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Looking For A Job In Agriculture?

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Finding Ag Careers and Jobs Depends On Your Network
USDA, iStockPhoto

Employment prospects for farmers, ranchers, and production managers are expected to decline over the next seven years, with notable exceptions in organic farming, horticulture, and aquiculture. The overall outlook for careers in agriculture and food science is brighter—job growth in these areas is expected to keep pace with the average of other occupations in the United States.

Larger Farms, Fewer Jobs

The ongoing trend of farm consolidation will continue to hinder employment prospects for independent farmers and ranchers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates an 8% decline in the number of self-employed farmers between 2006 and 2016 while the demand for agricultural managers is expected to remain flat.

Jobs Germinate in Specialty Areas

Opportunities in organic farming will continue to blossom, thanks to the USDA’s earmarking of $50M for farms beginning, expanding, or improving their organic production. The landscaping industry is expected to provide more jobs over the next decade for horticulture specialty farmers. Aquiculture is another promising area, as additional restrictions on commercial fishing are anticipated.

Technology Equals Employment Prospects

Demand for agriculture and food scientists, especially for those with advanced degrees, is expected to increase. The private sector holds the most promise for job growth, while universities will continue to be stable employers for those with PhD’s. The hottest growth areas involve the application of biotechnology and nanotechnology to create disease-resistant crops and increase yields for biofuel production. Research to preserve diverse ecosystems and increase food safety will also provide employment opportunities. Short point: Hottest growth areas involve applied research in biotechnology and nanotechnology.

  • Crops resistant to insects and diseases
  • Increased output to produce biofuels
  • Ecosystem preservation
  • Food safety


The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook offers background information for Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers and for Agricultural and food scientists. Additionally, the Center for Rural Affairs offers information on rural issues and legislation that may affect ag employment.

Tools>

Job lists are good leading sources of what might happen in the world. In the agricultural industry, there are several job listing sources on which to keep an eye.

AgCareers.com , PigCareers.com , AgJobNetwork , Hansen Agri-Placement , and Ag1Source all have useful tools to search for jobs. But the real power monitoring comes from the RSS feeds (see RSS in plain English video for background). With an RSS feed you can quickly scan job listings.

Some good examples include RSS feeds from AgCareers.com (RSS page) and Indeed.com. Remember, these RSS information feeds only give you information about a listed position, it wouldn't get you the job... You still need to do the hard work to get it.

One interesting use of RSS feeds is monitoring competitors. Using Indeed.com you can filter by company, key words, or job title. Who is Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN) looking for? Use this feed. What is Smithfield Foods (NYSE: SFD) up to? Do a search!


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