Training as a farmer

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Cow and 2 people on a pastureImage: Paavo Blåfield

What does a farmer do at the University of Kassel?

Supply of fields and animals

Farmers work - you might expect - mainly outdoors in the fresh air. This is to be understood literally, because they have to be ready to go out at any time of the year and in any weather to take care of the fields or the livestock. In your training as a farmer, you will learn to recognize the needs of plants and animals and to care for the fields or the animals accordingly. Of course, you must always keep an eye on the business management in order to further develop a farm and to bring it solidly through all seasons.

In arable farming

is about the optimal timing of soil cultivation in order to create the ideal conditions for sowing. Then the right time for sowing must be combined with the appropriate choice of variety and crop rotation. In the summer, tasks such as mechanical and manual maintenance work are required to ensure the crop's success. The year then concludes with the harvest and storage of the crop in the fall. This is followed in winter by the marketing of the harvest and an intensive period of machine maintenance, so that in spring one can start again with full momentum into the next growing season.

In animal husbandry

the animals of the farm are cared for. At Domäne Frankenhausen, these are dairy cows and their offspring with several breeding bulls as well as laying hens. Feeding as well as the care and keeping of the animals are the focus of the daily work - and of course products such as milk and eggs.
Of course, this also includes the care of pastures and field forage areas, as well as the production of hay and silage.

When does the training as a farmer start at the University of Kassel and where does it take place?

Training as a farmer starts on 01.08. of a year. The practical training takes place at the Hessian State Domain Frankenhausen in Grebenstein. It is the teaching and experimental farm for ecological agricultural sciences of the University of Kassel.
Vocational school instruction takes place at the Reichspräsident-Friedrich-Ebert-Schule in Fritzlar.

When you start your training, you should have at least a secondary school leaving certificate and a class B driver's license. Ideally, you should also already have a T driving license (tractor).

The training to become a farmer has a dual structure. It lasts a total of three years. In agriculture, it is common to change the specialization or the farm during the course of the training. Therefore, at the University of Kassel you will only receive a training contract for one year, so that you can continue your training on another farm with a different focus afterwards.
The trainees work in the field, in the animal area or in the agricultural machinery workshop, where they gain practical experience right from the start.The theory is taught at the vocational school on certain days of the week. Your vocational school is the Reichspräsident-Friedrich-Ebert-Schule in Fritzlar.

The working time is 40 hours per week. There are fixed working hours. These are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with two longer breaks. Regularly, you also have to work on weekends. In return, you get free compensation days in the following week.

At the vocational school, the main focus is on subject-specific instruction, e.g. grain farming or animal nutrition. In addition, there is the general subject of politics and economics.
There are also in-service weekly courses on a variety of subjects. These include, for example, a course on agricultural technology at DEULA e.V. or various courses on animal husbandry at the experimental farm of the Hesse State Farm.

A monthly training allowance is paid in accordance with Section 8 (1) of the Collective Agreement for Trainees of the State of Hesse (TVA-H BBiG). This currently amounts to

  • 1,126.85 EUR in the 1st year of training

  • 1,181.43 EUR in the 2nd year of training

  • 1,231.51 EUR in the 3rd year of training

You should be enthusiastic about plants and animals, enjoy working with machinery and the welfare of soil, animals and plants should be of particular concern to you.

Alexander Herrmann, trainee farmer at the University of Kassel in an interview

What do you deal with in your training?

In my training, I deal with the correct care of the animals, how to detect problems during milking and about the harvest, such as grass silage, hay and straw.

Why did you decide on an apprenticeship and specifically on this one?
I decided to do an apprenticeship because I didn't enjoy school anymore and I would rather already be doing a job that I enjoy. I specifically chose this apprenticeship because I enjoy working with animals and love the variety of the profession.
What else would you like to pass on to others?

Man driving a tractor
Alexander driving a tractor

What else would you like to pass on to others?

The profession/training can offer a lot of variety, but you specialize in one area. However, the work is also sometimes hard and, especially during harvest time, the days can have more than 12 hours. So you should be sure that you want to do this profession, because it can demand a lot from you.

Ask yourself beforehand if you ...

  • you like to work in the open air.
  • physical work is exactly your thing.
  • whether farmland and manure are just dirt for you or a valuable natural resource.

Or whether ...

  • your need for sleep is huge.
  • it's your nightmare to stand in the barn until three in the morning when one of the cows calves.
  • you prefer to lie in the open-air swimming pool when the weather is nice rather than help with the potato harvest.