It is a truism that ‘we eat to live’ and the people in the agricultural field contribute much to our living today. By dedicating their time to growing our food and improving the processes by which our food is grown, persons in the agriculture industry help to meet the demands of growing populations. If you have this same desire to make lasting contributions to people’s way of life, then continue reading because a career in Agriculture may be calling your name.
What is Agriculture?
Agriculture is the art and science of cultivating the soil, growing crops and raising livestock. It includes the preparation of plant and animal products for use as food, feed and fiber.
Careers in Agriculture
Contrary to popular belief, Agriculture entails much more than just planting seeds and raising farm animals. While these roles are pivotal in the Agriculture industry, much has changed over recent years with the use of technology in this field which saw an expansion of career positions and opportunities.
That being said, here is a list of careers in the Agriculture field:
- Agricultural/Farm worker – raise livestock and plant and harvest crops, using agricultural machinery.
- Agricultural/Farm manager – responsible for the daily planning, organisation, supervision and administration of activities on farm estates.
- Agronomist – also called ‘crop doctors’, they conduct experiments to develop the best methods for increasing the quality and production of crops.
- Soil scientist – gather, interpret and evaluate information about the chemistry, biology and physics of soil in order to tackle current agricultural issues.
- Animal nutritionist – promote a better understanding of the effect of diet on the health, well-being and productivity of animals.
- Apiary Worker – manage colonies of honeybees for the production of honey as well as pollination services.
- Plant geneticist – develop useful traits in plants, such as disease resistance and drought tolerance by studying and cross breeding plants.
- Agricultural engineer – design, build, service and repair agricultural, horticultural and forestry machinery and equipment in order to reduce crop loss and combat industry issues.
- Pest control adviser – scout crops to identify pests that can affect a farmer’s harvest.
There are some careers that are not technically considered as being in the agriculture industry, but do stem from it in some aspects. Therefore, knowledge of agriculture or agricultural processes and cycles could benefit you in these fields. Some of these industries are Timber production, Sustainable fashion, Fabric production, Leather production.
As with any other field, the requirements for each job/career differ as they are dependent on your career of choice. For a more general path, a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture would be a good starting point to give you knowledge of the field and position you to make an informed decision on what to do next – whether that is to progress to a more specialised area or go into employment. For more focused agricultural careers, it would be necessary to have degrees in areas like earth science, biochemistry, bio-science or ecology (beneficial to agronomists and soil scientists), animal science or veterinary science (beneficial to animal nutritionists), entomology (for apiary workers and pest control advisers) or even business and economics (for farm managers). For a career as an agricultural engineer, you can obtain a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering or a degree in genetics, or botany and plant science for a career as a plant geneticist.
If you prefer a more hands on career in Agriculture such as farming, you would have to ensure that you can work outdoors for long periods of time and lift heavy items as this job is very laborious.
Other skills that would benefit you in this field include:
- Good practical skills
- Having a good work ethic
- Versatility and adaptability
- Organisational skills
- Analytical skills
- Reasoning and problem solving
- Being able to operate and control equipment
How to Stand Out
There is a plethora of certifications in the agricultural field that can complement your degree or help you begin your career, either way, they can surely set you apart and help you stand out. Some of these are certifications in pesticide application, agricultural irrigation, agricultural technology, farm management and soil management.
Get Hands-On Experience
Often times, it is better to learn by doing and as such, gaining work experience in this field can give you an edge in job searching and career advancement. There are a number of farms and nurseries around the country that you can seek volunteering or internship opportunities with. The government farm in Kew, North Caicos can give you a feel of working on a farm and harvesting a number of produce and plants. You can find them here. Other privately operated farms include Green Acres farm in Bottle Creek, North Caicos; Courtney Missick’s farm in Kew, North Caicos; Turner’s Island Farms near Kew Town, Providenciales; and Island Fresh Produce hydroponic farming in South Dock, Providenciales. Each of these farms would offer different experiences but, nonetheless, equally valuable opportunities.
Another great option for work experience is the Clinical Exploration Program which provides a number of internship opportunities and could help you in the Agriculture field – you can find them here.
It never hurts to put yourself out there and apply to as many places as you are able to. Alternatively, the Turks and Caicos Government has an Agriculture Department which focuses on encouraging and developing agriculture in the islands through both plant and animal health. You can find more information about them and their contact details here.
Lastly, if agriculture is something that you are passionate about, you don’t have to wait until you are looking for jobs to get started. Work on your ‘green thumb’ by growing plants at home. At-home farming is a great way to stay motivated and to grow your interest and understanding of plants, soil and other elements of agriculture. At the end of this post are some videos that you can watch to help you get started with this, so be sure to check them out.
Fun fact – There are around 2.2 million farms in the United States today!
Learn how to pursue a career in Agriculture within these regions
See our Agriculture Brainie of the Month: Dervent Quant Jr. – https://brainfoodtci.org/2020/08/27/brainie-of-the-month-dervent-quant-jr/