In Farming Simulator 2009 the player takes control over a farmer. The basic playing principle is easy: the player can move freely over his property of 4 km² to cultivate it. Like in real life there are many activities like plowing, seeding or harvesting which are needed to attend to. Several tools and machines are used for these tasks, e.g. tractors or balers. Other simulated aspects of the farming life are farm workers, weather conditions and night/day cycle.
In comparison to its predecessor this installment adds basic managerial functions to the career mode: the player visits merchants to sell his crop products or obsolete machines and to purchase new gear. There are also 17 missions which serve as tutorial or present unusual tasks like an obstacle race.