agricultural inspector

How to become an agricultural inspector

What does an agricultural inspector do?

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:

  • inspect processes and procedures
  • investigate accidents and complaints
  • check machinery, environment and structures 
  • in some cases they may present court cases.

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.

What's the working environment like for an agricultural inspector?

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.

What does it take to become an agricultural inspector?

To be an agricultural inspector you should:

  • have knowledge and experience of agriculture
  • have good observational and problem solving skills
  • be tenacious, investigative and methodical
  • be patient and diplomatic
  • remain impartial and consistent
  • keep up-to-date with current legislation and technology
  • have sound judgement
  • be flexible and committed
  • be able to work alone or as part of a team
  • have good written and verbal communication skills
  • be computer literate.


Agricultural inspector career opportunities


Further information

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
HSE Infoline
Caerphilly Business Park
CF83 3GG
Tel: 0870 154 5500

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Information Resource Centre
Lower Ground Floor
Ergon House
c/o Nobel House
17 Smith Square
Tel: 0845 933 5577

British Farm Standard






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