Agriculture is defined as the production of raw crops or animal produce from a farm. Agriculture can be practiced on a small or large scale but it is this large scale production which has brought about diversity in careers in agriculture. These careers can be groped into production, research and management. Below is a list of careers in agriculture:
Crop Production – This is a specialty in the cultivation of food products such as corn, wheat, beans etc. In this field one can do with basic education or even apprenticeship by observing cultivation patterns in an area; understanding the rainy seasons and the dry spell cycles. The growth prospects and income generated depends on the size of the farm, the crops cultivated and farming techniques used. Therefore to rip the most in terms of income, an informed view on fertilizers and farm machinery is a plus.
Animal Production – This is the production of animal products such as meat from slaughter animals and their by-products like ghee, butter, eggs, honey etc. This, like crop production, can also be beneficial with a farmer’s basic knowledge and apprenticeship. It is however most beneficial when modern farming methods are applied such as breeding hybrid animals, use of vaccines and application of modern feeding methods.
Agricultural Research – This is the scientific study of ways to ensure maximum yields on farms whilst ensuring sustainability of the natural environment. An agricultural research scientist will require formal education up to a Bachelors’ or Masters’ degree in this field. As intense as is the education level, the income from this is directly proportional.
Agricultural Inspector – This is a regulatory role whereby one ensures the practices undertaken by farmers are as stipulated in the state policies. It may also involve some lab work when analyzing samples collected during field work. Therefore, knowledge of both crop and animal production and biotechnology is essential. Being a supervisory role, the income from this job is average.
Farm Manager – This is one of the few white collar careers in agriculture especially for an individual who does not apply a hands-on management style. It entails overseeing of the entire farm’s activities, and identifying the most profitable venture to undertake. A Bachelors’ in Business Administration or a Masters’ degree in Agribusiness is ideal for this kind of job. The remuneration is directly proportional to the output of the farm in terms of profits realized.
Agricultural Engineer – This is a technical job and involves the repair and maintenance of farm equipment and machines. A Bachelors’ in Mechanical Engineering would suite this position. The income is also considerably high.
Horticulturalist – Horticulture is the farming of fruits, vegetables and flowers. It can be learnt over time through apprenticeship but since the crops cultivated are considered delicate, formal education in agricultural practices is an advantage. It requires knowledge of fertilizers, soils, hybrid seed varieties and use of green houses. The income is above average especially because majority of the crops are grown for export.
Veterinarian – Veterinary is the science of animal health. He/she is referred to as the doctor of animals and thus should have formal knowledge on animal body processes and functions. A Bachelors’ of Medicine in Animal Health is ideal for this career and the job is well paying too.
Food Science – A food scientist is charged with the role of ensuring food products are safe for human consumption and also devising improved varieties of farm produce. A Bachelors’ of Food Science and Nutrition is required in this career. The long hours of lab work are also well compensated in terms of income earned.
Farm Laborer – Just like a large organization would require staff, so will any farm engaged in large scale production need farm laborers/ farm workers/ farm hands for manual tasks and also to operate machines. This is the lowest cadre job in the list of careers in agriculture and thus has the lowest income. Another disadvantage is that it is quite seasonal, especially on a farm fully dependent on seasons unlike in a green house farm setting.
As you can see in the above list of careers in agriculture, you can see that they range from science-based, blue collar and that they require deep knowledge of agricultural practices in all aspects. Some of the sub-branches, especially for farmers practicing production on the farm, can be merged where one has a large piece of land e.g. crop and animal production can be practiced on the same piece of land to diversify and increase income.