With a background in science and engineering, you can find a number of agriculture-related jobs ranging from farming and bio-engineering to marketing, sales and research. At the same time, a love of the outdoors and a passion for the environment and community food sources are important attributes that will help you succeed in a career in agriculture.
If you enjoy riding a tractor and spending your days outside working directly in the fields, a job as a production manager may suit you well. As a production manager, you might oversee the planting, fertilization and harvesting of crops or supervise a team of livestock handlers. The production manager often decides what crops to plant, orders machinery and keeps the financial accounts. A degree in farm management or agricultural economics may help you land a position, though it’s not always required if you have experience. In 2010, agricultural managers earned an annual median salary of $60,750, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Agricultural engineering is ideal if you prefer to spend part of your time in a laboratory or office and part of the time outdoors. You can choose between working with aquatic life, designing habitats to raise fish, developing new biofuels to use in farming or creating animal food processing facilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for agricultural engineers will be less than for other occupations, however, at least through 2020. With a bachelor’s degree in biological or agricultural engineering, you could earn about $71,090, the median pay for agricultural engineers in 2010.
Corporate Business Manager
Like most other industries, profit is an important aspect of the agricultural business. As a corporate business manager, you might negotiate contracts with farmers for a large food supplier or assist farmers in finding sufficient funding to continue operations that provide your company with their products. In 2010, general corporate business managers earned a median salary of $94,400, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the agricultural industry, most business managers have a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. To move up in a corporate environment, you need years of experience coupled with an MBA or other advanced degree.
The primary responsibility of agriculture and food scientists is to ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply. Research universities, private industry and the federal government employ agricultural scientists to test food products, farming techniques and animals raised for consumption. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most agricultural scientists have a doctorate or are veterinarians. The median salary in 2010 for scientists in the industry was $58,450.
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