The word "agricultural" typically conjures up visions of vast farms or crops and an old-fashioned tractor driving by.
The world's population is growing at an astounding rate of more than 80,000,000 per year, which fuels an ever-increasing need for food. This has led to significant technological advances in agriculture.
Here is a list of 10 of the most unique agricultural jobs for anyone thinking about beginning or changing to a career within agriculture.
1. Agricultural Food Scientists
The radical effects of the world's increasing food demand, particularly the consumption of meat (estimated at 300 million tonnes annually), have not escaped the minds of industry experts in the agriculture sector, who are constantly seeking ways to increase the efficiency of food production and processing.
Food science can help with this. Food scientists use their biochemistry, engineering and biotechnology expertise to find new food sources and research ways to make food safe and healthy.
Cellular agriculture is a way that food scientists can improve food production. It allows for the production of meat, eggs, poultry, pork and other food products from cell samples. This eliminates the need to raise livestock, which consumes large amounts of water and land resources and emits enormous amounts of GHG.
Other than meat production, biotechnology can also be used to produce crops (which requires a lot of land and energy).
2. Agricultural Engineers
Agriculture engineering is another highly-demanded field. As recruiters, we are aware that demand for Agricultural Engineers often outweighs the supply. This branch of engineering is responsible for designing, building, and developing smarter, more efficient farm machinery and implements.
Agricultural Engineers use technology to solve common farming, machinery and/or technology problems. For example, precision agriculture has enabled the creation and use of tractors equipped with software that allows farmers to plant seeds in straight lines, at the proper depth and at the right distance, in order to prevent wastage and to keep costs low.
Another example of technology that is based on agricultural engineering is data-driven farming. This involves probes, which are sensors used to measure soil moisture. It has been proven to reduce water waste by up to 30% by providing more precise soil moisture data.
You can read more here; Top Job Skills All Agricultural Engineers Should Have
3. Agricultural Managers
As the job title suggests, Agricultural Managers assist farmers in managing the "business side" - that is, they ensure that small-time and industrial farms remain competitive and continue to make a profit.
Although the responsibilities of an Agricultural Manager are varied, they usually include overseeing the whole commercial side of agricultural businesses, such as planning budgets, managing profit and loss, hiring farm personnel and scheduling crop rotations.
Although Agricultural Managers are typically hired based upon work experience, a degree in related fields like farm management, dairy science, agricultural entrepreneurship or economics is considered an advantage.
4. Environmental Specialists
Agriculture has a significant impact on the environment; it remains undisputed. The agriculture industry accounts for 24 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The agriculture industry faces a major challenge: reducing the environmental impact of agricultural activities and operations. These adverse effects include soil runoff, soil deforestation and soil acidification. They are also the ones that environmental specialists are trying to mitigate or solve.
To address common problems that can arise from large-scale agricultural operations, environmental specialists work to improve agricultural processes whilst keeping the environment's health in view.
Bees play an important role in maintaining and promoting ecological diversity. Some species, such as the honeybee, have an essential contribution to agriculture. Cross-pollinating is responsible for more than 70% of the world's crop production.
Since the 20th century, the bee population has been steadily declining. Beekeeping is a great career choice for this reason. Commercial beekeepers typically raise hives to sell honey, beeswax and propolis. However, some choose to specialise in the care and propagation of bees. This includes research into cross-breeding to help address environmental concerns related to the decline of the bee species.
Agriculture is dependent on water. The agriculture industry accounts for over 70% of all water consumption worldwide. Hydrologists who work in the industry are responsible for finding solutions to agriculture-related water problems--specifically those related to water availability, quantity and quality - to find more efficient irrigation methods.
Hydrologists should have a solid understanding of geology, statistics and computer science. Those who work for governments are expected to be well-versed in environmental laws.
Agronomists are crop experts. They are valued for their scientific expertise in optimising crop yield and quality. Agronomists are often employed by large-scale farmers, agronomy companies, seed companies and fertiliser/agrochemical manufacturers. They can also help food companies grow the best crops possible.
Agronomists should have a deep understanding of biology, chemistry, economics, genetics and physiology.
You can read about more jobs in agronomy here.
8. Agricultural Lawyers
Agricultural lawyers are specialists in agricultural law, including (but not limited to) land use and finances, as well as advising on all matters relating to food and agricultural law.
The government has many regulatory agencies that are devoted to agricultural law. They help settle land disputes, provide legal guidance on compliance with land use regulations and assist with implementing farm policies. Private legal practices focus on finances, insurance, agricultural infrastructure, intellectual property and intellectual capital, amongst other things. It all depends on firm and what they choose to provide.
Besides a bachelor's/university degree in law, you must also pass the Bar Professional Training Course to become an agricultural lawyer.
9. Bioinformatics Scientists
Bioinformatics scientists combine their computer science and technology knowledge to create automated data mining and integration that allows them to collect and update information about plant and animal life. This is a huge benefit for the agriculture industry.
To become a Bioinformatics Scientist a master’s degree in genomics, bioinformatics, computational biology or similar degree field is required. They can be among some of the highest paid positions within agriculture.
10. Animal Geneticists
Animal geneticists are experts in the field of animal science and help the agricultural industry address issues related to livestock production and management.
Animal geneticists can identify the genes that give a specific species or breed its superior traits, as well as genetic diseases. This information is used for crossbreeding animals to create new species that are more resilient and have more commercially appealing characteristics.
A bachelor's degree is required to become an animal geneticist.
When deciding upon a career path within agriculture, the field is huge. There are so many different paths that an individual can take. However, when starting out, it is important that you follow the most suitable educational routes (as required) to get you there. If you are looking for career guidance within agriculture, please contact our team and we will be happy to help.
Alternatively, if you are looking to hire new employees, then please contact us today to see how we can help and save you both time and money.
We are the world leader in connecting the finest agricultural and farming talent with the best brands and organisations. You can find out more about Agricultural Recruitment Specialists here.