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The comprehensive guide to finding careers in agriculture

WorkHorse Hub February 12, 2019

 It’s an exciting time to be searching for a career in agriculture. The industry is growing, and an abundance of jobs are open. Innovation and new technology also have agriculture on the cutting edge as it continues to expand and grow.

Unfortunately, the abundance of career choices can create challenges for job seekers. Where do you even begin your search for an agricultural career? We created a guide to help you find a career in agriculture, using several sections: types of careers, trends, education, skills, experience, and resources.

Types of careers

Let’s start with the careers available, because your choices will have a lot of influence over the education you need, skills you gain, and experience you seek. Traditional agricultural careers, such as ranch hand and farm worker are still needed.


New careers are also developing as farming and the technology used on the farms changes. For example, drones are increasingly being used by agricultural producers, and in the future we’re going to see many farms hiring their own drone technologists to scout crops and apply fertilizers and pesticides.


The average citizen is several generations removed from the farm, and agricultural communicators are in high demand. In this career, the agricultural communicator serves as the liaison between the agricultural community and the general public, sharing the story of agriculture.


Hydrologists are another growing field in agricultural careers, as we develop new methods to protect the environment and farm sustainably. This is crucial to maintaining a clean and abundant water supply for our growing population.


Don’t overlook environmental careers, including those in forestry, wetlands, and wildlife. There are a multitude of opportunities available in forestry. Plant biologists, horticulturalists, aquaculture specialists, and soil engineers are also needed.


Trends

So, what are the top agriculture careers of the future? Here are our predictions for five that we see trending up.


  1. Indoor agriculture specialist. Greenhouses production has been a huge industry for decades, and that’s not going away. What we are seeing is that food production is moving into greenhouses, and urban areas are trying to utilize indoor spaces for agriculture.

  2. Agricultural technologist. Drones and other technology infiltrated agriculture, and are becoming commonplace. However, not everyone has the time to become proficient in all available technology. Farmers and ranchers will need agricultural technologists.

  3. Communicators. Agriculture’s story needs to be shared. We’re also seeing an increase in people wanting to know and understand where their food comes from.

  4. Farm Equipment Operators. Equipment is everywhere in agriculture, from tractors and combines, to people managing robots moving pots in greenhouses or milking cows. As technology increases, we expect to see more roles in agriculture shifting to operators.

  5. Precision Agriculture Specialists. We need to feed more people on fewer acres. Yields are going to be crucial. Connecting scientific knowledge to producers will be a key part of this position.

Education

Your education is the foundation of what will become your career. Finding a career in agriculture is competitive and your education is part of what will help you earn an interview with a prospective employer.


Some careers in agriculture require advanced education beyond high school. For example, if you want to become a food scientist, you may need a four-year degree from a college or university.


You might be wondering what type of education you need. The best way to find out is by looking through available jobs that interest you, and reviewing the minimum qualifications for the position. In some agricultural careers, experience is more of an asset than education.


Also, there are hundreds of scholarships available for those looking to pursue an education in the agriculture field, so be sure to research those!


Skills

Many people often intertwine skills and experience. However, they are separate and distinct. Let’s start with skills.


These may go back to your education. Perhaps you are a welder, or hold certifications for different classes of drivers licenses. These are skills that can be transferred to a job that requires them.


Soft skills are harder to quantify, but equally important in a career in agriculture. These are skills such as communication, working independently, flexibility, initiative, the ability to apply technical knowledge in practical applications, and analytical skills.


Experience

But you’re probably wondering how you develop all of those skills, especially the soft skills. That’s where experience comes in. With many applicants for each job, having experience in agriculture will make you a more competitive applicant.


If you didn’t grow up on a farm or ranch, finding one to work on will help you decide if an agricultural career is right for you. There are other options for gaining experience if finding a paying job is challenging.


You might try looking for an internship or apprenticeship in an agricultural field. Another great way to gain experience in agriculture is to volunteer. It might also be possible to shadow an employee in an area you’re interested in to learn more about the work involved.


Resources

Are you ready to apply for a career in agriculture? There are resources available to help you land the perfect job. Start by updating your resume. Make sure it includes the skills and experience that are relevant to your chosen agricultural career.


Next, you need to find jobs to apply for. In some cases, there may be a guide to finding work, similar to this one for ranch hands. Then, start browsing available jobs to find one in your chosen career field and preferred locations.


Don’t worry. If that sounds like a lot of work, we can help. Create a free profile on WorkHorseHub to show off your skills and work experience. We will help match you to the best ag employers out there for free.


Once you’ve found a few jobs that you’re interested in, it’s time to apply. Use your updated resume, and write a cover letter to your prospective employer. Applying for a job in agriculture is similar to any other industry, professionalism counts.


Summary

A career in agriculture is deeply rewarding. You have a positive impact every day on people, animals, and the land. Finding the right career in agriculture doesn’t need to be a daunting task.


Identify your chosen field within agriculture, and the skills and experience you will need. Update your resume, join WorkHorseHub, get noticed, and get to work.

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