Agriculture Career Options that Pay Well
Agriculture may not be the highest paying field, but there are several jobs that have median incomes greater than $60,000 and pay well for the level of education that they require. Here we list a few of these job options with their median salaries from 2016 and expected job growth.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Soil and Plant Scientists||$62,300||7%|
|Farmers, Ranchers and Other Agricultural Managers||$66,360||-2% (Decline)|
|Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists||$62,560||19%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Information for Agriculture Jobs that Pay Well
The BLS states that the top 10% of animal scientists made more than $126,000 in 2016. These scientists specialize in studying various farm animals and work closely with their owners to improve the quality of these animals. For example, they may study ways to improve the quality of meat in beef cattle or increase the quantity of milk produced by dairy cows. This involves studying ways to lower death rates and disease and promote growth and development in these animals. Animal scientists need at least a bachelor's degree, but some may hold as high as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
Soil and Plant Scientists
Soil and plant scientists primarily study ways to improve crop growth. Soil scientists focus on the composition and quality of the soil and how it affects growth, while plant scientists look at new ways to control pests, disease, weeds and other factors that could negatively affect plant growth. Soil scientists also develop ways to conserve soil for future use and monitor the overall environmental health of a particular area for its desired land use. According to the BLS, the top 10% of soil and plant scientists made more than $114,000 in 2016. They, like animal scientists, need at least a bachelor's degree, but many have more advanced degrees in the field.
Farmers, Ranchers and Other Agricultural Managers
Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers are likely to be paid better than most people think, with the top 10% earning more than $126,000 in 2016, per the BLS. These workers are responsible for overseeing and coordinating most of the activities on their farm or ranch. This requires them to maintain financial records, oversee the selling of their products, make decisions concerning the raising of crops and/or livestock, repair or purchase farming equipment and more. Most of these managers learn how to run a farm through work experience, but they typically have a high school diploma.
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists
Market research analysts and marketing specialists may specialize in studying the agriculture market and looking at potential sales for agricultural products, but they may work in other industries as well. The BLS states that the top 10% of these professionals made more than $120,000 in 2016, as they monitored and predicted sales trends and collected data to determine who might buy a product and find out what their competitors offer. They use statistical software to analyze this data and create detailed reports for clients and management. They typically need a bachelor's or master's degree.
Like market research analysts and marketing specialists, purchasing managers may or may not work in the field of agriculture. Those who do oversee the buying of agricultural products or related services for their organization. They usually evaluate and choose suppliers and products, supervise staff and negotiate contracts. They also attend conferences to stay updated on developments in the industry and work to resolve any issue that may arise with a particular vendor. Purchasing managers' salaries vary by the industry that they work in, but the top 10% took home salaries just below $180,000 in 2016. They must hold a bachelor's degree and have some work experience.