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Global Ed

Careers in Agricultural Science: Benefits, Courses and Career Paths

What is more fulfilling and rewarding than having a career in a field which marked the beginning of civilizations and is seated right at the heart of it?

Here’s a look at Agricultural Science – we look at why this field of studies has gained traction in the recent years.

In a nutshell, here's what we'll be looking at

  • What is agriculture?
  • What is agricultural science, and what does the degree offer?
  • Top ten universities to study agriculture.
  • Career roles in this field and the future.

What is agriculture

If agriculture goes wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right- M. S. Swaminathan

Agriculture is both the theoretical study and practical application of farming, cultivation of plants, animals, medicinal plants, fungi, and other products to enrich human life.  This field has travelled a long way from using human power to plant crops to fertilizing crops by using drones. Recent trends show enormous opportunities for research and development in the agricultural sector and studying agricultural science.

How do you become an "Agriculturist"?

Agriculture Science is defined as the study of agriculture. It is an interdisciplinarity course that draws on areas such as environmental science, biology, business management, economy, and chemistry. The field is considered a vital resource for world food production. This program has spearheaded innovations that lead to effective food production methods, higher-yield crop types, and pesticide-less crops. An undergraduate degree in agriculture will be of three to five years, and this can be taken to a doctoral level through applied science and a person who specializes in the field of agriculture is known as an agriculturist.

The range of topics taught during these years will vary depending on the universities. Some universities focus on preparing the students on an international level when some other universities focus on crop farming, marketing of farm products, and animal care of one particular country or region. Obtaining a degree in agriculture will also give you the knowledge and skill needed to work in food production, agricultural sales, farming journalism, farm businesses, and manufacturing agricultural machinery and banking activities. It is also possible to study agriculture in combination with other subjects like animal science and forestry, and this combination will focus on work placements that give you real hands-on experience in the subject.

Here are few exciting subjects that can be studied along with agriculture:

  • Animal biology
  • Plant science
  • Food marketing
  • Farm business management
  • Agricultural economics
  • Livestock science
  • Nutrition
  • Biosciences
  • Soil and environmental science
  • Crop production and technology
  • Horticulture
  • Rural development
  • Land management
Gaining popularity

What’s important to understand, at the outset, is that agriculture and agricultural science is not all about ploughing land. Over the years, many innovations have taken place in this field, and these innovations play an essential role in our day to day life and food habits.

For instance – tissue culture, biotechnology, microbiology, transplanting, hybridization, genetics, and engineering to improve crop production and increase nutrition in fruits and vegetables – are a few examples of innovation in the field. These techniques can transform a country by providing food for every growing population, which is precisely why every county at present is investing and promoting the agriculture sector. Another reason why studies related to agriculture are in the spotlight is because of “Agritech”. Agritech is all about innovations and advanced techniques that can be applied to make the food production process as effective as possible. With the help of technology, agritech focuses on efficiency, sustainability, and profitability across all areas of agriculture, and it is agritech that is considered to be driving the future of food.

Top 10 universities to study Agriculture & Forestry

Let us now look at the top 10 universities globally to study Agriculture & Forestry as listed in the QS World Ranking.

Serial No. University Country
1 Wageningen University & Research Wageningen,
Netherlands
2 University of California, Davis Davis,
United States
3 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Uppsala,
Sweden
4 AgroParisTech Paris,
France
5 Cornell University Ithaca,
United States
6 ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich
Switzerland
7 China Agricultural University Beijing, China (Mainland)
8 University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison
United States
9 University of California, Berkeley Berkeley,
United States
10 Michigan State University East Lansing,
United States
Further study

After graduating in agriculture, if you aim to master the subject, there are immense opportunities to do a master’s or other postgraduate qualification in soil science, nutrition, animal technology, agricultural technology, and crop science. A significant number of students also do a Ph.D. as this helps in conducting path-breaking research and helps in public and private resource management or a related career in research and education.

Career roles in agriculture

With the global population rising faster than ever before, agriculture and agriculture-related careers are becoming more critical, and there are boundless job opportunities in this sector. Here are some of the top positions you can apply for  if you are a graduate in agriculture:

  • Agricultural Officer in the public sector
  • Assistant Agricultural Officer
  • An employee at fertilizer, pesticide,  private companies
  • Assistant professor
  • An officer at an airport or seaport
  • Join the state Farm Corporation
  • National Seeds Corporation of India
  • Quality Assurance Officer
  • Research Officer
  • Plantation Manager
  • Rice Breeder
  • Marketing Officer
  • Operations manager
  • Business Development Executive

In the UK (for instance) one in ten agriculture graduates works as a chartered surveyor. The other top profiles for agriculture graduates are managers and proprietors in agriculture and horticulture.

Destination Percentage
Employed 76.2
Further study 7.3
Working and studying 6.6
Unemployed 3.3
Other 6.6

Graduate destinations for agriculture

Type of work Percentage
Managers 15.1
Engineering and building 12.1
Marketing, PR and sales 9.4
Business, finance and HR 8.7
Other 54.7

Types of work entered in the UK

Salary & Pay-Scale

It is not really surprising to know that the jobs in the agriculture sector are well paid as it is this sector which acts as the pillar for our society and for us to live, all the food items, fabrics are the products of agricultural efforts. There are significantly fewer high-quality talents in the agriculture science field in the current job market, and this shortage of labour has made the salary competitive. A precision agriculture technician can earn over $48,090, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Association of Geographers.

Based on the data from PayScale and Glassdoor, agriculture jobs are well paid and count as one of the most popular jobs in the US. Here are some of the agricultural science  jobs and their average remunerations :

  • Agricultural Consultant – 81,335 USD/year
  • Farm Manager – 49,785 USD/year
  • Soil Scientist – 58,650 USD/year
  • Fish Farm Manager – 76,700 USD/year
  • Agricultural Inspector – 42,200 USD/year
  • Horticulturalist – 43,650 USD/year
  • Farmer – 41,900 USD/year

Any work done in the field of agriculture is an investment for our future generations. Think about how rice domesticated in China 9400 years ago is what sustains us even today – agricultural jobs leave a legacy like no other. If this interests you, then you may want to consider a career in Agricultural Science.

Date added
18.08.2021

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Global Ed

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