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Farming covers the production of almost all kinds of animals, crops, fruits and vegetables suitable for a moderate to subtropical climate. Farmers are responsible for most of the production of a country's foodstuffs either through crop or stock farming. Another important responsibility of farmers is the conservation of the country's natural resources.

Farmers combine agricultural and business methods in operating small or large farms. Farmers' objectives are to make farming activities productive, profitable and professional.

The nature of the work differs according to the size and type of farm. The topography, climate and vegetation of an area determine the type of farming practised. On small farms, farmers may perform the actual labour, as well as plan and direct farming operations.

With crop farming, farmers perform a wide range of duties, such as determining land use, planting, fertilising, spraying, cultivating and harvesting procedures as well as marketing.

On livestock farms, farmers take care of animals. The correct breeding or incubation programme as well as feeding programmes, need to be followed. Pastures have to be planned and controlled in such a way that enough grazing will be available for the animals. Animals must also be vaccinated against illnesses. Wool, meat and dairy products need to be processed and marketed.

Farmers are also employers. The number of labourers each farmer employs is in direct proportion to the size and profitability of the farm and the degree of mechanisation. Farmers need to be well informed on all legislation that regulates labour relations in agriculture.

Farmers evaluate existing practices and look at methods for improvements. They maintain financial records, purchase supplies, determine labour needs and hire and supervise workers.

Satisfying Aspects
- working outdoors
- working independently
- living in rural areas away from urban congestion
- developing and using a wide range of skills, from mechanical to business
- working with animals and/or plants

Demanding aspects
- working in bad weather conditions
- long irregular hours
- coping with natural disasters, such as floods, drought, insect plagues and animal diseases
- losing crops or livestock

A farmer should:
- enjoy working outdoors, in all weather conditions
- like working with plants and/or animals
- have perseverance, diligence and patience
- have organizational ability
- have good planning, analytical and problem-solving skills
- have good leadership qualities and interpersonal relationships
- have good health and physical strength, stamina and agility
- have ability to endure isolation and limited social contact
- be independent, responsible and self-disciplined
- have mechanical aptitude and able to work with computers

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences - for degree course
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences, Geography, Accounting, Agricultural Sciences

Formal training in agriculture is available on four different levels, namely schools, agricultural colleges, universities of technology and universities.

Schools: Certain secondary schools offer Agriculture as a formal subject. There are also special agricultural schools where the students are obliged to take one or more agricultural subjects. These schools usually have a farming unit with enough agronomic and animal material for demonstration as well as for training purposes. At most agricultural schools, the choice of subject is such that matric exemption can be obtained.

Agricultural colleges: Worcester College of Agriculture offers agricultural courses in Farming Management that can result in a N4, N5, and N6 Diploma in Agriculture - emphasis is placed on the agricultural situation prevalent in the area served by the specific college.

Other agricultural colleges in the country are,

- Elsenburg Agricultural Development Institute - Stellenbosch
- Glen Agricultural Development Institute -    Bloemfontein
- Grootfontein Agricultural College - Middelburg
- Cedara Agricultural Development Institute - Pietermaritzburg
- Lowveld Agricultural College - Nelspruit
- Owen Sitole College of Agriculture

Agricultural degrees and diploma’s are also offered by various FET colleges.

Degree: BSc (Agric) and other agricultural degrees - NMMU, UFS, UFH, UL, US, UKZN, UP, UV, UZ, UNISA, NWU

Diploma: Various diplomas are offered by different universities of technology, - CPUT, CUT, TUT, DUT.

Agricultural degrees and diplomas are also offered by various FET colleges..

- Large farming corporations
- Owners of large farms
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Health
- Department of Land Affairs
- Universities, universities of technology and agricultural colleges
- Self-employment, with own farm.

Agricultural Research Council
P O Box 8783
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 427 9700
Fax: (012) 342 3948