What is agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary all about?
Do you enjoy nature, working outdoors and/or working with animals? Do science and research about plants and animals interest you? Are you interested in food production and protecting our natural resources? Find out about how you can pursue a career in agriculture, forestry, fisheries or veterinary.
The agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary industry plays an important role in the economy of many countries. It is through this industry that a wide variety of food products can be produced and supplied to local communities as well as for export to other countries. Besides food products, this sector also produces non-food products like plant fibre, timber, wool, leather and others.
This sector can generally be classified into two main groups, that is, crop production and animal production. Smaller subsectors include forestry and logging, fishing, and agricultural support activities.
Crop and animal production involves growing and harvesting crops or rearing livestock for food and plant or animal products. In contrast, the fishing subsector is concerned with catching fish and shellfish to sell; the forestry and logging subsector involves growing, harvesting, and selling timber; and agricultural support activities include the supply of fertiliser, transportation, packaging and other activities which help with the production and distribution process.
What you will study
Agriculture (Crop and livestock production and horticulture)
Agriculture is the study of the growing, maintaining and harvesting non-intensively managed crops and pastures, and grazing and managing animals. It includes the study of farming and producing unprocessed plant and animal products. You will learn about key factors that influence production and profitability in running a farm business; develop practical and technical farming skills; analyse current and future market conditions to determine which crops are grown and/or livestock raised; operate and maintain farm machinery and equipment; and identify environmental factors that affect flock and herd health and productivity. In contrast, horticulture and viticulture is the study of cultivating, propagating and producing intensively managed crops such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, foliage, nursery crops, trees, shrubs and plants.
In the sub-field of forestry, you will learn how to establish, cultivate, harvest and manage forests. This includes the production, protection and management of timber and speciality forest crops, the selection and grading of forest raw materials, and the utilisation of forest lands for multiple purposes such as game preserves and recreation. Subjects studied include silviculture, nutrition and physiology, tree improvement (selection, breeding and genetic engineering), tree health (pests and diseases), forest management and environment, agroforestry, forest nursery, forest establishment, forest tending, forest harvesting, forest health protection, product quarantine, inventory, forestry operations, safety management, technical forestry and chainsaw operation.
Courses in fisheries will develop your understanding in breeding, rearing, harvesting, handling and processing of fish and other edible aquatic resources. You will learn about aquaculture production, feeding and maintaining stock, stocking and sampling fisheries. You may also study the physiology and genetics of marine animals, pests and diseases, aquacultural sciences, stock assessment, and evaluation of fisheries management strategies.
Veterinary courses are about diagnosing and treating animal diseases and injuries; and preventing the spread of animal diseases. You will study veterinary medicine, anaesthesiology and intensive care, epidemiology, immunology, anatomy and physiology, pathology, microbiology, parasitology, radiology and imaging, virology, surgery, pharmacology, biochemistry, animal nutrition and management, animal behaviour and welfare, meat hygiene, public health, animal genetics and breeding, theriogenology, animal health, and wildlife health and disease.
Is this course right for you?
The agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary field attracts people who enjoy working with animals, living an independent lifestyle, or working outdoors on the land. Depending on the subsector you choose, the job sometimes involves hard labour, long hours, extreme weather and isolating environments. However, there are also many jobs that in food production environments, including farms, hatcheries, and nurseries.
The use of machinery and other heavy equipment is common. Although this helps take away some of the more physically demanding aspects of the job, those who operate these equipment must take precautions to avoid accidents and injury.
Courses in this field are highly interdisciplinary. Students interested in this field will do well if they have a good grasp of both natural sciences and social sciences, including areas such as biology, agricultural science, environmental sciences, chemistry, economics and business and management.
Courses in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary
Courses are offered at diploma, and bachelor degree level. Postgraduate study in this field is also offered at selected higher education institutions.
General course listing:
Careers in agriculture include agricultural inspectors, agricultural workers, farmers, farm or agricultural managers, food scientist, agricultural economist, food distribution manager, soil scientist or conservationist, farm production manager, environmental specialist, viticulturist, beekeeper, livestock production manager, and others.
In forestry, possible careers include foresters, forest and conservation workers, conservation scientists, environmental inspector, and loggers.
If you’re interested in fisheries, you could pursue a career as a fisheries biologist, fisheries officer, fishery manager, fishery technician, marine biologist, aquarist, aquaculture farmer, and others.
A career in veterinary will give you job options like veterinarian, veterinary assistant, veterinary technician or technologist, animal trainer, animal care and service workers, groomer, zoologists, animal care workers and animal handler or trainer.
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