Industry Overview

The agriculture and production horticulture industry is responsible for growing livestock and crops, including food production for local and international consumers. Australian farmers and horticulturalists have shown their resilience again and again, adapting to the challenges presented by local and international agreements and markets, and natural events such as drought, fire, floods, and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. This has highlighted the necessity of agricultural skills and knowledge to maintain Australia’s food security and support the economy. Industry is developing further skills in new and emerging food sources, sustainability, farm management, digital literacy and compliance to tackle the challenges and pursue new opportunities. Australian agriculture accounts for 58% of Australian land use (385 million hectares). Due to agricultural production, Australia is one of the most food secure countries in the world: we produce more food than we consume, exporting around
70% of farm products.

The Agriculture and Production Horticulture Industry Reference Committee (IRC) is one of two IRCs that represent the broader Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management Industry. The other IRC is the Amenity Horticulture, Landscaping and Conservation and Land Management IRC. The Agriculture and Production Horticulture IRC broadly covers the following primary productions sectors:

  • Livestock production
  •  Broadacre cropping and mixed farming
  • Floriculture production
  • Fruit, vegetable, cut flowers and nut growing
  • Agricultural support services
  • Agricultural irrigation
  • Agricultural chemicals

Download the 2019-20 Year in Review for Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management

Want to know more about the work to improve skills standards for this industry?

Industry trends, challenges and opportunities are gathered through consultation with industry stakeholders and research to determine the skills industry will need in the future. They are documented in Skills Forecasts, which the Australian Industry and Skills Committee considers to determine future training package (skills standards) projects. Each project is overseen by the relevant Industry Reference Committee (IRC) and managed by Skills Impact. Click on the menu to the left for more information about the IRC, current projects, Skills Forecasts, as well as current units, skill sets and qualifications within the Training Package.


Statistics sourced: ABS, 2020, 6291.0.55.003 – Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, May 2020; EQ06 – Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards (Pivot Table); IBISWorld Industry Wizard, 2020; ABARES, 2020, Insights: Snapshot of Australian Agriculture 2020; and ABARES, 2020, Insights: Australian food security and the COVID-19 pandemic.