Introduction To Part Time Farm Jobs

In a previous article, we gave you a list of part time outdoor jobs that could be worth thinking about for those of you who are not much keen on being cooped up indoors all day long whilst you are trying to earn a bit of extra cash. There are lots of part time and seasonal jobs out there that can see you working amongst the elements and one type of these types of work is farm jobs.

Farm jobs, whether it’s regular part time work or seasonal jobs, come in all shapes and sizes and while some will suit those of you looking for a bit of casual, entry level work, other roles will require more expertise – perhaps even special qualifications – and might suit older people. Whatever the case, farm jobs can make ideal money earners for those of you who want to be outdoors and who don’t mind getting stuck in there with a bit of hard graft.

Part Time & Seasonal Farm Jobs – An Overview

Farm jobs can often be good entry level jobs

Well the good news is, even for seasonal farm jobs, training is often given. So if you have little or no previous experience of this type of work but you are have a real enthusiasm to work outdoors, then there is still a chance you could land yourself some type of farm job. For fruit picking jobs, for example, each fruit or vegetable requires a different technique to harvest it so you will be shown how to do this before you are let loose in the fields and orchards.

The UK has a diverse farming industry so there could be lots of options for outdoor work

Another good aspect to part time and seasonal outdoor farm jobs is that the UK is ideally situated for them. The nation has a diverse agricultural output, as well as many livestock farms, and these are all over the United Kingdom. You could find yourself working in mountainous areas, rural areas, small towns and even by the sea. And because of the diversity of the agricultural output in the United Kingdom, if you’re the nomadic type, you could even make a full time career from doing multiple temporary seasonal jobs around England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Different crops are harvested at different times of the year so you can make your way around the different areas to match their harvest time.

Farm jobs require you to be safety aware

Farm work isn’t for everyone, of course. You must be able to work as part of a team on occasion whilst also working under your own initiative, too. And attention to detail is essential. You are working in what can be a dangerous environment so you need to be safety aware, making sure yourself and others around you are safe. This could be wearing correct safety clothing or using tools and machinery in a safe manner.

As well as clothing and machinery, working on any type of farm means high level of tidiness are required for safety reasons so, even if you are doing part time jobs which require more experience and expertise, you will still need to be willing to basic labouring jobs such as sweeping up. Farm jobs are all about hard work but also about lots of enthusiasm for the role, too.

Are you up to the physical challenge of part time farm jobs?

And all that hard work means you need to physically fit to do outdoor farm jobs, whether seasonal work or long term part time work. Fetching, carrying, loading and unloading are all part of your duties when working on farms and, depending on your role, you might also be required to work at heights – up ladders – and also on the ground, if you are harvesting particular crops.

Some seasonal farm jobs will even provide accommodation

For some types of part time or temporary farm jobs, having your own transport to get to and from the farm can be a bonus, especially if you are working in remote, rural areas where the public transport is likely to be minimal. However, some farm jobs – even the seasonal ones – do offer accommodation. This could be a private house, caravan or other mobile home, or even dormitories. It depends on the type of role you are doing.

A full time career can be made from part time and seasonal farm jobs

Farm jobs are no dead end solution, either, when it comes to finding work. If you have done part time farm jobs in the past or you are really enjoying one you are currently doing, you could also build a full time career in the field. Young people can do apprenticeships for working in the organic farming industry or there are also college courses for people of all ages where you can gain qualifications.

Types of Outdoor Part Time Farm Jobs

Fruit & Vegetable Picking

Perhaps the first type of farm job that comes to mind when you think of temporary, seasonal work is fruit picking and other harvesting jobs. Fruit picking jobs are ideal for young people and often, also overseas workers. This means fruit picking jobs can be a great way to really get to know people of other nationalities and backgrounds. Depending on the weather, there could be more or less fruit picking jobs being advertised at any given time – bad weather can affect the season’s harvest in a bad way, but some years, there could have been optimum weather which has produced an abundant crop. The latter is good news for you if you are looking for seasonal work.

Farm work such as fruit picking jobs conjures up an image of working in idyllic rural surroundings with the sun on your back, idly picking fruits from trees and plants and having the benefit of being paid for the pleasure of it. However, while that might be the case on occasion, you should also bear in mind that seasonal jobs doing fruit picking can also be very hard work and long hours. That doesn’t mean you won’t have fun along the way, of course. If you are travelling and working en route, you could meet other like-minded people as well as make lots of new friends.

Salad, vegetable and fruit picking jobs can be in all types of farms and orchards, from small family-owned concerns to huge operations with warehouses and distribution centres for transporting goods to major supermarkets. All types of farms take on seasonal staff at some point in the year and whatever type of operation you are working for, there will be lots of bending, walking and lifting and on most occasions, you will be working to targets. Fruit picking jobs tend not to be paid on an hourly basis but by the amount of fruit you harvest in one day – and sometimes, you will be working to targets where you will be given a set number of baskets or punnets, for example, to fill each day.

Although most fruit picking and other harvesting of vegetables and salads will be done outdoors, there will be some instances where, depending on the crop that is grown at that farm, you will be working in polytunnels or glasshouses. This means you will be guaranteed to get your hours of work in on any given day because you will be able to work in all weathers to harvest the crops. Salads and herbs, for example, could be grown in environments like this, and when it comes to herbs, these might not necessarily be for the kitchen table. Some herb farm jobs could see you picking herbs that will go towards making essential oils for the fragrance and flavour industries.

Again, it depends on the size of the operation you are working for but some producers of fruit are very experienced when it comes to attracting seasonal workers to roles with their company. These days, some companies can offer a range of accommodation from shared dorms to cabins and ‘bungalows’ at highly subsidised rates. You can stay in this accommodation for the duration of your temporary contract. These same companies also encourage a team spirit by not having an ‘all work and no play’ situation. Some places will have a bar or social club, games rooms, football sessions, basketball, go-karting and they will also organise day trips around the local area.

As you can see, temporary and seasonal fruit picking jobs could see you making lots of new friends and also having a great time, despite working lots of long shifts.  

Points To Note For Farm Jobs Doing Fruit Picking

  • Fruit picking jobs are not just about harvesting the fruits. Larger operations will require you to load picked goods into containers to be sorted and packed. Sometimes, the fruit will be packed on site, whilst other operations will send it elsewhere to be packed. It depends if the fruit is being prepared for the mass market. Depending on your experience, you might be required to use forklift trucks and tractors to transport large palattes of fruit to waiting lorries. Tractors can be used to transport fruit and vegetables elsewhere, for sale on the local markets. Depending on the size of the company, fruits will go to local markets, supermarkets and even be exported.
  • For most fruit picking farm jobs, training will be given so that you can use cutting utensils safely and effectively for removing fruit from trees and plants. For manual fruit picking, sometimes, you will only be required to pick a certain size and shape of fruit and sort them into different classes.
  • For hardier fruits and vegetables, sometimes, mechanical harvesting is required. If you have the experience and training to do this, this could be an advantage for you in getting multiple, temporary seasonal jobs throughout the year.
  • Consult your wits. How are you with heights? Some outdoors jobs doing fruit picking will require you to get fruit from trees. This means you will need to work up ladders and be confident and safe whilst doing that. Often, a fruit harvest will continue whatever the weather because the optimum harvest window is so short. Can you work quickly at heights – and low down, too, of course – with cutting equipment and ladders in various weathers? Naturally, outdoor work, even in the summertime, is not always going to be bright and sunny.

Who does seasonal fruit picking jobs suit?

As you might have gathered by now, for part time work, fruit picking jobs outdoors – and occasionally indoors – are not for everyone. On the other hand, however, there are people out there who would really thrive from doing this type of work. Let’s take a look at who fruit picking jobs might suit:

  • People who can be flexible. If you are looking to work quite long term doing fruit picking jobs then you will need to be flexible in moving to different parts of the country to harvest different fruits and vegetables at various times of the year.
  • People who are able to get up early.  On occasions where the British summer heat does reach higher temperatures, the fruit picking work day can sometimes begin as early as 4:30 am. If you’re not a morning person, fruit picking jobs might not be the way forward for you.
  • People who aren’t afraid of creepycrawlies. Seriously, are you going to jump out of your skin every time you see some description of creepycrawly? Not only could you damage the fruit you are picking, you could also be on a ladder, up a tree. You need to be able to work safely and that means not falling off your ladder at the shock of seeing an insect.
  • People who are observant. If you do see things that move, and there happens to be a lot of them, you need to report this to the orchard owner as there may be an infestation which can damage both this crop and future crops, too. Some orchard and farm owners might offer some type of basic training for this so you know what you are looking for. As well as ‘little things that move,’ you need to be able to use your observation skills to remove and discard bad fruits so that you are only harvesting the good fruits.
  • People who can work with precision. Outdoor farm jobs doing fruit picking require you to be able to work fast and with efficiency so that you can not only harvest the fruit quickly but also make sure you get paid a good wage. If you are taking baskets of bruised and squashed fruit back for weighing, this will not be suitable for resale and it can result in you not being paid for the weight you have harvested. At most orchards, fruit pickers are paid by the weight of fruit they have harvested rather than an hourly rate.
  • People who can follow instructions. Many people make up a full time career doing back to back seasonal jobs, fruit picking. Each orchard and farm will have its own methods for harvesting fruits depending on the type of fruit and the particular preferences of the owner. The quicker you can follow their instructions and meet their requirements, the more you are going to get paid. You will no doubt receive training for this – such as how to use cutting equipment safely – because it is in the interests of the farmer or the orchard owner to get their fruits harvested as quickly as possible before they are too ripe for market.
  • People who are adaptable. As well as learning how to use different tools for removing different fruits from trees and stems, you will also need to be adaptable to working in different weathers – sun, rain, wind – and also, perhaps being able to start work at different times of day depending on weather forecasts.
  • People who are physically fit. There are lots of physical demands to farm jobs such as fruit picking. You need to be able to work long hours, consistently. You need to be able to work at heights and on the ground, too. You need to be able to work in all weather conditions – as mentioned above. You need to be able to carry fruit baskets, push trolleys that are holding fruit and load and unload containers. Some of this can be heavy work.
  • People who are reliable and motivated. Fruit picking jobs are seasonal roles and when you are recruited, it’s hoped you are going to stay around until the harvest is complete. You need to convince the orchard owner you are reliable and able to get up early each morning to get to work. You also need to be motivated so you can work quickly and also work under our own initiative as well as working as part of a team.
  • People who have no allergies or skin conditions to the harvested goods or agricultural chemicals. Unless you are working on an organic farm, agricultural chemicals will be in use. Hopefully, these chemicals, or indeed the fruit you are picking, will not reveal any allergies that could force you to stop doing fruit picking jobs.
  • People who are willing to travel. If you are a wanderer, seasonal jobs working outdoors doing fruit and vegetable picking could really suit you as you travel around the country from job to job.

Other Types Of Outdoor Farm Jobs

Not all farm jobs are about fruit picking of course. If you are looking for other part time work in the farming industry, here are some of the outdoor roles you could do. Some farm jobs can come with local accommodation – this is sometimes a mobile home – and others will offer basic training, too.

Harvesting Jobs

Harvesting work tends to be seasonal jobs and farms often recruit for their harvesting season. Duties will include driving a combine harvester and crops to be harvested can include wheat, peas and potatoes. For this type of work, it helps if you have experience in operating large, modern farming machinery and you must be willing to work long hours.

Tractor Driver

If you have tractor driving experience, an HGV license or a forklift truck licence, then part time farm jobs could be an option for you. You could be driving a combine harvester and also working with telehandlers, if you have more experience.

Duties for tractor drivers are varied and it will depend on the size and type of farm you work on what will be asked of you. You could be expected to do any of the following tasks, however:

  • ploughing
  • fertiliser
  • spreading
  • mowing
  • bailing
  • wrapping
  • carting bales
  • spreading dung
  • grain carting
  • silage carting
  • bale stacking
  • maintaining machinery
  • ploughing
  • hedge trimming
  • raking
  • keep the workplace clean and tidy and ensure machinery stays in good condition
  • work with GPS technology

Working With Livestock

So far, the farm jobs we have looked at have been about crops and the harvesting of those crops. Part time outdoor farm jobs can also suit animal lovers because there are roles that can involve working with livestock, too. Let’s take a look at some of the outdoor jobs you could do, doing farm work with animals.

  • Calf Rearing – Working in calf rearing involves various duties such as the milking of cows two or more times each day. Some farms will also require you to maintain medicine records and do TB checks and feet checks on cows. You will also need to be observant and be able to spot illness in the cows and bulls so that you can inform the farmer. There is often training involved with roles such as this but part time work on farms where you are working with animals usually requires some previous experience or qualifications.  
  • Dairy Assistant – As with calf rearing farm jobs, dairy assistants assist with milking. They also clean and change bedding areas and assist with calving.
  • Herdsperson – Some farms have sheep and goats as their main livestock and part time jobs could be available working as a herdsperson with the sheep and goats. It is the duty of a herdsperson to ensure high standards are maintained amongst the animals and their environment. This is done by looking after bedding, feeding the animals, worming, lamb clipping, lambing indoors and outdoors during lambing season. Sometimes, there are also additional, general farm work duties involved in working as a herdsperson.

General Farm Worker

Part time farm jobs working outdoors could also be as a general farm worker and some of these types of roles could suit those of you looking for entry level work. Again, it depends on the size and type of farm you are working but general farm worker duties can include:

  • Sweeping up and keeping areas safe to work in and clean.
  • Maintaining high standards of cubicle cleanliness for livestock.
  • General gardening duties such as weeding and pruning.
  • More specialised duties such as applying pesticides, repairing dry stone walls and hedges, building fences and trellises.
  • Using hand tools such as shovels, brushes, trowels, pruning hooks, shears, knives and often mechanical equipment, too.
  • Irrigation.
  • Paperwork.

For the right person, part time, outdoor farm work can be very rewarding and, as you can see from what is included in this article, there are many different roles to consider that will suit people of various ages and level of experience. So, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and you have any type of interest in agriculture, farm jobs could be perfect for you.