Agriculture is the sector of the economy that produces food by growing crops and raising livestock. There are many career opportunities as work involves a variety of fields depending upon the types of animals raised, crops planted and how large a farm is. There are also careers that involve roles which support farmers in their work with such tasks as harvesting and working as contractors. These various job roles have varying rates of pay.
Farm and Ranch Management
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), farmers and ranchers who handle a variety of livestock made up 45 percent of the total workers in agriculture. Farmers and ranchers oversee the feeding, raising and selling of various livestock such as cows, horses, pigs and other animals. They must handle record keeping, maintain housing for livestock, immunize the animals against disease and examine them for health issues. Their yearly salary can fluctuate with the price of, and consumer demand for, their products. Farmers and ranchers earned an average of $775 a week in 2008, according to the BLS.
Agricultural scientists closely study the various crops grown by farmers, making sure that crops are safe and trying to improve their overall quality. They also study ways to keep insects and disease from destroying crops. Many work in the area of biotechnology, where scientists work to alter the genetic makeup of plants to make them resistant to disease and grow more efficiently. According to the BLS, the average yearly wage for this field in 2008 was $59,520).
These individuals work in various roles in planting and harvesting crops, tending livestock, applying chemicals to crops and helping in farm maintenance. In this role you would assist in keeping records on animals, repair structures and fencing along with feeding and related duties. Some are promoted in time to be supervisors over crews. The BLS reports that the average weekly salary for laborers was $459 as of 2008.
Purchasing Managers and Agents
As a production buyer, manager or agent you will be involved in buying various agricultural products for a particular company or agency. Your goal is to get the best quality items and related services for the lowest possible price. This job requires examining different suppliers of farm products for the quality of their goods and prices charged. According to the BLS, the average yearly wage was $49,670 as of 2008.