There are over 157 million people with jobs in the United States and 21.5 million of those people have jobs in the agriculture industry*. And did you know that those jobs contribute over $1 trillion to the U.S. GDP?
When you look at it on a global scale, ag jobs equate to 28% of people employed in the entire world – that is around 1 billion people! Whether you work within these industries or not, you can see the impact ag jobs have on the United States and the rest of the world.
Ag jobs in the United States are far more than just farming and ranching – these jobs employ people across the country raising crops and livestock, selling fertilizer, marketing cattle, and putting the stories of those who do choose these careers in front of the eyes of the rest of the public. The impact these jobs have is more than just feeding and clothing us, these jobs and industries are truly the backbone of this country.
Below are examples of the different sectors of ag jobs in the United States and careers within those sectors. Be sure to keep an eye out and see if our Career Spotlight Series features one of the vocations below!
From producing crops to managing a grain elevator – opportunities in the farming industry are endless. According to the USDA, there are 2.6 million on-the-farm jobs in the United States**. Depending on your chosen career path in the farming industry can depend on your education requirements. If you are looking for a position in the farming industry, check out our Careers in Farming blog post for all the details on a few vocations in the industry!
Careers that fall under the Agribusiness umbrella include (but are not limited to) insurance sales agents or brokers, accountants, loan officers, commodity traders, or varying ag company sales representatives. Not all positions in the agribusiness sector require formal education, but many prefer it. Depending on your school of choice, Agribusiness can even be a degree path!
The dairy industry contributes 3.3 million jobs to the United States economy^. Careers within the dairy industry are vast! Whether you want to work directly on the dairy, or lobby on behalf of the dairy industry, there are jobs available for you. 3.3 million of them to be exact!
In the United States, there are 898,530 people employed in the beef cattle industry^*. According to the American Sheep Industry Association, there are 100,000 sheep producers across the country. Opportunities within these industries can be raising and producing livestock, packing and processing, sales, animal bi-products, sales, marketing, and so much more!
Pork & Poultry
The pork and poultry industries are two industries that have grown in the last two years. The pork industry employs 550,000 people in the U.S. according to the Pork Checkoff. Coming from the National Turkey Federation the poultry industry has grown its economic impact by 15% in the last two years, now employing over 2 million people in the United States. If these two industries continue on their growth path, jobs will be too!
Western Lifestyle, Sports, & Events
Whether you’re interested in putting on an event like the National Finals Rodeo, have an eye for designing western apparel and goods, or have your sights set on working as an arena-side reporter, the western lifestyle industry holds countless jobs in the United States. Overall, the western industry is wide-reaching and includes sectors of the industry such as western heritage (museums), western apparel production, western home decor production, western sports (production, stock contractors, specialty acts), and event production. Western media, such as publications, television stations, and online news platforms also play a large and very important role in the industry.
The equine industry is very diverse and provides the United States with 988,394 jobs**^. When we say diverse, we really mean diverse. You can work in/with ranch horses, western riding horses, race horses, therapy horses, and more. Like all the different sectors mentioned above, opportunities are wide and varying!
If you are ready to find your next dream career in one of these ag + western sectors, we can help. Of The West is the leading job platform, encompassing all jobs in the agriculture and western industries. Head to Of The West and create your Job Seeker profile today, and find your next dream opportunity!
**In a 2020 study the USDA found that 2.6 million jobs were direct on-the-farm jobs.
^The International Dairy Foods Association stated in a press release that was released in 2021 that the dairy industry supports 3.3 million jobs in the United States.
^*According to IBIS World data that was last updated in March 2022 says that there are 898,530 beef cattle production employees in the United States.
**^The American Horse Council has said the equine industry has a direct employment impact of 988,394 jobs as of 2017.