Choosing a Career in Agriculture: Benefits, Tips and Career Paths
Aug 25, 2022
Are you looking for a rewarding and fulfilling job? You might be fit for a career in agriculture!
As a multi-billion dollar industry, it’s shocking to know how many job seekers are unaware of the incredible, high-paying opportunities agriculture has to offer. It’s an industry that is constantly evolving and consistently in desperate need of new talent. Ag careers provide job security, competitive pay rates, and the chance to really have an impact on your community.
When you come from within the agriculture industry as we do, it’s hard to believe there is a lack of qualified candidates and college graduates to fill the necessary roles. And especially working in agriculture recruitment, we see first-hand the diverse and vast scope of opportunities on a daily basis. The agriculture industry is booming with lucrative career paths… Why aren’t there more college grads and young job seekers champing at the bit?
With the population rising at faster rates than ever before, agriculture careers are becoming increasingly more important. That’s why we’ve put together the following guide to help job seekers understand why working in agriculture is not only essential but incredibly advantageous. We’ve also created a list of 40 ag careers for those ready to discover their dream career in agriculture!
Here’s what you’ll learn in this ultimate guide to choosing a career in agriculture:
- 10 Benefits of a Career in Agriculture
- What Can I Do With an Agriculture Degree?
- How to Find a Career in Agriculture
Why Work In Agriculture?
If you’re wondering to yourself, is agriculture a good major to pursue? The answer is absolutely yes! While it isn’t completely necessary to have a degree in agriculture to land many agriculture jobs, it can place you in a better position and opens up other possible opportunities in the industry.
There are several benefits to choosing a career in agriculture. From the unique culture to the unparalleled pay rates, nearly anyone can find a niche within the ag industry that suits their skill set, needs, and goals. If you’re on the fence about whether or not agriculture is the right career choice for you, read on to learn more about the many advantages.
1. You’ll make a difference
Currently, there are over 300 million people in the U.S. that need to put food on their tables. Over the next 35 years, the world’s population will increase to near 9.6 billion, making the need for agriculture more significant than ever. We need to work together to increase agriculture production by 70%, therefore agriculture jobs across the world will be valuable for years to come.
With the growing threat of climate change, the agriculture industry is in need of major changes to protect the future of our planet. The demand for motivated, innovative individuals that want to be part of the solution is greater than ever. By choosing a career in agriculture, you can contribute to solving this global crisis and make a huge difference.
2. Shortage in Job Force
“In 2019, 22.2 million full- and part-time jobs were related to the agricultural and food sectors—10.9 percent of total U.S. employment.” - USDA The amount of jobs in agriculture has grown immensely in the last decade, and continues to grow. However, only about 35,000 students will graduate annually with degrees in agriculture.
There is a strong demand for graduates in agribusiness, agricultural science, and food science. Because of the rise in demand combined with the shortage in labor, agricultural graduates have enjoyed continued increases in salary with most graduates having a variety of choices on where to begin their career.
3. Agriculture is Everywhere
Every state in the United States grows some kind of crop, but agriculture isn’t only limited to rural areas. Many job seekers assume agriculture careers entail working on farms with crops and animals. However, there are many job opportunities that don’t involve getting your hands dirty. For example, manufacturers, suppliers, and other agriculture companies occupy the cities!
Plus, you can even seek work outside of the United States. Careers in agriculture are available and in great demand everywhere!
4. It’s a growing industry
The agriculture industry is growing at an incredibly rapid pace and as it does, the demand for qualified candidates increases right along with it. The job market is booming, which presents a unique opportunity for college graduates to find work quickly, pursue different areas of expertise to discover the niche that best suits them, and ultimately, grow their careers much faster than they might in other industries.
Technology is everywhere, even on farms and fields. Since advancements in technology are continuously evolving to improve productivity, more technology-savvy candidates are needed. If you’re interested in helping to feed the world and have an interest in technology, then agriculture is the perfect space for you to find a meaningful job that will allow you to help shape the future of the industry.
6. Join the next generation of agriculture
According to a study done in 2018 by the USDA, the average age of the workforce for all agriculture occupations lands around 40 years old. Compared to 2012 when the average age was 55.9 years old, the workforce is becoming younger every year.
This influx of young workers couldn’t have come at a better time. The industry needs younger successors to bring it into a new generation! Youthful minds with fresh ideas, insights, and problem-solving skills are welcomed with open arms at varying levels of education.
When you choose a career in agriculture, you’re joining the next generation of arguably the most essential industry on the planet.
7. Competitive Salary
In the current agriculture job market, employers are struggling to find high-quality talent. The shortage in labor has forced employers to keep their salaries competitive in order to attract the highest quality candidates and retain their top employees. This means you’ll likely discover a significant difference in salary for an agriculture job compared to that of the same job in another industry.
8. Positive Work Environment and Culture
As agriculture recruiters who have worked within the ag industry for many years, we encounter a wide variety of employees and employers, including agribusiness executives, farm managers, suppliers, and more. We can truthfully say that the people you’ll work with are down-to-earth, kind, and full of life!
Most workplaces in agriculture encourage a positive work environment and culture. You can feel confident that you’ll be working with like-minded people that share the same excitement for feeding the world and contributing to something greater.
9. Job Security
Agriculture isn’t going anywhere any time soon. And with the constant demand for qualified candidates across many areas of the industry, you can feel secure in knowing that you’ll always be able to find the next opportunity.
10. Wide Range of Job Opportunities
Everything from equipment operator and IT to Food Safety and Marketing, there is a wide range of positions in the agriculture industry. Read on to learn about many of the possible job opportunities you can seek with an agriculture degree.
There is a wide range of jobs for agricultural graduates in the industry, spanning across dozens of fields. Find your ideal career path within these agricultural jobs, perfect for agricultural graduates.
Here is a list of 40 agriculture careers:
It’s not surprising that nearly half of the openings will be in management and business. Agencies that lend to agribusinesses, such as banks and credit organizations, need appraisers, loan officers, and analysts that understand the industry. Insurance companies that work with farming operations need risk managers, and agriculture companies need accountants, sales reps, marketing managers, and more.
1. Sales and Service Representative
Agricultural sales professionals sell products related to food and crop production. Jobs can vary from selling equipment, seed, fertilizer, crop protection, and many other services. With the growth of agriculture, sales representatives are thought to be high in demand for many companies in the industry.
2. Forest Products Processing Manager
As a forest products processing manager, you’ll be responsible for overseeing a team of employees that operate forest production mills, supplies, and equipment. This job does require some technical training and a Bachelors in Forestry is required for some positions.
3. Farm Labor Specialist
Farm Labor Specialists or contractors conduct a form of agriculture recruitment for seasonal agriculture jobs. They work with ag companies to connect them with seasonal employees at certain times of the year.
4. Forest Ecosystem Manager
If you love the outdoors, have an analytical mind, and are passionate about preserving the world’s forests, a career as a forest ecosystem manager is a great path for you. This role involves studying soils, water, plants, and animals, working with cutting-edge technology, and developing sustainable practices for the preservation of woodlands and forests.
5. E-commerce Specialist
Work closely with the worldwide web helping agriculture companies find new opportunities in the digital era. This requires knowledge of sales and marketing strategies, web development skills, and other internet-savvy capabilities.
6. Financial Analyst
As a financial analyst, you’ll provide guidance to agribusinesses and individuals regarding major financial decisions and investments.
7. Agricultural Economist
Agricultural economists analyze trends, data, and patterns within the agriculture industry and individual businesses to make predictions and act as a financial advisor.
8. Agricultural Loan Officer
Help farmers acquire the funds they need to support their organization, purchase additional property, and more. As an agriculture loan officer, you can be the saving grace for struggling farmers to stay in business or expand their brand.
9. Marketing Specialist
The agriculture industry is filled with tremendous opportunities for marketing specialists! Skilled marketers are in high demand within every niche of the agriculture industry.
10. Grain Merchandiser
Grain merchandisers serve an important purpose in the marketing and selling of grain. Their role involves working as a middle man between farmers wanting to sell their grain and the end-users that want to purchase it. A position like this requires great people skills as you connect with farmers and rural workers, as well as an understanding of the market.
About 15,500 jobs will open annually in this sector. With food technology being the nation’s largest industry, food scientists are necessary to help solve problems involving food quality, safety, technology, and abundance.
11. Food Scientist
Food scientists have been in great demand for more than a decade and are expected to only grow. The job of a food scientist is to improve the quality of food products and create new ones by researching and experimenting with new combinations using food processing techniques, food sources, and raw ingredients.
The agricultural industry needs veterinarians to keep farm animals (livestock) healthy. The job involves performing medical tests in a laboratory environment for treatment and for the purpose of diagnosis. The job may also include the preparation of vaccines for the prevention of disease, and assisting a veterinarian during surgery or fertilization.
13. Biological Engineer
If you’re in search of a career that will help take care of our planet, you should pursue a career as a biological or agricultural engineer. You’ll work with technology to develop cleaner, more sustainable environments, clean water, renewable energy and preserve the quality of our planet’s ecosystems.
14. Environmental Scientist
Working as an environmental scientist involves analyzing data, discovering patterns, and assessing threats to the environment. It also entails developing strategies to prevent, control or solve environmental issues.
15. Insect Biologist
Also known as an agricultural entomologist, an insect biologist studies insects, their environments, and their behavior to advise farmers on how to protect their crops from harmful pests without eliminating the beneficial insects, like bees.
16. Plant Scientist
The role of a plant scientist is to advise food producers and crop developers about how they can improve their practices and implement new methods to enhance their production. Plant scientist positions require a degree in plant science, agricultural science, or other related studies.
17. Watershed Scientist
Watershed scientists play an important part in our communities. Their job is to treat and manage wastewater to ensure we have a clean water source.
18. Irrigation Engineer
Another essential role in the agriculture industry is that of an irrigation engineer. This job involves planning, designing, and managing the development of irrigation projects so that agricultural lands are provided with ample water supply.
19. Animal Scientist
Animal scientists are involved in researching livestock and other animals to discover better ways to breed, care for and maintain the health of farm animals.
An agronomist is a specific kind of scientist that focuses on crop production and soil management. This role works hand in hand with food producers to help them find ways to enhance and increase crop production.
Horticulture and agriculture are related fields. This job requires agricultural graduates to focus their skills and experience on growing and selling highly marketable fruits, vegetables and flowers. The job role ranges from landscape designers, nursery managers, and forest experts to florists.
About 8,500 jobs will open annually in this area. Job opportunities in fresh, locally grown food production, poultry and swine production, crop production, forest management, and precision agriculture are growing. These agribusinesses need researchers, inspectors, quality assurance, and more.
While many of the farmers and ranchers in the country have inherited their family farms, there is still plenty of opportunities for young candidates to find the right opportunity and work their way up. If you have a passion for farming, herding, harvesting, and everything in between, you’ll thrive as a farmer or rancher.
23. Poultry Production Manager
As a poultry production manager, you’ll oversee the operations of the production process, ensure all protocols are followed, hire and train new employees, and manage financial recording and processing.
24. Range Manager
Range managers work alongside ranchers to provide advice regarding land management practices and sustainable production, as well as manage rangelands by regulating grazing and planning out the most ideal grazing systems.
25. Precision Agricultural Specialist
If you’re looking for an agriculture career that involves technology, a position as a precision agricultural specialist might interest you. Your responsibility in this role would be to provide technical assistance to farmers and growers that use precision technologies in their production processes.
26. Fruit and Vegetable Grower
Growing fruits and vegetables is the heart and soul of agriculture. Work closely with nature, caring for large amounts of crops and providing food for dinner plates all across the country.
27. Forest Manager
As a forest manager, you’ll be working to preserve forests and develop ways to protect and manage these areas. This role helps to maintain the health of our forests and woodlands, which contributes to the health of the entire planet.
28. Crop Management Consultant
A crop management consultant, also known as a crop advisor, works with food producers and rural workers to help them improve their crop production. In this position, you’ll spend time building relationships with farming clients, scouting their fields for any potential issues, and advising on ways they can prevent these issues from negatively impacting their upcoming growing season.
29. Organic Crops Grower
Spend your days in the fields caring for crops and producing food, using organic growing techniques. Organic agriculture has been on the rise in recent years and is said to be part of the solution to slowing the adverse effects of climate change.
30. Swine Production Manager
Swine production managers oversee the employees, enforcing protocols, financial reporting, hiring, training, and other operations on a swine farm.
The job of an aquaculturist is to research, study and ensure the healthy production of the aquatic animals that make it to our dinner plates.
Educating our youth about agriculture is extremely important because it ensures the continued interest and development of the industry. Communication jobs are essential to provide critical information to producers and consumers of the industry.
Government agricultural agencies maintain the industry policies and legislation to ensure they remain effective and up to date. About 7,200 jobs will be open annually in this segment.
32. High School Agriscience Teacher
A passion for the agriculture industry can start during those formative high school years when the reality of going to college and choosing a career path becomes tangible. High school agriscience teachers are important contributors to the agriculture industry. Inspire the next generation of agriculture workers by becoming an agriscience educator!
33. Agricultural and Natural Resources Communications
This field offers the opportunity to agricultural graduates to work in print and broadcast journalism. The job role typically ranges from magazine and newspaper staff, press spokesperson, public relations and educator, etc.
34. Rural Development Specialist
Working as a rural development specialist requires knowledge in wastewater, water operation, and treatment. This role involves staying up to date with regulations and advising community groups on program planning, facility development, finance management, and more.
35. Plant and Animal Inspector
Protect the health of agriculture animals and plants in this role as a plant and animal inspector. You’ll be responsible for administering the Animal Welfare Act and ensuring that regulations are followed.
36. Outdoor Recreation Manager
As an outdoor recreation manager, you’ll manage and administer programs that take place in recreational settings including parks, forests, beaches, and more.
37. Agricultural Extension Educator
Agricultural extension educators or officers keep farmers, ranchers, and community groups up to date on the latest industry information. Their job involves traveling around their assigned territory and sharing details on tech advances, management practices, marketing, and other info that offers value to their agribusiness.
38. Farm Services Agent
The role of a farm services agent is to ensure that agricultural policies are being followed and administer credit or loan programs.
39. Food and Agricultural Science Editor
As a food and agricultural science editor, you’ll share the latest news, stories, and advances in the agriculture industry.
40. Natural Resources Conservation Specialist
If you’re passionate about helping the planet and being a part of the solution, working as a natural resources conservation specialist might be the job for you. In this role, you’ll study vulnerable ecosystems and habitats, create natural preservation regulations, and restore threatened animals and plant life.
Finding a career in agriculture is not difficult. The opportunities are boundless! However, with so many possible career paths, it can be hard to know where to start.
That’s why the best way to find the right agriculture career for your skillset and goals is to work with a team of experienced agriculture recruiters. At AgHires, we help ambitious job seekers like you land their dream job in the agriculture field every day.
Careers in Agriculture Are Important
We need to feed and clothe over 7 billion people in the world, and that number is growing every day, so agriculture plays an important role. It doesn’t matter what your interests are, you can find a place in the agriculture industry and every position plays an important role in taking care of each other.
AgHires can help you find your dream job within the industry. Upload your resume today and be found by our recruiters. Plus, search over 10,000 jobs daily and find your dream job. Make sure to take advantage of our resources as well, such as job alerts, career advice, and job manager.
Choose a Career at CVA
With our feet firmly rooted in the past, our eyes are locked on the future at Central Valley Ag. In fact, we are so much more than row crops and grain bins. Though that's a lot of what we do, it's not all that we do. As we adapt to an ever-changing world, we invite you to be part of something more. Join the CVA team today!