Careers in Sustainable Agriculture
With agriculture employing 40% of the world’s population and the threats of climate change being taken more seriously, the sustainable agriculture movement has gained a lot of momentum. Problems such as deforestation, water scarcity, and land degradation have to be tackled in order for agriculture to be sustainable and flourish – this has created an opening in the field, with jobs in sustainable agriculture now widely available to those interested.
Whether you want to get your hands dirty on a farm or conduct important research in a lab, there are all sorts of careers in sustainable agriculture. From desk jobs to more practical hands-on work, Agricultural Recruitment Specialists can find you your perfect job.
Traditional pest control has been shown to have a variety of disadvantages, from harmful chemicals endangering the health of children and pets, to crops building resistance to the pesticides. Sustainable agriculture has a different method to pest control and includes the use of biological pest control, or biocontrol. This includes eliminating traditional pesticides, and instead, using natural enemies of crop pests as pest control.
It is no secret that the agricultural industry is extremely water intensive. However, with water waste at an all-time high and the scarcity of freshwater, the agriculture industry needs to reduce water waste and improve water efficiency. Solutions include more sustainable irrigation systems such as drip irrigation and are brought forward by water engineers.
Those with degrees in civil and environmental engineering can specialise in water engineering and can help not only manage water, but also innovate and discover new solutions for water efficiency in agriculture.
In addition to managing water, it is also important to reduce water waste and pollution. According to the Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology, one-third of diffuse water pollution is a result of farming. With agricultural pollutants like fertilisers, faecal bacteria, and pesticide residue present, it is integral to keep polluted water away from water courses.
Soil erosion is one of the major problems that sustainable agriculture focuses on. Erosion can eradicate topsoil, the nutrient-rich soil that enables the growth of plants. Soil erosion can also result in water pollution and in the remaining soil becoming compacted.
Because soil is viewed as a finite resource by those in the sustainable agriculture industry, there is a growing need for soil scientists. Soil scientists not only study soil and its properties, but also work on soil amendments, including dealing with soil erosion and compacted soil. In addition to soil nutrients and pH levels, soil scientists also monitor other organic compounds present in soil, biological activity, and the structure of the soil.
Sustainable agriculture isn’t restricted to plants – it also applies to livestock. One of the most important aspects of sustainable agriculture is genetic improvement in animals. This requires qualified vets and breeders to ensure success. Breeding jobs in sustainable agriculture involve crossbreeding, population screening, and even developing breed development programs.
Another important aspect is keeping animals healthy. Experienced vets are required on all farms and are an integral part of sustainable agriculture. Keeping animals healthy keeps people healthy by reducing transmissible diseases and subsequent deaths. Additional sustainable farming practices include eliminating nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in animal feed and determining which farm areas are better for crop production and which are more suitable for livestock production. This can be combined with improved management of grazing lands and soil carbon sequestration for best practices.
Soil erosion is a major problem that sustainable agriculture tries to deal with. One of the ways this is fought is through crop rotation. Research into perennial crops and hybrids is another emerging career field with great prospects. Agronomists, or crop scientists, can research and improve both, crops and growing methods.
Law and Policy Making
Policy makers play a huge role in sustainable agriculture and its growth. The policies made and put into effect, after all, are what set the tone for the entire industry. Agricultural law and policy programs are an excellent option for further study if you want to go into this field.
Of course, this isn’t restricted to being a policy maker. There are also careers in lobbying in which individuals can work with policy makers and help or influence policy makers and other stakeholders. There is also work available as a sustainability consultant, which involves helping clients find sustainable solutions to their problems.
Sustainable agriculture isn’t a fad – it’s the future of agriculture. That being said, sustainable practices will need to be taught to the next generation. You can join this growing field by specialising in a field, and then teaching at different levels, including short training courses and university courses.
When thinking of jobs in sustainable agriculture, people often forget marketing. While this doesn’t involve direct agricultural work, it helps to spread the message and is integral as a support service for the farming industry. This can include spreading the message to the public or to businesses and governments. Either way, the result is helping forward the message of sustainability in agriculture.
Finding the Perfect Fit
As the world continues to realise the importance of conservation and sustainability, jobs in sustainable agriculture will only keep growing. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty available already – search through our website and find your perfect job today.
Whether you’re looking for your dream job or are looking to find the perfect candidate to fill a role, we can help – simply contact us and our recruitment specialists will take care of the rest. Visit our website today www.agriRS.co.uk