How to Start a Career in Agriculture
There is this joy that accompanies self-sufficiency, creating a kind of system that supports your financial growth and also works in an environment-friendly field. That, and more, is what agriculture can afford you. One of the most satisfying careers in agriculture – you are not just working for job satisfaction, you are providing food for others as well.
The world economy cannot stand without the impact of agriculture. Agriculture is the biggest contribution to any country’s economy. The economy of a country cannot stand without producing enough food to export to other countries. Take for instance; Thailand is the largest supplier of rice in the world. India, Australia, and so on are also countries whose sustenance and survival are agro-based. Australian farmers provide about 93% of Australian food. This means that they only buy just 7% of food from foreign countries. What a country worth emulating!
Since the world came into existence, agriculture has been the only means of producing food for man and animal consumption. The history of civilization cannot be told without agriculture. With development and civilization taking giant leaps, one does not need to be told that the agricultural sector needs to follow the trend. Sadly enough, a few people are just thinking about that sector. Even at that, the focus is shifting back to agriculture.
The following are very relevant know-how in starting a career in agriculture.
How to Start a Career in Agriculture
- Learn the crop choice
It is not just enough to have a piece of land and crops to plant, if you do not know or understand the right crop to focus on, you may be heading down the hill of frustration. Knowing the right crop to plant will also limit the harm to the soil. Furthermore, you need to understand that there are different types of farming. To help you in your career choice, it is paramount to understand what you are going into. There is three major focus in agriculture and they include:
- Dairy farming: this includes livestock farming and animal husbandry.
- Pastoral farming: this is the planting of sole crops of different kinds.
- Mixed farming: This involves the rearing of animals and the planting of crops.
Armed with this mentality, you can decide on which type of farming to go into. You could practise mixed farming as a starter and when you gain the experience, you could choose what best suits your business ideology.
- Understand what it takes to be involved in agriculture
You need to acquire the theoretical knowledge of agriculture and its application. It is a prerequisite to every other factor involved in choosing agriculture as a career. Agriculture involves much manual labor and you have to go dirty. Planting of crops, rearing of animals, taking care of your machinery, harvesting of your agricultural products, all involve physical labor. Your health is also on the go; do not hesitate to take care of it. What about your animals and crops? You need the ability to withstand all kinds of weather because there are times the farm produce may not yield a bountiful harvest. Agriculture is an outdoor activity: the sun, the rain, the wind, and all weather conditions must be put into consideration while getting down to work the farmer’s way.
- Take some agricultural courses.
One the most excellent ways to speed up your learning capability and understand everything about agriculture is to just pick up a course and learn all the way. It might look awkward standing on a farm with your laptop instead of a piece of paper, taking some inventories. But that is part of the real deal. There is plenty to learn about farming and adding a laptop and learning online could make it easier for you. Just ensure you get to upgrade your knowledge. Learn both the technical and business side of agriculture. This is a better way to understand that agriculture is not a suffering and smiling venture.
A certificate in agriculture will earn you a lot of things, especially as someone who is yet to find his feet in the industry. You will understand everything about the job, learn about safety measures as well as broad skills to excel as a farmer. You will also learn how to repair agricultural equipment, how to observe the weather and take advantage of favorable weather conditions, identify livestock and crop diseases, take proper inventory, operate the irrigation system,s and more.
- Gain experience
Nothing beats a real-life experience! With experience comes a lot of benefits. You will understand the administrative and business side of agriculture, how to handle clients, monitoring budgets, take financial records, comply with numerous regulations guiding agriculture, in addition to what you are already dealing with.
Do you want to be set apart? You need a positive attitude and the ability to accept change. As an experienced farmer, you will need to wear many hats due to various roles and obligations that come with the job. You are always on call, monitoring your farm as well as your home. You will have to deal with any problem as it arises. An experienced farmer could be self-employed, remember? Therefore, the task is going to be an interesting one. Get your loins girded as you cruise the ride.
Why Start a Career in Agriculture?
There is always a reason for every action. Choosing a career in agriculture is one of the best decisions one could take. There are more than enough reasons one should consider making agriculture a career choice. Some of them are listed below:
- Agriculture is necessary for future development: Think of poverty reduction and availability of food, think of agriculture. The world is counting on agriculturists to make foods available and improve the livelihood of the people, especially the less privileged.
- The agricultural industry is the fastest-growing: Over the years, so many young people are pursuing a degree in agriculture. This has translated into high employment rates, thereby reducing the problem of food scarcity.
- You will have endless possibilities: Before, people who venture into agriculture were seen as mere farmers. But it is not so now. There are possibilities of working in any sector, including food processing companies, logistics, manufacturing, trading, product management, and so on.
- The employment rate is significant: The majority of agricultural fresh graduates do not find it difficult in securing a job. The agricultural sector enables its employees to rise faster as long as they have basic qualifications in agriculture.
- There are great salary prospects: As an agricultural graduate, you are certain to be placed on a good salary scale. The salary of workers in the agricultural sector is said to be above the national average. You might be lucky to earn as high as 50,000 pounds in a year.
Skills Needed for a Career in Agriculture
As with every other career, there are required skillset by everyone venturing into agriculture. Some of them are listed below.
- Physical Fitness: You will need physical fitness skills in agriculture. The career involves a lot of manual and physical labor and so, being in good shape is not an option, it is a must.
- Teamwork: Teamwork is another skill you need to inculcate. You are not going to work alone; you need people to excel. Therefore, your relationship with others matters a lot. You must be willing to form a synergy with other agriculturists or co-workers in order to fly in your career. Delegation of tasks according to each one’s ability is very essential. Your team members also need loads of motivation from you. People management and interpersonal skills must be put into play under teamwork. If you lack them, ensure you build them up.
- Communication skills: Communication skills are also necessary because, without effective communication, you may not be able to pass quality information or instruction to your staff. You must also use your knowledge and skills to teach and guide your team members.
- You will need so many practical skills: Skills like the knowledge of mechanics (this will help you to operate and repair the equipment when necessary), computer literacy (for administrative tasks), business management skills, and so on. If you are short of these skills, ensure you acquire them and the time to do so is now.
The skills may not always be acquired on the farm. There are other areas of practicality where you can gain skills. For example, those that studied animal science could use their skills to work as livestock farmers. Those with business management certificates may not find it difficult overseeing the business aspect of the career. Taking some courses to acquire these skis is not also a bad idea.
How to Become an Agriculturist
To become an agriculturist, you will need a bachelor’s degree in agriculture or any agriculture-related course for a start. Afterward, you can proceed to study in any area of specialization. This area of specialization could be obtained through experience or a master’s degree. A degree in agriculture affords you the basic knowledge and skills needed to work as an agriculturist. Some courses in agriculture include:
- Agricultural Chemistry
- Agricultural Extension
- Plant Breeding
- Agriculture Genetics
- Weed Sciences
- Soil Science, and so on.
Careers in Agriculture
There are ranges of careers you can choose from in agriculture. Some of them are outlined below:
- Farm worker: Working on the farm may seem very much easy, but there is more to what the eyes can see. You need to cope and adapt to physical work. The work could range from the operation of machinery used for cultivating the field, drilling of crops, application of chemicals, and also harvesting of agricultural products. You may also be required to feed the animals, take care of the sick ones or babies, as well as milking dairy cows and goats.
- Farm manager: A farm manager needs to have strong management, practical, and business skills. This is so because your skills would come in handy whenever you need to organize and manage all the agricultural activities, including the personnel. Financial planning, budgeting, strategic planning, are also required.
- Agronomist: An agronomist ensures the proper growth of the crops. They see to it that weeds and pests do not destroy the crops. They could also be called ‘crop doctors’. They are required to walk through the fields every day to make sure that early symptoms of potential problems are handled.
- Feed nutritionists: This set of workers are in charge of what to feed the animals with. They ensure that farmers comply with the daily nutritional requirements for the animals. While doing so, profits should be the ultimate goal.
There are other careers like agricultural sales, farm consultants, and so on, all with their varieties of duties to perform.
Starting a career in agriculture some laid down plans to help your journey through the career path. Think through it before settling on the field that best suits your personality. While doing so, know that maximization of profit is the ultimate goal.