Agricultural inspectors are responsible for maintaining standards and enforcing regulations within agriculture, particularly on farms. They can be involved at different points in the food production chain and work for a variety of agencies, mostly public.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors act in an occupational health and safety role. Agricultural inspectors visit premises, make checks, note the infringement of any laws, and write reports and recommendations. During a visit they might:
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) inspectors work in specialist inspectorates, enforcing UK and EU legislation. They collect and evaluate data, and issue certificates. Through visits and liaison, they encourage compliance with statutory obligations. They may also plan for the prevention, control and eradication of animal and poultry disease.
Some inspectors are employed by farm assurance schemes to check that agricultural practice meets the British Farm Standard (commonly known as the Red Tractor). They inspect the health and welfare of livestock, check animal feed, ensure livestock housing is safe and adequately spacious, check animal identification and veterinary treatments before granting certification and a seal of approval.
Working hours are typically 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday, with the possibility of extra hours. Although the work is office-based, at least half of the time is spent visiting workplaces, indoors and outdoors. Self- employment and freelance work are sometimes possible. Career breaks, part-time work and job-sharing may also be available.
The job involves frequent travel, and occasional overnight stays away from home.
Conditions may be noisy, dirty, smelly or even dangerous. Where necessary, inspectors wear protective clothing.
To be an agricultural inspector you should:
If you would like to know more about agricultural inspector careers that doesn't appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
Health and Safety Executive
Caerphilly Business Park
Tel: 0870 154 5500
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Information Resource Centre
Lower Ground Floor
c/o Nobel House
17 Smith Square
Tel: 0845 933 5577
British Farm Standard