Whether you're already working in agriculture or you are thinking of a change in career, there are certain skills and personality traits you'll need to succeed in an agricultural career. Even those that have worked in the sector for a while are likely to be constantly learning while at work. Careers in agriculture require workers to have a vast field of knowledge, combined with a number of personality traits and skills. You don't necessarily need to possess these skills or traits to start a career in agriculture, but if you seek a fulfilling and long-lasting career, you should strive to improve as you progress.
Good communitive skills
Communication is an important part of agriculture. You are likely to interact with others on a regular basis, particularly other farmers or clients. This is especially true if you choose to work in supply chain management, where your communication and negotiation skills will really be tested. For those working in supply chain management, you'll need to be comfortable interacting with farmers and meeting their needs, while also hitting business targets. You may also need to have the ability to sell products to manufacturers, processors, or distributors in your agricultural career.
Interest in technology and engineering
A lot of agricultural jobs rely heavily on technology and engineering. Although you may be clueless when it comes to technology and machines, an open mind and an interest in this side of agriculture are essential. It is likely that you will be required during the duration of your career to either operate machinery or make use of computerised systems as part of your role. The ability to pick up new skills quickly can come in handy, but the openness to learn is more important. You will obviously have an advantage if you have worked in positions in the past that have required you to use machinery or another technology, but even those with experience have to learn from scratch from time to time.
Organisational and time management skills
Time management is a key part of agriculture, especially when you are working with perishable goods, you are always on a time limit. If you have previously had issues with managing your time, procrastination or poor organisation, then you'll need to work on this. Farming is also a seasonal business, so time will always be against you. Depending on your career path, you may be responsible for organising the transportation of goods, you may also be required to organise logistically. Fortunately, schooling and further education can prepare you for this somewhat, but if it's something that you struggle with, it is definitely worth trying to improve.
The ability to adapt to your surroundings
In agriculture, you will often need to possess a degree of adaptability. With so many different obstacles to navigate, working in farming and agriculture will mean that you will have to adapt to each role, project, or challenge as you face it. For instance, you may need to change the way that you work in order to meet demands. Furthermore, it is likely that anything you learn in your agricultural career will change over time, or come with additional challenges as the industry advances. This means that you must be comfortable adapting as your role requires. The openness to take on new training and feel comfortable in unknown environments is essential. You may have to step out of your comfort zone from time to time and farming will really test your strength of character.
The ability to think critically
Often in an agricultural career, you will face times where you will need to be able to think critically. This essentially means being able to challenge the standard way of doing things if the need arises. For example, as farming is reliant on weather conditions, you may need to think outside of the box and formulate a plan to overcome unpredictable issues. By being able to think critically and not just adhere to standard practices, you are more likely to thrive in an agricultural career. If you are able to present new ideas to the table, you may even be able to increase efficiency and productivity in your sector.
A strong body and mind
Although not every person working in agriculture is in the best shape, it really does help. Being aware of your physical and mental health and taking steps to improve these are likely to help you in your career. If you are responsible for the cultivation of crops, you are likely to encounter some heavy lifting. Farming is a very physically demanding job that can also take its toll on your mental health. A strong body and mind will help you to succeed, knowing how to deal with stressful periods and being able to deal with the physical strain on your body is important.
The ability to effectively interpret information
Many people are unaware of how much different information those working in the agricultural industry are required to process. You are likely to have to use mathematical skills on a daily basis, this doesn't mean you have to be a genius, just that you are able to interpret information effectively and analyse data as required. You may also come across jargon that you are unfamiliar with, nobody expects you to know everything straight away but having the ability to know where to find information when needed and using your initiative can help you. You should be able to apply both practical and theoretical knowledge to situations as required and know where to source information if you are unsure.
With so many regulations around farming and agriculture, you are often required to keep records. Administration can be a huge part of your role and therefore it is paramount that you are able to produce accurate and legible records where necessary. Keeping good records can also benefit you in your career as you may need to refer to them on a regular basis to effectively perform in your role. Although record-keeping can be arduous, it is incredibly important.
Agricultural Recruitment Specialists are worldwide recruitment experts in agricultural, food, farming and rural recruitment and have a variety of executive and management positions available within agriculture, horticulture and the food and rural sectors throughout the UK and the rest of the world. To find out more about our agricultural job vacancies and discuss your future career, contact our team of agricultural recruitment professionals. You can visit our website here: www.agriRS.co.uk or call our team on: 01905 345 155 or email us at: info@agriRS.co.uk
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