The options for agribusiness careers are almost endless. Agricultural operations need experts to raise, package and market their crops. Farms need fertilizer, tractors, and irrigation systems. Agricultural output needs to be processed into the products we use every day, and products then must be transported to markets to sell.
The perishable nature of most agricultural crops makes it a time-sensitive and challenging process to provide fresh products to buyers. Whether it's grain, vegetables, fiber, flowers, meats, or dairy, agricultural items require significant skill and knowledge to produce. The harvest must then be handled and distributed efficiently to preserve freshness and deliver a high-quality product.
Types of Agribusiness Careers
Raising crops is agriculture. Every industry that supports or depends on agriculture can be considered agribusiness. There is an incredible range of possible careers in this sector of the U.S. economy. Agricultural job opportunities can generally be grouped into three categories:
- Pre-production: Supplying growers and producers with needed materials, equipment, banking, accounting, and legal support
- Services: Helping producers be more efficient and profitable in their operations
- Post-production: Processing, marketing, and distributing agricultural products
Each of these categories is critical to a successful farming business, and a career in any aspect of agribusiness can be deeply fulfilling. Producers need support to grow the raw materials we require for our most basic and universal needs, such as food, clothing, and fuel. They also need help getting their goods processed and delivered to buyers.
Pre-Production Agribusiness Careers
All farms require supplies such as fertilizer, seed, and fuel as well as equipment. They need insurance to protect their crops and other property, computers to calculate and manage crop schedules and employees, and legal contracts just like any other business.
Potential careers supporting farming operations include everything from management to grain storage and soil science to software solutions.
Production Support Careers
This avenue includes every type of skill needed for actual production, from seeding and fertilizing crops to analyzing soil components and managing pests and diseases. Farming equipment requires specialized maintenance. Facilities need experts to oversee operations and orchestrate efforts across the farm.
There are also agribusiness careers focused solely on efficiency, profitability, and sustainability. Working with the daily routines of an agricultural operation to constantly adjust systems can make the difference between success and failure for a business. A specialist can ensure that practices are environmentally sound, efficient, and cost-effective for the producer.
Very few crops are sold as-is, directly out of the field. Almost all agricultural products require processing, packaging, marketing, and distribution. There are excellent career opportunities in every aspect of handling, processing, and bringing agricultural products to consumers.
Breakfast cereal, a loaf of bread, orange juice, and coffee are on breakfast tables all over the country. All of these familiar foods originate on a farm somewhere, but each one of them requires processing and distribution to reach the store shelf.
A farmer may raise turkeys or beef cattle, dairy, soybeans, wheat, or hemp, but none of these items are consumer-ready when they leave the farm. Agribusiness careers abound in transforming raw agricultural products into goods on the store shelf.
Marketing and Sales
As with any other product, agricultural items require packaging, labels, and marketing to make consumers aware of them, build familiarity with brands, and create demand among the buying public. As with any business, promotion is essential to success.
Logistics and Distribution
Agricultural products are often perishable. Getting food or other time-sensitive items from the farm to a processing plant, into the correct packaging, and transported to a wholesale or retail outlet is a complex and specialized line of work. There are computer programs, storage facilities, trucks and train cars, packaging plants, refrigeration units, and lots of people involved.
Logistics is the science of orchestrating all of these moving parts efficiently and ensuring that the products arrive at their destinations on time, in good condition, and ready to sell.
Distribution includes the physical requirements of this entire process, such as loading the products, driving the trucks, and delivering the goods to stores.
Agribusiness Careers That Suit Your Skills
Agribusiness is a vast field that offers careers as different as operating a grain storage facility, working in a lab to develop safe pesticides, designing optimal packaging for a head of lettuce, or managing a fleet of refrigerated trucks that deliver fresh-cut flowers to neighborhood markets. Perhaps you'd prefer to drive one of those trucks, work in public relations for the dairy industry, or study consumer preferences.
If you have an interest in agriculture and you're looking for a fulfilling career path, the options are virtually limitless. Check out AgHires for great agricultural job opportunities and agribusiness careers today.