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Career as an Agricultural Professional

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Agricultural professionals are needed today more than ever, and this is a dynamic and growing career field that is looking for highly qualified workers now and into the future.

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Many people think of farming and the agriculture industry as simple, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Managing the country’s crop lands and farms, planting food and bringing it to harvest, and using the soil wisely is a very complex operation.

After all, growing plants and animals require suitable soil, clean air, non-polluted fresh water and nutritional feed and fertilizers. Farming in the US and many places abroad no longer resembles a 1800s painting with a small family tilling the soil on their own plot of land that’s been handed down from generation to generation.

Today most farms are large-scale operations operated with sophisticated machinery and advanced agricultural techniques. Hence the need for highly-skilled agricultural professionals. Agribusiness, advanced technologies, the management of pesticides and environmental pollution have made dealing with the food chain quite complicated.

To avoid some of this complication, some farmers today are opting to use organic methods that completely avoid the risks and hazards of applying pesticides to their crops. But even organic farms need qualified agricultural professionals to manage the other aspects of their operations, from marketing to employee management and more.

With an area as vital to the economic and health of the world’s population as agriculture, it’s essential that all technicians and scientists work together with farmers, ranchers, government agencies and consumers to provide safe and nutritious foods today, and improved crops for tomorrow. And with the world adding another billion people to its population every ten or fifteen years, there will be an even greater need for good food and an equitable distribution of it.

If you’re thinking of going to school to become an agricultural professional, now’s the time to do it. And what skills are required in this field? Typically the professional working in agriculture should be knowledgeable and have a least some familiarity with computers, and have a sound education in subjects like communications, social sciences, critical thinking, and agricultural areas like soil science, botany, plant physiology, pest control, and fertilizer usage.

There’s also a need for agricultural professionals to cooperate and work well with others. For example, laboratory workers will often have to share resources with fieldworkers, chemists with biologists, soil scientists with ranchers and farmers, ecologists with crop specialists.

Training and certification

If this sounds like the type of work you’d like to be a part of, then get started on your education. If you’re still in high school, focus your studies on areas like basic science, chemistry, biology and even physics.

And drive out to a farm and spend the afternoon visiting with a farmer. Find out what the work is really like from someone who lives it every day, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an agriculture professional yourself.

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