Agriculture is a diverse field with many opportunities for employment. These opportunities range from manual labor jobs to positions for people with high levels of scientific expertise. Agricultural careers can be focused on one aspect of the discipline, such as domestic animals or wildlife, or they can be focused on several different aspects of agricultural life, such as ecology, wildlife and economic concerns.
Agricultural scientists help to develop and maintain the food supply through research and development. They study crops and ways to produce them, to increase both the quantity and quality of food. Some agricultural scientists develop non-consumption uses for crops, such as using corn to create ethanol fuel.
Research positions generally require a master's degree or a Ph.D. in agricultural science, biology, chemistry or another scientific field. Many research scientists work in universities or for large companies. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says the number of jobs in this field will increase by 16 percent by 2018. The BLS says the median salary for agricultural scientists was $59,520 in May 2008.
Agricultural managers operate large-scale farms, ranches, nurseries and timber tracts. They may perform hands-on duties; they also typically manage the financial operations of the farm, which can be complex in large-scale operations. Managers must have extensive knowledge of laws regarding agriculture, because they are responsible for purchasing herbicides and pesticides to be used in agricultural production.
Most agricultural managers need a business degree with an emphasis in agricultural management. The BLS expects little to no growth in jobs in this field through 2018. Payscale.com reports that agricultural managers made an average salary of $29,337 to $48,760 as of October 2010.
Foresters work to preserve natural resources, such as forests and range lands. The BLS says the duties of foresters vary. They may make plans to regrow forests devastated by fire or logging. They also manage the ongoing health of the forest. Foresters may also participate in government or private research.
A bachelor's degree is usually required to work in this field. A degree in forestry, biology or a similar field such as horticulture may suffice for employment. The BLS expects the number of forestry jobs to grow by 12 percent through 2018. According to the BLS, foresters made a median annual salary of $53,750 in May 2008.
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