Where to begin?
Agriculture is a challenging and rewarding choice of career. However, with so many types of agricultural jobs available, it can be difficult to know where to begin, particularly if you are unsure of the requirements necessary for each job type. Of course, there are jobs involving hands-on farm work, but the industry also requires engineers, scientists, agronomists, business consultants, project managers, vets, agrochemical specialists and sales experts to operate successfully.
The diversity of the agriculture sector means that there are opportunities to work in the industry, whatever your interests and talents. There are career options for people from nearly every academic and employment background. So, whether you love working with animals, have a head for business marketing, or are a science-nerd – there is something for you!
With vocational and academic training options, making a start in an agriculture career has never been easier. If you don’t fancy taking the academic route into farm recruitment, then getting an apprenticeship is a great way to gain experience and earn a wage while on the job! On the other hand, positions in project management, marketing and agrochemicals often require years of education but generally attract higher salaries. Continue reading to discover some of the most important things you need to know about qualifying for various jobs in the farming and agriculture industry.
Project managers and farm consultants
Although differing from role to role, a project manager/farm consultant generally works to ensure that a farm is maximising profitability and efficiency. Business or project managers are responsible for working directly with clients to create business proposals, project briefs, and securing new business. They will also follow up business leads and develop and grow customer relations.
This is the perfect role for anyone who enjoys interacting with customers and has a background in marketing and business. In order to qualify for a consultant role, it is usually expected that you will have completed a degree in either business or marketing. Ideal candidates for agricultural marketing jobs will have a history of working within the agriculture or food industry and have gained relevant project managing qualifications such as the PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2).
If working with animals on a daily basis in a rural environment interests you, then start considering farm jobs in your area. Farmworkers do the physical and practical work on farms, working with crops and livestock to ensure the continued success of a farm.
To qualify as a farmworker, you will need to be prepared for the physical pressures of the job and be an exceptionally hardworking and motivated individual. Depending on the needs of the farm, you may end up looking after a herd of cows or other livestock, operating machinery to cultivate fields, drilling crops, applying chemical and harvesting; as well as performing general farm housekeeping duties.
Generally, there are no specific academic qualifications needed to secure this job, but you will need to have previous experience working on a farm and operating machinery. So, if you are considering this as a career and don't have the necessary experience, your best chance of securing this role is to begin with an apprenticeship.
Are you a people person? Are you passionate about agriculture? Do you thrive under pressure? If so, then agricultural sales could be the career for you! A degree in marketing or business would be beneficial but is not always necessary depending upon the position.
Farmers need lots of agriculture-specific items to succeed in the industry, with machinery, feed, fertiliser and seed being only a few of them. Working in agricultural sales requires tenacity and excellent communication abilities, as you will be working directly with farm managers, project managers and consultants. You will need to be able to listen to a farmer’s requirements and have a deep understanding of the products which will be suitable to meet these needs. A background in farming and agriculture would be particularly advantageous if you want to build long-lasting relationships with customers by recommending products appropriately.
Agronomists are essential to maximising crop output and making sure that crops grown are as healthy as possible. Also known as ‘crop doctors’, agronomists are experts in choosing which chemicals should be used to grow healthy plants while also keeping weeds and pests at bay. Agronomists deal with statistics and data on a daily basis and are expected to analyse complex data sets to determine which pesticides, insecticides and fertilisers are best given the specific requirements of the farm, taking into account the type of crop, climate and industry regulations.
In order to become an agronomist, you will typically need a degree in either agricultural science or related science discipline. If you are interested in pursuing an agronomy job, it may not be possible to do a degree in agricultural science, as not many universities offer this. So, you will need to choose a science discipline such as chemistry, biology (or to a lesser extent physics) and then take further qualifications to specialise in agronomy.
Agricultural technician jobs and engineering
Agricultural engineers are a crucial part of the agriculture sector. They build, repair and service equipment designed for use in agriculture, horticulture and forestry. The term 'agricultural technician' is often used interchangeably with 'engineer' but can actually mean something slightly different.
Technicians have many of the same skills and qualifications as engineers, but they are sometimes more specialised in a specific area of agricultural engineering, e.g., irrigation. They also have a more significant role in understanding the environment’s impact on crops and minimising potential environmental problems created by various agrarian production methods. They are also responsible for conducting experiments and analysing data concerning best land-use practises and environmental conditions.
Usually, a degree or other advanced qualification in agricultural engineering, agricultural machinery engineering or agricultural technology is necessary to be considered for the role of either an engineer or technician, but there are occasionally entry-level opportunities to consider if you don't already meet the requirements.
If you're looking for work in the agricultural sector, Agricultural Recruitment Specialists can help you find the right niche in the UK, Europe and beyond. We can assist in finding which doors are open for you with your specific background and even advice on what you could do to improve your prospects.
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
Alternatively, if you are a client looking to expand your team, whilst using a professional recruitment / headhunting solution, then please call us today on 01905 345155 or email us at: info@agriRS.co.uk