What can you do in the field of agriculture?

Agriculture offers a bright future of career opportunities

What can you do in the field of agriculture?

The shaky job market is becoming one of the main concerns of post-grad students today. For the first time in decades, college students are not choosing their career fields based solely on interest, but rather on what industry sectors and occupations offer the best wages and employment opportunities. Because of this trend, it’s no wonder why agriculture is quickly becoming one of the most popular career choices for young people.

Growing job opportunities

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, agriculture and related fields account for 15 percent of the total U.S. workforce today, which equates to approximately 22 million Americans. A 2012 USDA census survey reported that agricultural products generated $394.6 billion that year — up 33 percent from 2007. America is an agriculture powerhouse with 2.1 million farms covering 915 million acres of land. Additionally, projections show that the industry is expected to expand quickly as the world population continues to grow, generating more demand for agricultural products. This means that there are, and will be, countless new job opportunities each year and — even better — jobs opportunities that pay high wages.

You might think that the field of agriculture is just made up of farmers and ranchers, but there are many more job opportunities available. There are more than 200 agriculture-related occupations related to the production, packaging, processing, support and distribution of agriculture products.

Here a few of those careers and the jobs you can take within the field:

Agricultural Communications
Careers: Media, marketing, public relations, advertising and sales
Average yearly salary (for marketing managers, according to BLS.gov): $115,750

Agricultural Economics
Careers: land appraiser, economist, policy analyst, insurance, food distribution
Average yearly salary (for economists, according to BLS.gov): $91,860

Agricultural Engineering
Careers: structural engineer, irrigation engineer, sanitary/waste handling, food engineer, bioprocessing engineer, machine design engineer
Average yearly salary (for agricultural engineers, according to BLS.gov): $74,000

Plant Sciences
Careers: crop specialist, soil scientist, plant breeder, plant geneticist, soil surveyor
Average yearly salary (for soil and plant scientists, according to BLS.gov): $63,290

Animal Sciences
Careers: veterinarian, livestock production manager, feed sales/management, livestock procurement, animal scientist and animal geneticist
Average yearly salary (for animal scientists according to BLS.gov): $73,400

Food Sciences
Careers: research and development, quality assurance, chemist, microbiologist and researcher
Average yearly salary (for food scientists according to BLS.gov): $58,610

Careers: commodity trader, production specialist, purchasing, finance, farm management, quality control and buyer
Average yearly salary (for farm managers according to BLS.gov): $69,300

Agricultural Development and Management
Careers: environmental analyst and planner water resource specialist, and economic development specialist
Average yearly salary (for environmental scientists according to BLS.gov): $63,570 

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