Agricultural/Horticultural Consultant Kaitohutohu Ahuwhenua

Agricultural/horticultural consultants advise farmers, growers and organisations on business, production and land management solutions.

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Agricultural/horticultural consultants may be registered with the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management (NZIPIM) as farm systems certified consultants.

Agricultural/horticultural consultants may do some or all of the following:

  • advise farmers and growers on how to improve the profitability, efficiency and sustainability of farm management systems
  • assist farmers and growers in developing and implementing business plans
  • advise on or oversee budgets, cashflow and production targets for clients
  • research and report on factors that affect crop production, pasture growth, and animal breeding
  • advise farmers and growers on fertiliser and nutrient use to improve productivity and environmental performance 
  • investigate, plan and advise on methods for coping with the effects of pests and diseases and natural disasters such as floods
  • provide advice on compliance with current legislation such as the Resource Management Act
  • prepare property and environmental management reports for clients.

Physical Requirements

Agricultural/horticultural consultants need to be reasonably fit and healthy as their work includes walking around farms and orchards. 

Useful Experience

Useful experience for agricultural/horticultural consultants includes:

  • work on farms or orchards
  • sales, marketing or other work dealing with customers or clients
  • work within the agribusiness sector
  • work in an agricultural or horticultural research institution or laboratory.

Personal Qualities

Agricultural/horticultural consultants need to be:

  • able to build and maintain relationships with a wide range of people
  • good communicators, with listening and public speaking skills
  • hard-working, friendly, patient and able to inspire confidence
  • good negotiators
  • skilled in analysis and decision making
  • skilled in planning, organising and problem solving
  • able to work under pressure with good time management skills.

Skills

Agricultural/horticultural consultants need to have:

  • in-depth knowledge of the area of agriculture or horticulture they work in
  • knowledge of farm or orchard systems management
  • competency in business planning and financial management 
  • understanding of production methods and how to apply these to real-life situations
  • knowledge of current government and council regulations and legislation.

Conditions

Agricultural/horticultural consultants:

  • may work irregular and long hours
  • work in offices and on clients' farms or orchards
  • work in all weather conditions
  • may travel within New Zealand or overseas to attend conferences or visit clients, factories, banks or export marketing firms.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is needed to enter further training. Useful subjects include agricultural and horticultural science, biology, business studies, chemistry and maths.

Agricultural/Horticultural Consultants can earn around $50K-$85K per year.

Pay for agricultural/horticultural consultants varies depending on experience and whether they work in the agriculture or horticulture sector. 

  • Agricultural/horticultural consultants with less than five years' experience usually earn between $50,000 and $85,000 a year
  • Agricultural/horticultural consultants with more than five years' experience usually earn between $85,000 and $150,000.
  • Senior agricultural/horticultural consultants can earn bonuses, or a proportion of the income they generate for the business.
  • Self-employed agricultural/horticultural consultants' hourly rates range from $100 to over $150 an hour. Some earn more than $150,000 a year.

Source: AgFirst Consultants NZ, 2019. 

Agricultural/horticultural consultants who work for companies may progress to supervisory or management roles, or start their own consultancy business.

Most agricultural/horticultural consultants specialise in one area. For example, agricultural consultants can specialise in dairy, sheep or beef farming, and horticultural consultants in a particular fruit or vegetable crop. However, consultants are increasingly working across both sectors, specialising in areas such as:

  • environmental planning
  • irrigation and water quality management
  • infrastructure planning and management
  • financial and insurance management
  • legislative advice about resource management and consent
  • strategic business planning, budgeting and financial reporting.

With more experience and training, agricultural/horticultural consultants may become agricultural/horticultural or environmental scientists, financial advisers, management consultants, farmers/farm managers or orchard farmers/managers.

Years Of Training

3 years of training usually required.

To become an agricultural/horticultural consultant you usually need a Bachelor's degree in one of the following:

  • agricultural or horticultural science
  • commerce
  • agribusiness
  • environmental science.

A driver's licence is usually required.

Agricultural/Horticultural Consultant