What Are Popular Agricultural Jobs for Recent College Graduates?

Agriculture is a broad and expanding area of study, and the agricultural job market is expanding with it. Those with degrees in agriculture have many career options, from government policy to agribusiness to old-fashioned farming. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is one of the major entry-level employers in the field. Schools offering Landscape Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Agricultural Employment Overview

Jobs in agriculture vary greatly, but agriculturalists, whatever area of employment they enter, are concerned in some way with efficient and careful management of natural resources. Three popular agriculture career tracks are crop science, agricultural economics and soil science.

Important Facts About Agricultural Jobs

Median Salary (2012) $58,610 (for all agricultural and food scientists)
Possible Careers Agriscience, agribusiness, agricultural and natural resource management, parks and recreation, horticulture, forestry, food science, fish and wildlife management
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 9% (for all agricultural and food scientists)
Work Environment Offices, laboratories, and food production facilities

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Crop Science

Crop scientists, also known as agronomists, seek to maximize crop yield, quality and sustainability. They research the way crops grow, develop and utilize agriculture technology and create new and more efficient ways of raising crops. Some specialties for crop scientists include biotechnology, business and industry, turf management and cropping systems, notes Washington State University's College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS). Those who study crop science in college might find work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, commercial farming companies or food processing businesses (www.usda.gov).

Agricultural Economics

As an integral part of agricultural systems, economics is an extremely important aspect of agricultural studies. Agricultural economists are experts in the way that food markets work. They are involved primarily in the financial aspects of agriculture, filling positions in government, non-profit organizations and businesses as brokers, market analysts, economists and business representatives.

Soil Science

Soil science students study sustainable agriculture, soil management and environmental soil science. They go on to conduct agricultural research, consult for businesses, manage pesticides and waste and oversee landscape development, notes Washington State University's CAHNRS. Soil scientists help conserve natural resources and can assist in environmental policy making.

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