Farmers are systemically important as food producers. Unfortunately, there is a lack of young people in the industry. What conditions have to be fulfilled in order to carry out the work and what does farmers expect in their daily work?

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A farmer as a profession: facts and figures

Farmers to practice one for functioning one Society load-bearing activity: You deliver in large parts the Basics for the food supply of the population. In 2019 there were around 266.000 farms in Germany. A figure that proves that the industry is still very relevant, although there are far fewer agricultural companies than, for example, 40 years ago.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, a total of 2019 people were employed in the second quarter of 639.000 in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. There has also been a significant quantitative decline in the area of ​​personnel over the last few decades. Here is the Job varied and fulfilling – but not easy either.

Large business vs. Smallholder

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Large companies in particular find economic survival easier, in some cases smaller farms find it difficult to keep up and give up. The reasons for this are the use of machines and increasing modernization. A farmer can now farm or care for more land and more animals by technical means alone and thereby work more profitably.

On the one hand, this means that fewer workers are needed. On the other hand, larger companies find it easier to invest more, which is why they can gain a market advantage.

Education or studies

Farmer is a recognized profession, the exercise of which takes three years Vocational Training precedes. Most companies require an intermediate qualification. As part of the training, prospective farmers learn a whole range of skills under realistic conditions, including how to use the necessary machines, various aspects of livestock farming and the necessary specialist knowledge of soil management.

Vocational training or studies? How to become a farmer

In addition to subject-specific knowledge, the accompanying vocational school also includes more general subjects on the curriculum. Finally, there is the option to specialize as part of the training and, for example, to learn special knowledge in the field of cereal cultivation or dairy farming.

As an alternative to training, there is the possibility to study agriculture and agriculture. The prerequisite for this is a general or subject-related university entrance qualification. This path is much more theoretical, although there are many practical facets in the later work.

What do prospective farmers earn?

During Education to earn prospective farmers between 530 and 730 euros gross per month, depending on the apprenticeship year.

In some federal states, such as North Rhine-Westphalia, the trainees can pay a little more if they are paid according to the collective agreement salary as well as various bonuses for good results in vocational school.

Areas of activity: Specialization in animal breeding or agriculture

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Most graduates take a path in the management or management of a large agricultural enterprise, in counseling or in research. Agricultural scientists differ in some respects from traditional farmers in terms of their fields of activity.

After training, many farmers specialize in one or more areas of activity. The differences are mainly in the selection of the product range produced by the respective farmer.

Independence as a farmer

The best-known form of practicing the profession is self-employment with your own farm and / or fields. Many farms are family businesses. If, as is sometimes the case, the farm is not handed over from the parents to the children, the start of the activity requires a certain basic investment.

Running costs

In addition to the ongoing Costs such as seeds or fodder for the breeding animals, a share capital is required that can be used for various expenditure can be used. This includes:

In a few cases, a higher share capital is due to obtain a legal form (e.g. GmbH). Depending on the farm structure, personnel costs may also be incurred for other farmers or helpers.

Investment and financing

Therefore, it is imperative to have a good one Background about the constantly changing regulations and production methods, to constantly refresh them and to implement them in everyday work. Whether it's the basics or the details: self-employed farmers need in-depth knowledge in all relevant specialist areas in order to be competitive. In addition, it can be beneficial to a certain extent to demonstrate your own innovative spirit within the framework of the regulations.

In addition to the basic investment, other details must be taken into account, for example for approval. For this purpose, a distinction is made between different vehicle types. Approval for road traffic is mandatory, regardless of whether the tractor is used for such transport journeys.

Income from self-employed farmers

But other subtleties also play a decisive role. A farmer can only produce in a targeted and profitable manner for the market and live from his work if he adheres to the laws on cultivation specified by the European Union.

A self-employed farmer earns between 1900 and 2600 euros gross per month on average in Germany. With good management or a steady, worthwhile expansion of the business, however, there is definitely a lot of room for improvement.

Employed as a farmer?

Many farmers take the opportunity to start self-employment after completing their training, while others take on an employment relationship. This can be offered by large companies, but also by smaller farms. Employed farmers should of course also have completed training and extensive expertise. However, they are spared the often extremely difficult and existential decisions in the industry, for example regarding the calculation, the product range or the manufacturing methods.

The salary as an employed farmer depends heavily on whether the farm is bound by a collective agreement. Starting wages can be between 1700 and 1900 euros gross per month, with growing experience, the earnings also increase. However, the upward leeway is not as great as with an independent farmer.

Professional associations for farmers

As in many others Industries there is also a whole range of different professional associations for farmers. On the one hand, more general associations such as the Deutscher Bauernbund e. V., which also has state representations in several federal states, or the German Farmers' Association are basically good contact points for representing your own interests.

Regional associations such as the Bavarian Farmers' Association also play a key role. On the other hand, there are associations for different niches. This includes representations for dairy farmers such as the Bundesverband Deutscher Milchviehhalter e. V .. There are also contact points and interest groups for organic farmers.

Organic farmers: promising niche?

In agriculture, too, there are sectors that are booming and have a particularly promising future. With society's growing awareness of Sustainability and ecological issues may arise, for example, organic farmers positive hope times and good profits. Such farmers do without artificial fertilizers and other additives and also follow special and ethically valuable principles in animal husbandry. Energy efficiency also plays a key role in production methods.

The market is currently growing steadily, but rather slowly. This can be changed by the social change to more ecological consciousness however fast change. There are also regional differences. There are particularly many organic farmers in Saarland, where 2019 percent of agricultural land was farmed in this way in 17. Whether organic farmers permanently Success will also depend on whether the European Union makes sufficient funding available for this part of agriculture. At the moment there are many indications that financial support for organic farming is being cut. The next years and decades will show whether the niche can prevail in the long term.

Conclusion: farmer - a job with a future?

In many cases, farmers acquire the qualifications for their profession through training, sometimes also through a Study. They then work in various fields such as animal or plant breeding or energy production.

The salary range leaves a lot of room for improvement, especially for self-employed farmers who own a large farm. Despite the changes in the industry over the last few decades, it is also becoming Future a high relevance in society and Economy to have.

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