Today, agricultural education is training and developing the next generation of scientists, engineers, teachers and advocates to efficiently provide enough food and resources to support a growing population. Agricultural education also creates a foundation to develop more educated consumers and producers by offering students learning experiences to better understand where food and resources come from and the importance of agriculture.
The career opportunities are endless within the agricultural industry as the demand for professionals in every agricultural area is currently high. The agricultural industry offers a wide variety of career opportunities focusing on nine areas, including agribusiness systems; agricultural education; animal systems; biotechnology; environmental services; food products and processing; natural resources; plant systems; and power and structural technical systems.
Top 5 Less-Known Careers in Agriculture
Having a career as a farmer, veterinarian or extension agent are well-known jobs within the study of agricultural sciences. However, agriculture expands far beyond raising livestock and harvesting crops and into the business sector, biotechnology, policy and law spaces among many more. Below are five less-known careers in agriculture for educators to explore with their students in their agricultural classes to better understand the vast scope of career opportunities within agriculture.
Agriculture as an industry is heavily regulated thus creating the need for lawyers who specialize in laws pertaining to agriculture. Agricultural lawyers work with water, environmental, labor, marketing, land use, pesticide use and other common issues that arise within the industry. They also work alongside agricultural entities to obtain licenses and permits needed in order to operate their business legally.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the demand for lawyers is expected to have 460,000 job openings by 2030, including lawyers specializing in agriculture. Today’s agricultural lawyers may work independently or for an organization or firm virtually anywhere as all regions have their own unique agricultural needs and issues. Agricultural lawyers are an important resource for those in the agricultural industry as they provide useful legal advice and support to ensure success for producers.
Agriculture is constantly evolving encouraging many sectors to work individually as well as collectively to produce enough food and resources to support national and global needs. As a result of the constant changes and developments within the agricultural industry, the need for communicators to disseminate information continues to grow ensuring both producers and consumers are informed. Agricultural journalists have an important job in the industry as they report stories and newsworthy information relevant to both producers and consumers. Alongside reporting stories, they also plan and produce web and print articles reporting current trends in agriculture by researching and verifying data.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 21,000 openings for agricultural journalists are projected by 2030. Individuals interested in pursuing agricultural journalism as a career could find themselves working in a multitude of settings including trade publications, newspapers or any organization who has an agricultural communications department.
Topics agriculture journalists may cover include agriculture news, agriculture market; disease or foodborne pathogen outbreaks; fairs and expos; new technologies, chemistry or farming practices; weather; labor; governmental regulations; training; and further education opportunities. They may also use digital media to share stories, build online traffic and distribute content more effectively.
Environmental Compliance Officer
To ensure proper management and stewardship of the relationship between agriculture and the environment, the need for environmental professionals is on the rise to ensure effective use of land and its resources. Environmental compliance officers enforce and implement environmental laws regarding water, oil, gas, energy and other environmental sectors. They perform environmental compliance audits and implement follow-up corrective actions to ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations that protect local environments.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that approximately 21,000 openings for environmental compliance officers are projected by 2030. Today, environmental compliance officers are employed by research firms, food animal production companies, governmental organizations, schools/universities and environmental agencies.
The food and fiber system is one of the largest sectors in the U.S. economy as it provides food, clothing and other essential products for both national and international consumers. As production agriculture has developed over time the need for individuals who specialize in livestock nutrition has also grown to meet the need to better care for livestock and produce better products. Livestock nutritionists research and advise on raw material product selection, maintenance feeding programs and modification of diets to meet certain desired outcomes within the animal production sector.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 12,000 openings for livestock nutritionists are projected by 2030. Furthermore, this number is expected to continue to rise to meet the demand for more holistic animal care and higher product quality and yield increases across the industry.
For individuals interested in pursuing livestock nutrition as a career, they might find themselves working in a variety of settings, including working for a cooperative, veterinarian, feed company or independently.
Landscape architects plan, propose and oversee the development and management of landscapes such as gardens, lawns, parks, campuses and public spaces. Landscape architects design attractive and functional public parks, gardens, playgrounds, residential areas, college campuses and public spaces. They also plan the locations of buildings, roads, walkways, flowers, shrubs and trees.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics approximately 21,000 openings for landscape architects are projected by 2030.Today, landscape architects are employed by greenhouses, nurseries, individual homeowners, large and small companies, government agencies, golf courses, athletic venues and universities.
Today's agricultural professionals work in a multitude of settings, sectors and roles making agricultural education valuable to today’s students. Agricultural education courses allow students to develop industry knowledge, professional and personal skills and gain a better perspective of possible careers in agriculture and of how the agricultural industry operates.