We know that agriculture is an exciting field with a growing number of opportunities. A challenge is that we need to feed 9 billion people by 2050. Talented people in a variety of ag careers are essential to meet this need.
Working in ag is for folks who desire a rural lifestyle, seek adventure, and want to work hard.
The question is; are we sharing those opportunities with young people who are the future of the ag industry? Many recent graduates are unaware of the opportunities available, or those in allied industries such as processing.
The labor shortage is a concern for farmers. While some ag careers can be seasonal, many are year-round with challenges to tackle and innovative technology in the toolbox.
Intro to careers in agriculture
Ag careers are at the forefront of technology and innovation as we grow the industry to feed the population using fewer resources. One of the biggest challenges facing the ag industry is a lack of qualified professionals to fill all of the open careers.
There are currently more jobs than qualified applicants for ag careers. Careers in agriculture have several advantages that traditional jobs don’t. While you and I are familiar with those, we need to share them with others who might be interested in an agricultural career.
Benefits of ag careers include working outside in beautiful locations, various career choices, and the long-term prospects of growing as a professional. One of the big reasons that many people are attracted to ag careers is that we make a positive difference every day by helping to feed the world and protect the environment.
Another challenge facing the agriculture industry is that the average age of farmers in the United States is 58-years old. In Canada, the average age of farmers is 55-years old. Our industry needs a new generation of employees, along with their knowledge, energy, and enthusiasm.
Different types of agricultural jobs
Ag careers are as diverse as the people in the industry. In fact, there are over 250 different careers in agriculture. While some of these jobs don’t require a college degree, for others, potential employees must have a degree to be a competitive applicant. Experience in agriculture also helps land a job in many fields.
Major categories of ag jobs include agricultural mechanics, animal science, business, environment, food science, natural resources, and plant science. Looking ahead, it’s expected that we will need professionals in many fields. These include:
- Drone technologists,
- Working as hydrologists to protect our water systems,
- Sales associates,
- Farm equipment operators,
- Food scientists, and
- Precision agriculture technologists who help maximize crop production yields.
In an industry with as many technological advances as agriculture, that percentage will keep growing. Ag careers will shift with the technology, creating an ongoing learning environment and challenges that keep employees active and engaged with their career.
As with any industry, the salaries for ag careers vary depending on the job, the skills of the employee, location, and the employer. Those with previous experience in agriculture tend to start at a higher salary than entry-level jobs.
Ranch hands may expect to earn between $11 and $17 per hour, or up to $33,150 per year. On the other end of the spectrum, an operations manager may be earning close to $70,000 per year, and a financial controller in agriculture could be earning in the range of $80,000.
The highest paid jobs in agriculture are those that are highly specialized, or in a leadership role. Agricultural executives, lawyers, engineers, scientists, and sales managers have salaries ranging from $80,000 to over $200,000.
Is ag work right for me?
Do you love a challenge? Are you looking to combine sustainability with technological innovation? There are a lot of different reasons to work in agriculture, and each of us has a different reason why we are in the industry.
Jake studied mechanics in high school, and was hired by a large farm as an ag mechanic after graduation. He worked hard with his team, keeping the combines, tractors, trucks, and other equipment operating in top capacity.
During harvest season, one of the farm equipment operators had a family emergency and called out. Jake had been working on the farm for a couple of years, and was asked to fill in. He enjoyed operating the equipment and working with his team to harvest the best possible crops.
After working as an equipment operator for a few years, Jake had the opportunity to become the operations manager for another farm. Today, he oversees thousands of acres of crops, and the employees responsible for the crops. His entry-level job has become an ag career, and helped him grow as an individual while making a positive impact.
Jake didn’t know that an ag career was right for him when he finished school. But he took a chance on a job that sounded interesting, and built it into a career. He finds value in his current position as he’s protecting the environment through sustainable production practices, helping support his employees, and contributing to the challenge of feeding the world.
Ag career summary
Careers come and go, but we all need to eat. Ag careers are one of the oldest jobs around, and will continue to be a thriving industry with a growing number of career options. Feeding 9 billion people while protecting our natural resources is a challenge that will require technology, innovation, and passionate employees.
There is something in agriculture for everyone. You can work outside. You can work with animals. You can work with equipment or technology. Pick your interest, and agriculture has a career.
The average person will hold between 12 and 15 jobs in their lifetime. Why not try a job in agriculture?
Workhorse Hub could be a good way to test out a few jobs, or even find a new one if needed. You can create a free profile in five easy steps, be matched to jobs in your interest area, and work hard while enjoying life on the farm.
Ready to start your career in agriculture? Sign up and create your profile on WorkHorse now!