Advanced Certificate in Farming (Self-designed)

Learn farming online. Choose from lots of different modules to create a unique study combination that sets you apart from other graduates, and give yourself a career edge.

Course CodeBAG902
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

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  • Choose the subjects you want to study
  • Study at home, as fast or slow as you want
  • Start any time, take breaks when you need to
You can choose any eight modules from those available, as long as the combination makes sense and is approved by the school's academic staff.

To enrol in a self designed advanced certificate, you must first determine at the subjects you will take. This is usually done by contacting the school and discussing this with an academic staff member (by email or phone). Choose any combination of  agriculture modules. You may even include one or two modules from outside of our agriculture list provided that they are relevant to the broad area of study, or can be readily justified as relevant to your particular situation.

Once your subjects have been determined and approved, you will be issued with a unique Course Code. Supply this code, the course title and the name of the tutor (or staff member) who approved the course when you enrol.

You may enrol via any of the following methods:

  • Use the shopping trolley on this page to enrol
  • Phone the school
  • Submit an enrolment form by post or fax
  • Use the Custom Payment section


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Farming (Self-designed).
 Industry Project BIP000
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 8 of the following 32 modules.
 Animal Anatomy And Physiology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Dog Care BAG105
 Engineering I - Machinery & Equipment BSC105
 Farm Management BAG104
 Horse Care I BAG102
 Outdoor Plant Production (Crops I) BHT112
 Soil Management (Agriculture) BAG103
 Animal Behaviour BAG203
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 Animal Health (Animal Husbandry II) BAG201
 Aquaculture BAG211
 Beef Cattle BAG206
 Calf Rearing BAG207
 Commercial Vegetable Production BHT222
 Dairy Cattle BAG205
 Equine Behaviour BAG216
 Goat Production BAG223
 Horse Care II BAG204
 Irrigation - Crops BHT204
 Pasture Management BAG212
 Poultry BAG208
 Sheep BAG210
 Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
 Trees For Rehabilitation BHT205
 Agricultural Marketing BAG304
 Agronomy BAG306
 Animal Breeding BAG301
 Aquaponic Production BHT319
 Horse Breeding BAG307
 Horse Care III BAG302
 Irrigation Management BAG303
 Organic Farming BAG305

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Farming (Self-designed) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


The world is changing faster than ever, particularly the introduction of new technologies, and there are implications for every industry, including farming.  If you are to be successful in farming today, and into the future, you must learn to adapt to these changes. The way to succeed today will be different from the way to succeed in the past, just as the way to succeed in the future will be different from the way you might succeed today. 

 While it is still important to learn from the “way we’ve always done things”, it is even more important to face up to new challenges, and to embrace new opportunities.

Growing good produce was once sufficient for most farmers to make a profitable living - but not anymore.  Catch phrases such as value adding and multi-skilling are common to us all now, but what exactly do they mean? What about just being good at one thing, or the concept of creating a core business?  Where do we go from here?

The farm business, just like any other, must learn to take calculated risks.  But risk taking should always be based on thorough knowledge, thorough planning and thorough preparation.

To look at what range of business opportunities are available, we must first look at where rural industries have been and where they are going.


In the past, a farmers market was frequently local, with most competition coming from the local area or state, or perhaps within the country.  Markets are now international, competition can come from anywhere in the world, including from places where labour costs are very low.  But just as competition has increased, so have opportunities.  It is now realistic to look at overseas markets, as well as still cater for local markets.

There is no real secret to success.  It is a combination of factors including hard work, tenacity, ongoing education, adapting to change, and yes, a certain amount of luck.  But mostly, success in any field is about being aware and taking advantage of your own skills, resources and knowledge. Many highly successful people will tell you they were just “in the right place at the right time”.  Being in the right place, though, is often due to knowing what is happening and being there to take advantage when it does happen.  Most successful farms are those that are:
  • Always prepared to change.
  • Know their strengths and weaknesses, both personally and professionally.

Some policies that you can adopt are:

  • Plan ahead and always have contingency plans in place.
  • It is not what you have (money, facilities, assets etc) it is how you use it.
  • Understand the limitations of your farming system and seek ways to improve these
  • Always be different - try to think laterally.
  • Look at ways to add value before your product hits the market
  • Know what your business is.
  • Give people a reason to spend money with you rather than with someone else.
  • Take risks


Farm managers are responsible for the overall day to day operation of the farm; and the level of responsibility and complexity of that job can be variable according to the size and scope of operation involved.
Some farms may employ only a handful of part time staff, whereas others can be very large scale operations with scores of employees.
The farm manager of a smaller property can be very much a hands on position, working in the paddocks tending to animals or crops, undertaking repair and improvement work to facilities and directing other staff and contractors.  The farm manager on a larger property may be more involved in management and coordination of employees, with less hands-on work.

Many farm managers are self employed, and others are employed by the farm owner to manage their farm.  Many companies which sell agricultural products such as fruit and vegetables and animal products purchase farms to increase their profits, thus requiring the employment of a farm manager.
Typical Jobs:
  • Ordering equipment and supplies
  • Planning work programs
  • Directing staff (and contractors)
  • Managing the maintenance of facilities and equipment
  • Managing stock levels and quality
  • Managing animal or crop health/condition
  • Budget control
  • Record keeping
  • Staff training
  • Workplace health and safety
  • Farm Contracting

Environmental factors such as droughts can affect the remuneration level within the agriculture industry.  When times are good, work opportunity and remuneration can be good in this industry, however, often times are not so good which can reduce the remuneration levels available to farm managers. 

In some areas within the industry there is much less vulnerability for farm managers, so it is worth doing your research beforehand before applying for a position. 

Risks and challenges
Stress levels and risk in this industry can be high due to such external factors as weather (drought, flood) and markets (supply and demand; both local and overseas prices). When times are good, work opportunity and remuneration can be good; but when times are bad, the workplace can become more stressful and opportunities less certain. Enterprises that are less susceptible to such fluctuations are likely to be more secure, less stressful and offer more opportunity for advancements. This varies depending upon the type of farm, and the financial position of the employer.

How to become a Farm Manager
Experience and knowledge are invaluable qualities in a successful farm manager.  Some farm managers may not have a desirable length of experience in the field but may have acquired invaluable knowledge to gain employment.
If you are thinking of gaining some knowledge in the industry it is worthwhile to study a different combination of modules or varied course. Be sure to only study courses that enhance your ability to think laterally -something that is critical for success in research.
You may also wish to gain more experience in the field before moving into the position of farm manager. This may mean working as an assistant to a farm manager.  This will give you invaluable skills and knowledge to move up in the industry.


If you are running your own farm, or would like to move into a management position within the farming industry, it will give you the much needed background information on all aspects of farm management - from stock management through to pasture and importantly farm business management. A course such as this sets the 'farm hand' apart from the 'farming professional'.

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Marius Erasmus

Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South
Bob James

Horticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc.,
Dr. Gareth Pearce

Veterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand
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