural industry, but are unsure what your career options or salary expectations are – this is the post for you!  With a huge variety of options and the promise of working in the great outdoors – it’s a truly rewarding career path to choose. 

So let’s dive into the 4 main ways farmers make their money, and the different agricultural and farming online courses that can get you there.

1. Livestock Farming

There’s a wide variety of responsibilities and duties that come with being a livestock farmer, and the specific duties will depend on what kind of animals are under your care, and the produce you are working towards achieving. With options from dairy & beef to wool & eggs – the possibilities are endless!

The average farm livestock manager’s yearly salary in New Zealand is around $65,000. In addition, they earn a yearly bonus of upwards of $5000. These figures could rise with further experience and in demand produce, with the most experienced workers making up to $100,000 a year! 

To join this lucrative industry, you’ll need to be skilled in animal husbandry & have a detailed knowledge of the welfare, health and propagation of your chosen sector. Things like appropriate feeding, administering medication, ensuring the smooth running of seasonal schedules  & technical proficiency with equipment and facilities are some of the main tasks required of a livestock farmer. A specialised course in beef cattle, dairy cattle or sheep farming, or a more generalised course in livestock management, can all aid you in taking your first steps towards this exciting and impressive career path.

2. Crop Farming

Those interested in working with crops of any kind fall under the agricultural branch of farming. Whether you are interested in growing vegetables, grains, fruit, flowers or even starting a winery – this highly skilled and essential area of production is a physically demanding yet highly rewarding career. Partly because of your deep connection to nature, but also due to the excellent salary prospects available. 

The average agricultural salary in New Zealand is between $50,000 to $70,000 a year, while the most experienced workers can make up to $220,000 per year!

To join this sector, you’ll need to be able to plan, organise, control & coordinate your produce effectively. This can range from soil preparation to harvesting at peak times, to more analytical work assessing environmental and market factors to help your business thrive. To gain entry level employment and work your way to the top, you’ll need these relevant skills through a course or training, like our agriculture courses online.

We cover all areas of agribusiness and farm management online – for flexible and affordable entry into this lucrative sector. We even offer specialised courses in viticulture & sustainable farming practices, to elevate your expertise to the highest level and find your niche. Whether you wish to sell at high end farmers markets or join an industry titan as an invaluable team member – we’ve got you covered.

3. Tourism & Vacations

Using the tranquil and serene space of your land can be a profitable way to make extra income as a farmer. Either renting out your spare land for a campsite, starting a bed and breakfast or even converting unused barns into holiday cottages. On a smaller scale, some farms choose to host experiences such as weddings & parties, milking events, cookery classes with fresh produce or tasting parties. If you have an equestrian space at your property, you could even offer stabling, trail riding & horse events to the local community. 

Adding rental income to your property, in the form of holiday lets and night stays, could add around $70,000 to your income, but may require more time and extra staff to help run it. While a simpler events schedule could add around $60,000 to your income. 

To help you make the most of your space, you could consider brushing up your event management skills with an online course, to make your schedule a profitable and 5 star worthy endeavour.

4. Education & Care Farming

More and more New Zealand households are growing some of their own food, and these green fingered gardeners are all eager to learn. Who better to teach than farming professionals with years of experience! Running educational courses and activity days for eager growers is a new and exciting way to make your land work harder for you, using the knowledge you will already have. 

Becoming an educational course provider could add around $70,000 to your salary, especially useful if you run a small holding or thriving plot and want to increase your earnings. Having a wealth of knowledge in agriculture or livestock are both key skills that you can pass on, once you have completed your own education. Meaning that your own online course could pay for itself in just one semester of teaching at your farm. 

Similarly, some farmers are opening their doors to the new concept of ‘care farming’ – the use of agricultural practices to improve mental and physical health, social skills or education for vulnerable or struggling members of society. This could be helping veterans with PTSD, providing gentle soothing stimulation for children with Autism or active days out for those in assisted living or special needs schools. 

The New Zealand government is providing around $3 billion in funding for innovative uses of land that promote sustainability, community & engagement. Which, if care farming is something you feel strongly about, could help fund the altruistic sidearm to your agriculture business.

With a great array of well paid & rewarding career paths available, be sure to check out our courses in farming. Delivered by industry experts, with affordable payment plans, you’ll be uniquely positioned for entry level employment in these exciting areas, or ready to start up your own smallholding on completion. 24/7 access means you can learn when it suits you, and even keep your day job while studying. Our tutors will support you through the whole process and help you achieve the green goals you see ahead. Join us today!


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