If you are pondering a career in agriculture, you can consider a wide range of jobs in a variety of fields. Whether you work in sales, administration, engineering, science or manual labor, you can specialize in agriculture. In this article, we introduce types of agriculture careers and explore 12 of the most common jobs in the field.
What are agriculture careers?
Agriculture careers are professionals paths related to farming, cultivation and animal husbandry. These career paths involve everything from growing crops and nurturing the soil to raising livestock like cattle, pigs and chickens. Careers in agriculture also incorporate manufacturing, marketing and selling the products that result from crops and livestock as well as providing support and assistance throughout the field.
Types of agriculture jobs
Agriculture jobs require many diverse skill sets. Some of the most common types of agriculture careers include:
- Administrative jobs: The professionals who perform these roles provide support for workers throughout the agriculture industry. They are responsible for tasks like managing offices, answering correspondence, maintaining filing systems and speaking with clients. Administrative professionals may also handle bookkeeping and accounting tasks as well as human resources and insurance duties.
- Engineering jobs: Engineering roles involve using high-level science and math to solve complex problems. These professionals evaluate, design, test and install systems a range of equipment and systems. They also oversee manufacturing and maintenance processes. In the agriculture field, most engineers specialize in mechanical, environmental or structural engineering.
- Labor jobs: These positions require workers to perform manual tasks such as planting, harvesting, caring for animals and maintaining equipment. Laborers often use specialized tools and machines to do their jobs, which require superior physical strength and stamina. Agriculture jobs require both skilled and unskilled workers.
- Sales jobs: Sales professionals are responsible for selling materials and products to customers. They assess customers' needs and design solutions that meet budgetary requirements while also contributing to clients' goals. Sales specialists who work in agriculture often focus on selling seed and feed to farm managers.
- Science jobs: Scientists use life and physical sciences to study and solve problems. They use the principles of biology, chemistry, zoology, geology, physics and other focus areas to research issues, monitor situations, design solutions and develop products and systems. Scientists who work in agriculture may specialize in crops, livestock or food production.
Jobs in agriculture
Whether you are interested in pursuing a career in administration, sales, engineering, science or labor, an agriculture job may provide a rewarding professional path. Discover the average salaries and primary duties for 12 agriculture jobs. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on each salary link below:
1. Farm worker
National average salary: $32,305 per year
Primary duties: Also known as farmhands, farm workers perform essential manual labor tasks under the supervision of farmers and ranchers. They may harvest or inspect crops, assist with irrigation systems or apply fertilizer and pesticide to encourage crops to grow while controlling weeds and insects.
These professionals may provide feed for livestock, brand animals and inspect animals for signs of diseases or other problems. Some farm workers also assist with herding livestock and operating farm machinery and tools. Farm workers often perform general tasks, but some specialize in crops or livestock.
National average salary: $57,551 per year
Primary duties: Growers are responsible for raising crops, which involves managing their growing environment to keep them healthy. They plant seeds, fertilize and irrigate crops and devise schedules that allow them to achieve maximum yield. Some growers may also experiment with new types of seed or innovative growing methods.
Many growers specialize in certain types of crops, such as heirloom plants or animal feed. Most growers are required to meet predetermined crop yields and quality levels—they may receive bonuses or additional compensation for exceeding their goals.
National average salary: $33,691 per year
Primary duties: Grain elevator operators assist with storing, shipping and buying grain. They receive incoming grain deliveries, store the grain safely and maintain essential quality standards. They may assist with preparing outgoing shipments, drying grain and blending grain types.
Grain elevator operators work with management to administer grain samples and inspections and to implement grain pricing. Some also assist with grain sales and marketing plans or help with regulatory oversight.
National average salary: $64,571 per year
Primary duties: Agricultural equipment technicians maintain, install and repair machines and implements. They perform preventive maintenance, which may involve refueling machines, replacing batteries, changing the oil and lubricating moving parts. When they detect a malfunction, they perform diagnostic tests and conduct necessary repairs.
Agricultural equipment technicians must be able to read and interpret manuals, use computers to diagnose problems and document maintenance and repairs. Some agricultural equipment technicians also fabricate parts, repair electrical systems or weld components to fix machines.
National average salary: $51,095 per year
Primary duties: Purchasing agents are responsible for buying agricultural products and raw materials at wholesale for processing and reuse. These professionals often have to meet specific purchasing quotas for processors. They work with several farming clients, who serve as suppliers of grain, milk and other agricultural products.
Purchasing agents evaluate farmers' quality levels and business practices, negotiate prices and delivery terms and sign contracts. They typically become experts on certain products and strive to develop long-term relationships with suppliers.
National average salary: $52,358 per year
Primary duties: Farm warehouse managers are responsible for overseeing all activities related to storing, shipping and receiving agricultural materials. They send and receive shipments, including loading and unloading products and materials. They also use software programs and artificial intelligence to supervise inventory levels for farm products, initiating deliveries or shipments when inventory becomes too high or low.
Farm warehouse managers store materials and products safely—they are in charge of adhering to local and federal safety procedures. Most farm warehouse managers also supervise teams of laborers, buyers and purchasing agents.
National average salary: $55,753 per year
Primary duties: Agriculture specialists perform administrative support and clerical tasks that focus on a certain aspect of farming. Some agriculture specialists focus on storage, which requires them to work with farmers to develop high-performing crop and grain storage and inventory systems.
Others specialize in livestock production, which requires them to develop methods to raise healthy animals and produce maximum yield. While others focus on marketing, which involves designing print, television, radio and digital agricultural marketing campaigns.
National average salary: $59,762 per year
Primary duties: Wholesale agricultural sales representatives sell materials and products to businesses and government agencies. They seek out prospective customers by attending trade shows, reviewing customer lists and following leads from existing clients. They determine customers' needs, explain how their products meet clients' needs and create packages that meet customers' budgetary and timeline needs.
They negotiate pricing, answer questions about product availability and draft sales contracts. Most wholesale agricultural sales representatives follow up with customers regularly to attempt additional sales and to build relationships.
9. Crop manager
National average salary: $61,035 per year
Primary duties: Also known as farm managers, crop managers oversee the many steps in the crop production process. They supervise seed sourcing, planting processes and scheduling as well as fertilizing, irrigation and harvesting. These professionals research market conditions, weather forecasts and environmental issues to assess appropriate methods for raising crops.
They may also study federal incentive programs as they decide which crops to prioritize. Most crop managers oversee teams of growers, farm workers and other laborers, and they are responsible for maintaining equipment and supplies. Crop managers often facilitate sales and assist with bookkeeping, too.
National average salary: $77,316 per year
Primary duties: Environmental engineers use science and engineering principles to design and apply solutions to problems that occur on agricultural sites. They assess environmental conditions—including testing soil and analyzing drainage capabilities—and develop improvements.
Environmental engineers create plans and systems for developing healthier soil, better drainage and more efficient waste filtering. Many environmental engineers also oversee the installation, operation and maintenance of the systems they develop.
National average salary: $78,530 per year
Primary duties: Feed mill managers supervise the production and storage of animal feed. They are responsible for monitoring inventory levels, scheduling feed production and inspecting the quality of the grain. These professionals set and maintain quality standards, assess and improve operating procedures and track customer complaints.
Most feed mill managers also perform administrative tasks, including preparing budgets and overseeing teams of workers.
National average salary: $80,677 per year
Primary duties: Research scientists who specialize in agriculture often work as food scientists, who research and develop processes for manufacturing, storing and packaging food. They use biology, chemistry and other life sciences to assess the nutritional makeup of ingredients, research new sources of food and determine strategies for making foods healthier or more delicious.
Food scientists are usually responsible for developing or improving products, but some specialize in detecting contaminants or administering government regulations.