In the United States, there are just over two million farms according to this survey done by the USDA. That creates an immense amount of opportunity to work in the farming industry. Whether it is a direct on-the-farm position or a job with a corporation you’re looking for, there are a ton of great farming industry jobs. We have broken down seven different careers in farming, to help you start planning your future!
A farmer might be the most natural assumption when it comes to careers in farming. A farmer’s main responsibility is to grow crops in a way they are able to use the land for generations. Depending on the time of year depends on the task they are performing. These tasks will be anything around planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and maintaining all farming equipment. Farming does not require formal education. To be a farmer you must possess knowledge about farmland, soil, plant health, plant growth, and mechanics and operations.
Working in seed sales will require someone to have knowledge of agronomics and the farming process. Seed salespeople must be able to create, grow, and foster customer relationships. As a seed salesperson, one must be able to provide a level of knowledge around their product to the customer that the customer can trust.
Grain Elevator Manager
A grain elevator manager oversees all activity associated with the grain elevator. This includes, but is not limited to, purchasing grain from farmers, managing storage of the elevator, and shipment and transportation of their grain to other facilities. To be successful in this position one must possess knowledge of farming, weighing and grading grain, and grain logistics and marketing. A grain elevator manager does not have to have a formal education but oftentimes it is preferred.
Crop consultants are often looked at as partners of the farmers. They help farmers make critical decisions about their fields and crops. Crop consultants give advice and recommendations around what to plant in what fields, assess damage from pests, and help decide what pesticide to distribute. Crop consultants usually require formal education. Degrees one can pursue to become a crop consultant are agronomy, plant and soil science, agribusiness, and other related fields of study. Crop consultants can be employed by farmer cooperatives, independent companies, or consulting firms.
A grain marketer, in layman’s terms, is someone who purchases and sells grain as a commodity. They are responsible for purchasing physical grain from a farmer or grain elevator and selling it to a processor or exporter. The job of a grain marketer is more complex than the description we just gave and requires formal education in agribusiness or other related fields. Grain marketers must also have knowledge of the logistics and transportation of grain.
A custom applicator is someone who is responsible for mixing, loading, and applying fertilizers and pesticides on crops. A custom applicator must have knowledge of the different types of pesticides and fertilizers as well as knowledge about different crops and the effects the chemicals will have on them. An applicator must know how to operate and maintain heavy machinery. No formal education is required to be a custom applicator. You must obtain a custom applicator certificate and attend any additional trainings to keep the certificate up to date. A custom applicator may be employed by a farmer’s cooperative, or chemical company, or own their own business.
An agronomist is someone who helps farmers/growers find ways to maximize crop production and increase crop quality. Agronomists will scout farmers’ fields, take soil samples, and inspect any pest diseases that might appear. They will then give recommendations to the grower/farmer on the next steps to produce the highest yields possible. They can also assist in land and water conservation efforts in relation to farming practices. To become an agronomist you must obtain a formal education with a degree in agronomy, plant and soil science, or another related field.
We know deciding what you want to do with your future can be stressful, but we hope this post was able to give you insight into a few different careers in farming. If you are ready to start the job hunt or still figuring things out, positions like the ones above, and so many more, can always be found on Of The West!
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