rice growing

Stepping stones to a rewarding career

Career pathways in rice growing

The Australian rice industry has the capacity to produce more than 1 million tonnes of rice per year. Our growers play an important role in food security as rice sustains two-thirds of the world’s population.

Australian rice is milled, packed and branded in the Riverina by SunRice, which is the sole exporter of Australian rice products produced in NSW to world markets. It supplies more than 60 major international destinations.

Australia’s climate makes it ideal for the production of high quality medium grain rice and Australian growers produce more rice per hectare than anywhere else in the world.

The Australian rice industry leads the world in water use efficiency. Australian grown rice uses 50 per cent less water than the global average. Water use per hectare continues to decline because of the industry’s commitment to developing high yielding rice varieties that use less water, and the use of world’s best management practices.

There are more than 2,000 rice farms in NSW, all members of the Ricegrowers’ Co-operative in Leeton, NSW, which develops, distributes, markets and exports rice and rice-based products overseas. More than 85 per cent of Australia’s rice is exported.

Australian ricegrowers have adapted to Australia’s unique climatic conditions to drive innovative farming techniques to produce a crop that is conducive to the local landscape. New, sustainable rice farming practices have seen a 60 percent improvement in efficient water use, while growing a product that remains in high demand worldwide.

Work opportunities are broadly similar to those for other grains, with work available for farm hands, contract harvesters, agronomists, farm supervisors and managers.

Jobs and qualifications

Assistant Farmhand Certificate I in Rural Operations »
Farmhand Certificate II in Agriculture »
Farmer Certificate III in Agriculture (Grain Production) »
Farm Supervisor Certificate IV in Agriculture »
Farm Manager Diploma of Agriculture or Rural Business Management »
Farm Business Manager Advanced Diploma of Agriculture or Rural Business Management »
Assistant Farmhand

Work in the rice industry at this entry level will involve routine tasks and manual duties under direct supervision, including basic field duties, machinery and equipment operations and maintenance.


Farming tasks under limited supervision, including operating tractors and equipment, undertaking irrigation activities, chemical applications, crop maintenance and farm maintenance.


A grains farmer will coordinate a wide range of farming tasks without supervision, such as irrigation operations and maintenance, harvesting; farm maintenance and machinery and equipment operation.

Farm Supervisor

A farm supervisor is responsible for the supervision and training of workers and many rice farming activities. This includes supervising planting and crop maintenance activities, supervising staff and training, budget and stock control, and machinery and equipment management.

Farm Manager

This generally involves significant responsibilities in managing rice farming activities, including property planning and management, crop management and production, staff management and business planning and operations.

Farm Business Manager

The rice farm business manager has the primary responsibility cor the rice farming enterprise. Responsibilities include whole farm planning and management, managing production systems, product marketing, strategic planning and rural enterprise management.