Extension Officer

An extension officer is employed to "extend" or communicate information to farmers, the public (or any other relevant people).

Government organisations and private companies employ extension officers. They may or may not be technical people. They must be good communicators though.

Extension officers play a key role linking people, breaking down communication barriers and in doing so improving profitability and efficiency in agribusiness.

Typical Jobs

  • Liaison with the media (Writing press releases, radio, interviews, etc.)
  • Preparing and distributing print media such as brochures, posters, newsletters.
  • Mounting display or exhibitions
  • Giving talks to meetings


Types of Projects

  • Disseminating information on new research, new services, new procedures, new products, new regulations
  • Weed, pest or disease control projects
  • Quarantine issues
  • General farmer education
  • Soils management and improvement
  • Improved practices for farming, harvesting, transport and processing

Where Could you Work

Extension officers may work for:
  • A land management or conservation authority
  • Department of Agriculture, Primary Industries, Environment or Rural Industries
  • Agricultural; supply company
  • Private Company or business


Remuneration and Advancement

Opportunities are varied. Traditionally companies and government departments have employed in house extension officers; however, there has been a growth in contracting out this work to consultants or marketing companies.


What Employers look for

Above all, you need to be able to understand the industry, then interpret and communicate information accurately.

People who can communicate in many different ways are going to have an edge over those who don't demonstrate a broad range of communication skills. Advanced IT skills are attractive; as are sills in writing and speaking in a concise and clear way.

A qualification can help get you noticed and whether a certificate, diploma or degree, may be necessary to get a job interview. Beyond getting the interview though, your experience and the way you prove yourself as a communicator at that interview will count more than anything in most situations.


Risks and Stress Rating

As with any job involving the media, there are at times deadlines to be met (eg. publication of a magazine) and you need to perform at that deadline whether you feel like it or not.

Opportunities will also be influenced by government funding and industry strength.


Recommended Courses/Career Pathways

Often people do not start out as an extension officer. People who either have a background in agriculture or in the media are the most attractive candidates for an extension officer position.  Farmers or people who have worked in agricultural services or research may need to learn how to communicate information, but they already have a familiarity with the things they need to communicate. Media people may need to learn about agriculture, but they will already have many of the communication skills needed for the job.

A good starting point might be a Certificate in Agriculture   (click to see details)

Another option may be to start with a shorter single 100 hour course such as Farm Management

A better starting point would be a course that develops the full range of skills required such as an Associate Diploma in Agricultural Media (or similar)