Proficiency Award 2 in Agriculture

Be a farm manager, technician or agricultural professional. This program provides broad training in both crop & livestock production. Go beyond a certificate -- this program is deep enough to underpin a professional career.

Course CodeVAG025
Fee CodeAS
Duration (approx)1500 hours
QualificationProficiency Award 2

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Train for a Professional Career in the Agriculture Industry

This is a comprehensive course that teaches you both the science and management of farming. Graduates will have a foundation to start building a business or a career working on a farm, or in providing supplies or services used by farms.

Being Different Gives You an edge!

  • Farmers that don't change, simply don't survive.

  • This course is strong on helping you adapt to change - ask us to explain how.

Studying with ACS provides a different learning experience.  You will gain a strong base of science and agricultural knowledge, while establishing a extensive network of industry contacts. 

This solid foundation is the perfect starting point for your professional career in agriculture.

How is Farming Changing?

  • A demand for new types of produce
  • New techniques in farming methods
  • Value adding to existing farm products
  • Increasing automation and mechanisation
  • Using science to improve productivity
  • Using science for improved sustainability and resilience
  • New approaches to marketing
  • New ways of working with global partners

This is a world-wide trend!

If you recognise and prepare for a life of continual change; you are far better prepared for a life of success in farming.


What makes the ACS Proficiency Award unique?
The proficiency awards offer a tiered award system - so you don't have to wait until the end of your qualification to gain an award.

How does that work?
Once you have completed 6 modules, you can receive an ACS Certificate. Complete 8 (plus 100hrs work experience), and receive an ACS Advanced Certificate. Complete 10 and receive a ACS Proficiency Award 1. Complete 14 (plus 100hrs work experience) and receive an ACS Proficiency Award 2. Complete 20 modules (plus 100hrs work experience) and receive an ACS Proficiency Award 3. Complete 24 modules (plus 100hrs Work Experience) and receive an ACS Proficiency Award 4. 



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Proficiency Award 2 in Agriculture.
 Industry Project BIP000
 Animal Anatomy And Physiology (Animal Husbandry I ) BAG101
 Farm Management BAG104
 Research Project I BGN102
 Soil Management (Agriculture) BAG103
 Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 9 of the following 34 modules.
 Horse Care I BAG102
 Animal Behaviour BAG203
 Animal Diseases BAG219
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 Animal Health (Animal Husbandry II) BAG201
 Aquaculture BAG211
 Beef Cattle BAG206
 Calf Rearing BAG207
 Dairy Cattle BAG205
 Equine Behaviour BAG216
 Fruit Production - Temperate Climate BHT218
 Horse Care II BAG204
 Hydroponic Management (Hydroponics II) BHT213
 Hydroponics I BHT224
 Irrigation -- Agricultural Irrigation BAG213
 Mariculture - Marine Aquaculture BAG220
 Microbiology BSC209
 Natural Health Care for Animals BAG218
 Nut Production BHT219
 Pasture Management BAG212
 Poultry BAG208
 Sheep BAG210
 Trees For Rehabilitation (Landcare Reafforestation) BHT205
 Viticulture BHT220
 Weed Control BHT209
 Agricultural Marketing BAG304
 Agronomy BAG306
 Agronomy II -Grains BAG309
 Animal Breeding BAG301
 Food Processing and Technology BSS301
 Horse Care III BAG302
 Irrigation Management BAG303
 Organic Farming BAG305
 Professional Practice For Consultants BBS301

Note that each module in the Proficiency Award 2 in Agriculture is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Learn to Make a Farm More Sustainable in Every Way

There are many different ideas about how to be more sustainable. You will find different people promoting different concepts with great vigour and enthusiasm, and in most cases, these concepts will have something valuable to teach you. Many are quite similar in approach, often being just variations of a similar theme. Each approach will have its application; but because it worked for someone else does not necessarily mean it will work for you. Some of these concepts are explained below.

Low Input Farming
This approach is based on the idea that a major problem is depletion of resources. If a farmer uses fewer resources (eg. chemicals, fertiliser, fuel, money, manpower), farm costs will be reduced, there is less chance of damage being caused by waste residues or overworking the land, and the world is less likely to run out of the resources needed to sustain farming.

Regenerative Farming

This seeks to create a system that will regenerate itself after each harvest.
Techniques such as composting, green manuring and recycling may be used to return nutrients to the soil after each crop. Permaculture is currently perhaps the ultimate regenerative system. A permaculture system is a carefully designed landscape which contains a wide range of different plants and animals. This landscape can be small (eg. a home garden), or large (eg. a farm), and it can be harvested to provide such things as wood (for fuel and building), eggs, fruit, herbs and vegetables, without seriously affecting the environmental balance. In essence, it requires little input once established, and continues to produce and remain sustainable.

This approach concentrates mobilising biological mechanisms. Organisms such as worms and bacteria in the soil break down organic matter and make nutrients available to pastures or crops.
Under the appropriate conditions, nature will help dispose of wastes (eg. animal manures), and encourage predators to eliminate pests and weeds.

Traditionally this involves using natural inputs for fertilisers and pest control, and techniques such as composting and crop rotation. The term "organic" is defined differently in different countries. Some countries are very liberal, calling anything organic if it has not been treated with chemicals close to harvest. Others implement quite demanding requirements to "certify" produce as being organic.

Conservation Farming

This is based on the idea of conserving resources that already exist on the farm. It may involve such things as identifying and retaining the standard and quality of waterways, creek beds, nature strips, slopes, etc.

Hydroponic Production
This approach involves separating plant growth from the soil, and taking greater control of the growth of a crop. This increases your ability to manage both production and the disposal of waste. Hydroponics is being used in some places (eg. Kenya) as a serious system for growing animal fodder. In other places it is more commonly used for growing vegetables and fruit.  Hydroponics is sometimes used together with aquaponics to produce both fish and plant crops in the same system (ie. aquaponics).
Hydroponics is not a natural system of cropping, but it can be very environmentally friendly. A lot of produce can be grown in a small area; so despite the high establishment costs, the cost of land is much less allowing farms to operate closer to markets. In the long term, a hydroponic farm uses fewer land resources, fewer pesticides, and is less susceptible to environmental degradation than many other forms of farming.

Matching an Enterprise with Land Capacity
Some sites are so good that you can use them for almost any type of farming enterprise, for any period of time without serious degradation. Other places, however, have poor or unreliable climates or infertile soils and may only be suitable for certain types of enterprises or certain stocking or production rates. If you have a property already, only choose enterprises that are sustainable on your land.

Improving Genetics of Stock
This principle involves breeding or selecting animal or plant varieties which have desirable genetic characteristics. If a particular disease becomes a problem, you select a variety that has reduced susceptibility. If the land is threatened with degradation in a particular way, you should change to varieties that do not pose that problem.

Many modern farms practise monoculture, growing only one type of animal or plant. With large populations of the same organism, though, there is greater susceptibility to all sorts of problems. Diseases and pests can build up to large populations. One type of resource (required by that variety) can be totally depleted, while other resources on the farm are under-used. If the market becomes depressed, income can be devastated. A polyculture involves growing a variety of different crops or animals, in order to overcome such problems.

Integrated Management
This concept holds that good planning and monitoring the condition of the farm and marketplace will allow the farmer to address problems before they lead to irreversible degradation.

Chemical pesticides and artificial fertilisers may still be used, but their use will be better managed.  Soil degradation will be treated as soon as detected. Water quality will be maintained. Ideally, diseases will be controlled before they spread. The mix of products being grown will be adjusted to reflect changes in the marketplace (eg. battery hens and lot-fed animals may still be produced but the waste products which often damage the environment should be properly treated, and used as a resource rather than being dumped and causing pollution).

What are the possibilities once you complete this course? 

The dynamics of the agriculture industry will always present opportunities for profitable employment, especially for agriculturists who are in tune with their industry.  

If you have....

  • a passion for agricultural science and technology,
  • a drive to work hard for positive outcomes and
  • a mind-set to create new opportunities,

then you are always going to be successful in your chosen Agricultural career.

Possible roles available at the completion of this course can include:

  • Business Owner - farm, Agricultural business for example: Organic and Sustainable Farming
  • Farm Production Manager (if you already have some farming experience).
  • Farm Operator/Farm hand
  • Agricultural/ Farm Contractor – offering specialist services.
  • Technical and Sales Specialist – agricultural services, material and equipment.
  • Production unit manager
  • Station/property manager
  • Agronomist
  • Agricultural Consultant
  • Stock agent
  • Agribusiness company roles
  • Agricultural Research roles
  • Further study opportunities

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ACS is an Organisational Member of the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network
Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

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Peter Douglas

Over 50 years experience in Agriculture and wildlife management. Former university lecturer, Wildlife park manager, Animal breeder, Equestrian. Peter has both wide ranging experience in animal science, farming and tourism management, and continues to ap
Anna Jones

Human Biology graduate, with post grad MSc in Equine Science. Tutor with ACS for a decade; in addition to time spent in managerial, research and lecturing positions elsewhere. She also has over a decade of practical animal management experience.
Cheryl Wilson

Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture, equine and education industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. She graduated with a B.Sc.(Hons), HND Horse Mgt, C&G Teaching Cert. For several years, Cheryl managed the distance
Alison Pearce

Alison brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to ACS students. She has worked as a University Lecturer, has also run a veterinary operating theatre; responsible for animal anaesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniqu
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