AS WE ARE KICKING OFF our new year, I am sure most, if not all, of us have created our list of resolutions. Was a new career on your list of changes you wish to see happen this year?
Did you know that on average there are 57,900 career openings in agriculture each year? Did you know that only 35,400 college students graduate with a bachelor’s degree or higher in agriculture? There is an extreme shortage of agriculture majors, not just in Florida, but in the nation. There are many careers that are overlooked in the agriculture spectrum, such as education, plant science, food science, animal science, business management, and marketing.
There are more than 200 different careers in agriculture that fall under these top 10 fields of interest:
1. AG BUSINESS MANAGEMENT
Three jobs from this field include ag lender, ranch manager, and a farm manager. Most of these jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree and have an annual salary ranging from $60,000 to $75,000.
2. FISHERIES AND WILDLIFE
White-tail deer farming, marine mechanic, and a biological scientist are just a few career options in this field that make anywhere from $20,000 to $85,000 annually.
3. FOOD SCIENCE
Food-process engineer, processing area manager, and a nutrition educator are three jobs that are in the field of food science, which falls in to the agriculture industry. In all three jobs, you will need communication, active listening, and great multitasking skills in order to be successful.
Maintaining and operating equipment, ground patrol, checking lodging operations, meeting with landowners to prescribe burns, planning and conducting fieldwork, etc. are some of the daily responsibilities that fall under a forester’s job description. Does that sound like a fun day in the office to you? If so, then check out applications to be a forest ranger, forester, or a field biologist.
Are you good at customer service, maintaining records, and time management? Is gardening something you are interested in? Landscape designers, garden center managers, and florists make anywhere from $20,000 to $75,000 annually. A bachelor’s degree in agriculture with some business management classes is not required but preferred.
6. RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT
Economic development specialists present data to other organizations, evaluate economic, demographic, and statistical data, and must be mobile, communicate professionally, and be able to work with a team. An environmental planner reviews plans for sites, gives presentations to government officials, and recommends to approve or decline permits.
7. PARKS, RECREATION, AND TOURISM
Are you more of an outdoors person? Groundskeepers or pesticide techs are great jobs! In order to be successful in these areas of work, you need to have communication skills, good customer service, and be familiar with lawn equipment.
Prepare and distribute leaflets, plan and organize the county fair, collect samples from animals, plants or products, attend meetings, plan student activities, and prepare classroom material are all different tasks of people who fall into the agri-science field. Can you guess some of their job titles? Yep, you got it — ag extension agent, ag inspector, and an ag educator.
9. BUILDING CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT
Plumbers, field engineers, and construction schedulers — oh my! Between repairing and installing piping, scheduling and planning construction dates, and designing layouts for projects, these careers have an average employment rate of 90.7 to 93 percent.
10. AG AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMUNICATION
Telecommunication specialist, agriculture news reporter/radio personality, and a digital marketing coordinator are some titles that fall into this field. Sound fun? I think so! (From experience, I’m admittedly a little biased in my opinion on the radio personality job.) In this career area, you are out in the field or community, spreading the word about agriculture and what your company and/or farm has to offer.
I have always said how huge the agriculture industry really is, and that you don’t have to own a farm to be involved in agriculture. Do you believe me now? The Florida agriculture industry employs more than half a million people each year and generates billions of dollars for our economy. Did any of the above fields or careers sound interesting to you? Ask your ag teacher or 4-H adviser for more information on jobs in these fields, or do a little more research and find some jobs hiring in our area! For further information, check out www.agcareers.com.
As you are enjoying your new year, make sure to add “thank a farmer” to your list of resolutions!
article by ABBY CRAWFORD
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Abby Crawford is currently enrolled at Warner University, majoring in Agriculture Studies with hopes to go into either the agriculture education or communications field. She is the former president of the Haines City High School FFA chapter as well as the voice behind 97 Country’s segment, “Ag Time with Abby,” which airs the first Friday of every month during the Breakfast Club with Roger and Melissa. Abby is also the 2014 Polk County Farm Bureau Youth Speech Contest Winner. For questions, FFA news, or FFA story ideas, email Abby at firstname.lastname@example.org.