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The scientific side of agriculture: 4 different career paths to consider

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Science is a part of just about any career we choose. From the products we purchase to the food we eat, just about every part of our daily life started in some research & development lab to make it better, hardier or more effective. So, when it comes to agriculture, that connection to science is no different; if you’re currently studying science or considering a scientific career path in your future, then farming is one area that is consistently in need of high-quality experts in the sciences field. So, what exactly can potential scientists get out of working in agriculture? There are far more career paths and options out there than you might think.

As a constantly expanding field, it’s no surprise that there’s more demand than ever for specialists in all kinds of development areas. From chemical development, environmental concerns and biological requirements, the exact needs of agriculture are incredibly diverse, making each day more exciting than the last. Here are just five of the fascinating career paths that budding scientists could consider exploring, if agriculture sounds like the right field for you:

Soil and hydrology

For scientists who prefer working directly with the earth and water, with a more biological spin, then working within soil and hydrology offers countless opportunities within the agricultural industry. This career path provides the chance to alter the way farms work with the earth they are provided, as well as researching how to improve the quality and hydration of existing soil to provide better food, healthier crops and higher yields. While many assume this field is far more chemistry-based, with many modern farms opting for organic and pesticide-free fields, this area of science is more biological than ever before.

For soil and hydrology scientists, the goal is to get more out of the required elements for farming crops and producing the high outcome that agricultural businesses need to succeed. This means perfecting the quality of the soil used, as well as working with the sources of water for farms to ensure everything is optimised correctly. This field can be gratifying, thanks to the ability to see the real-world impact that soil and hydrology can have on farming in general.

Food scientist

A highly specialised career that falls at the other end of the agriculture process, food scientists are tasked with inventing and creating new food and drink products and ensuring those food items are safe for human consumption. While food science is about as far as you can get from the fields where those items originated, it is still an incredibly vital part of the overall agriculture industry, helping to complete that final step from farming to sale by creating food that is both edible and enjoyable.

Food scientists provide many different vital areas of research and development, and as such, can be incredibly varied and exciting careers for those more interested in the gastronomical side of farming. Not only can you enjoy the success of seeing your designed product on the shelves, but you are providing the vital service of ensuring all farmed food is safe to eat and fit for purpose. Food science is something entirely different from other scientific careers, but still has excellent value to the public as a whole.


We often think of botanists as a more old-fashioned career that’s fallen out of fashion over the years. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Botany is still a vital part of the agriculture process and takes place before those first seeds are planted, or that initial harvest begins. A botanical scientist can be in any number of different niche sectors, from developing more hardy plants suitable for British winters to cross-breeding species to create even better crop yields or more attractive fruits and vegetables as a result.

Many people consider botanical science just as much of an art, but there is serious biological grounding in the requirements of this career. If you enjoy working with plants, and the idea of cultivating new species and improving existing ones appeals to you, then botanical science may be an excellent starting point. Often, botanists work directly with agricultural research businesses to enhance and improve upon existing crops, whether it’s creating more fuel-efficient grains to feed livestock or designing plants that produce perfect-looking results.

Ecology and ecotoxicology

A relatively new, but rapidly growing, area of agriculture, ecotoxicology is the study of toxic materials on the Earth and our surroundings in general. This unique scientific discipline lends itself to individuals keen to work in a scientific career that can have a serious impact, offering the opportunity to change the way we farm and the toxic processes still in use by some agriculture companies. While ecotoxicology was, in the past, considered separate from agriculture in many ways, as businesses become more conscious of their impact, the role has become more of an in-house norm.

With consumers more keen than ever to reduce the impact on the planet, farming companies are utilising ecologists and ecotoxicologists to improve the ‘green’ status of their businesses, whether it’s reducing the toxic nature of the pesticides used to attempt to prevent the damage caused by farming on the surrounding landscapes. Ecologists study everything from the impact of farming on local wildlife and flora to how pollutants and industry waste impacts the environment. For those that are keen to make differences in the way agriculture is currently done in this country, the science of ecology and ecotoxicology is an excellent place to start.

If you’re considering using your scientific knowledge to break into the world of agriculture, there’s no better time to start than now. Agricultural jobs are only growing in popularity, and if you want to make a difference in how farming is done, then going into the sciences is an excellent place to start. To find out more about agricultural careers, or to find job information for farming-based science jobs, take a look at our listings today, or drop us a line to find out more about what the world of agriculture could offer you.

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: or call our team on: 01905 345 155 or email us at:

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