The South Australian agriculture, forestry and fishing Industry employs around 38,100 people, which is 4.7% of the State’s workforce.

Future employment opportunities in the industry are heavily influenced by external factors, such as drought and commodity prices.

Most people in this industry farm sheep or beef cattle, or grow grain or fruit. The fishing and aquaculture workforce is small when compared to the agriculture workforce.

Most jobs are in regional South Australia, particularly in the Eyre Peninsula, Riverland, Port Lincoln and the Upper South East.

Job openings for skilled workers

Mixed crop and livestock farmer


Quick facts about this industry

  • About 80% of the workforce are employed full-time.
  • Most people working in the industry do not have a qualification, but if you want to get ahead a qualification is highly recommended.
  • Around one fifth of workers are women and this number is increasing.
  • People are generally older than those in other industries.
  • To work in this industry you need to be physically fit, enjoy working outdoors in isolated areas and be able to analyse and solve problems.
  • Farm Hands earn between $600 and $800 per week, while Agricultural Scientists and Inspectors can earn between $1,500 and $2,000 per week.

School options

Ask your vocational education and training (VET) Coordinator at school for information about doing vocational education during the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE), including the Training Guarantee for SACE (or equivalent) students. Visit the VET section of the SACE website for training options in:

  • Primary Industries
  • Seafood Industry

Vocational qualifications include:

  • Certificate II – Advanced Diploma in Agriculture with specialisations in beef and dairy, pork production, shearing, wool handling and classing, rural operations, organic farming, irrigation, viticulture, pest management and beekeeping
  • Certificate I – Diploma in Seafood Processing and qualifications covering aquaculture, fishing operations, fisheries compliance and environmental management
  • Certificate II – Diploma in areas such as harvesting and haulage, sawmilling and processing,  wood panel products, timber manufactured products, forest growing and management, timber truss and frame design and manufacture, and sawdoctoring
  • Advanced Diploma of Forest Industry Sustainability

See courses related to this industry.

University disciplines include:

  • Agricultural science
  • Animal science
  • Aquaculture science
  • Marine biology
  • Environmental science
  • Veterinary science
  • Wildlife conservation biology

Explore university courses offered in South Australia, including courses from:

For more information about university courses visit South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) or for information about student satisfaction visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

Apply to study

For application information for South Australian universities and some TAFE SA courses, visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

For subsidised training enrolment information, see Enrolling in subsidised training.

For more information, call the Infoline on 1800 673 097.

Occupations in this industry


Agriculture is the farming of plants and livestock for food and fibre and is also referred to as agrifood. The primary livestock industries in Australia are beef cattle, sheep and lambs, pigs, goats, chicken, deer and horses.

Farmers and farm managers organise farming operations to raise livestock and cultivate crops, fruit, vegetables and other agricultural products.

Agricultural technical officers provide technical support and advice on aspects of agriculture such as research, production, servicing and marketing.

Aquaculture and fishing

Aquaculture is the cultivation of aquatic life under controlled conditions and includes catching, culturing, farming and harvesting marine and inland aquatic life. It includes:

  • Fish farming
  • Shellfish farming

Fish farmhands assist with growing and cultivating finfish or shellfish and maintaining fish farm premises and equipment. Most fish farms are marine-based and in sheltered waters.

Forestry and logging

Forestry and logging includes growing timber in native or plantation forests, specifically for logging purposes. Others may shape products such as railway sleepers, posts and firewood or gather other forest products such as mushrooms and kauri gum used in varnishes.

Support services

Support services include wool classing, aerial crop spraying, mustering, seeding, planting and pruning trees, artificial insemination, fruit or vegetable picking services and operating tree nurseries for forest plantation.

Key occupations

Other occupations in this industry include:

Agricultural technical officer, beekeeper, crop farmer, farm hand, farmer/farm manager, horse manager, hunter, jackaroo/jillaroo, livestock farmer, piggery technician, poultry farmer, rural heavy vehicle operator or scientist.

Related industries for these occupations

Useful links


Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.

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