What Is the Employment Outlook for the Agricultural Industry?


Key Takeaways:

  • Agricultural industry diversification offers jobs in sales, marketing, and management, with nearly half requiring a bachelor’s degree.
  • Agriculture’s global shift demands technology-rich methods and conservation, creating roles in research, development, and multinational policy coordination.
  • Employment opportunities in agriculture are increasing, with significant job growth noted from 2009 to 2010, especially in agronomy and biotechnology.

If you are a young person considering agriculture as your profession, you may wonder about the Employment Outlook for the Agricultural Industry. Ag is big business because of many changes in agriculture and that means there are many diverse career opportunities available. People who talk about the changing agriculture industry refer to much more than the family farm.

How is Agriculture Changing?

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, one of the major changes is that agriculture is global. Countries import and export much of the food they use. In addition, though agriculture worldwide produces enough food to feed everyone, 805 million people still do not have enough food on a regular basis. The organization points to practices in all countries that degrade the soil and reduce biodiversity.

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Climate changes impact agriculture, too. The local farmer must deal with the exploding costs of equipment and supplies that demand he plant more acreage in order just to break even. Today’s farmers must know marketing, environmental laws, diesel mechanics, be an electrician and an accountant among other skills. It is no wonder that in the past ten years the number of farmers under age 25 has declined by 50 percent. Corporations are buying out small farms and employing corporate practices in food production.

How is Agriculture Responding to the Changes?

Owners of small farms are becoming conservationists to preserve the integrity of their croplands. They are also getting educated. There is an uptick in the number of college students majoring in agriculture-related disciplines. On a corporate level, agriculture is becoming a sophisticated industry with concepts like “Smart Ag” that focus on adjusting farming practices to make them more adaptive and “resilient to stresses on the environment.”

What are the Career Opportunities in Agriculture?

Today’s agriculture is big business. Twenty percent of American jobs have ties to agriculture. According to the website Ag Web, the number of jobs in the Ag field increased 23 percent from 2009 to 2010. This includes jobs in related fields like sales and marketing, management, custom applicators, production and general labor. Of these jobs, nearly half require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.

Global agriculture impact necessitates professions in research and development as well as public health components of food production. There is a need for people who understand cultural differences and who can coordinate multi-national policies. The majority of positions in the US are in the Midwest. Online job-seekers are flocking to positions in agronomy, biotechnology, equipment and machinery and other such careers. In that period from 2009 to 2010, the total job views were 7.5 million, an increase of 11.7 percent.

Agriculture is changing as it goes global and attempts to feed the more than 7.3 billion people that live on this planet. That change means shifting to more technology-rich farming methods and being conscious of conservation in biologically unstable areas. Those alterations require professionals with skill sets that match the challenges. Ag jobs range from production laborers to upper-level corporation managers. The Employment Outlook for the Agricultural Industry is bright.