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Agribusiness Careers - Open Education Online

Agribusiness Careers

The complexity of modern farming and intense competition nationally and internationally requires knowledgeable and skilled manpower in many facets of the agribusiness industry. As a result, the diversity of rewarding careers available in agribusiness is enormous.

The opportunities are wide and broad all throughout the agribusiness supply chain and that includes fields like finance, sales, marketing, management, government, education, and many more. Below are listed 10 agribusiness careers in these fields, deemed to be most rewarding in the modern agribusiness market for all levels of agribusiness professionals.

Agribusiness Analyst

An agribusiness analyst conducts financial researchers, analyses the information, makes market forecasts, and forwards it to the company to be used for making correct and timely decisions across all aspects of their operations. Agribusiness analyst is thus a reputed and high-level career option as it requires the qualifications of the financial analyst as well as a market analyst.

As an agribusiness analyst, you would be studying the trends and changes in the agribusiness industry in terms of prices, investments, yield, and policy.

One of the major responsibilities of an agribusiness analyst would be to use software for analyzing, processing, modeling, and representing the data as graphs and reports. You will also be required to provide suggestions and expertise in applying the information and models into actual crop production, product selection, pricing, and sales operations.

As a result, a graduate or post-graduate degree in agribusiness or related fields along with excellent researching, problem-solving, communication, and IT knowledge is a must to land your career as an agribusiness analyst.

Agribusiness Manager

Instead of a single specified task, an agribusiness manager has a broad range of tasks in hand. Depending on the scale of the company or a farm employing this position, the key responsibilities include, but are not restricted to, managing and hiring related employees, planning budget, supervising the sales of farm products, procuring and managing equipment, as well as on-field tasks on the farm.

Overall, agribusiness managers make sure the farm or the company functions smoothly and efficiently on a day to day basis and consequently, remain productive and profitable in the long run.
As a result, in addition to academic education, a career as an agribusiness manager requires prominent working experience along with excellent communicational and decision-making skills.

Agricultural Appraiser

An agricultural appraiser, also known as a farm appraiser, is a professional who is responsible for assessing the monetary value of agricultural items, farms, farmlands, and companies. In particular, farm appraisers are hired during regular assessments, financial planning, sanctioning loans, buying, and selling.  Agricultural appraisal is a challenging task that requires a broad scope of knowledge, ranging from policy and regulations, pricing of commodities, the projected supply, and even the land quality and productivity. A state-issued certification is mostly required for self-employment as well as employment under appraisal firms, insurance companies, government agencies, and agricultural lending companies.  Agricultural science knowledge, a business degree, as well as mathematical and analyzing skills are necessary to be a qualified agricultural appraiser.

Agriculture Policy Analyst

As the name suggests, Agriculture Policy Analysts are professionals with specialization in the policy sector related to agriculture. The duties related to this job title include studying and analyzing national as well as international policies and regulations which have a direct or an indirect effect on the activities and operations of the company or the organization. Additionally, expert policy analysts are also contacted and employed by governmental and inter-governmental bodies in developing and reviewing policies related to agriculture.

Although agriculture policy analysts are often hired by large agriculture and agribusiness companies, government, NGOs, and INGOs, – through these agencies – they also work closely with small level farmers and farm owners in consulting and assisting in agricultural policy.

Agribusiness Extension Agent

Extension agents are assigned with the task of educating a target audience like farmers, students, or the general public about topics surrounding the agribusiness supply chain, crop production, animal production, nutrition, and agriculture in general. To do so, extension agents are frequently responsible for researching the key concerns and issues and developing specific educational programs for a specific audience.
The major employers of this position are land-grant universities, government agencies, non-profit organizations as well as commercial companies. Extension agents are also employed as Youth program coordinators whereby they are involved in youth development programs in the field of agriculture. Clearly, a strong presentation skill, public speaking ability, project coordination skills are very important along with a detailed knowledge of the subject through an academic bachelor’s or a master’s degree, depending on the scale of the educational program.

Agriculture Accountant

The agriculture sector has transformed massively from a simple farming practice and continues to face an ever-changing business environment with an increasing focus on the environment, changes in government regulations, and subsidy regimes. Consequently, the demand and necessity for accountants specializing in the agribusiness industry are also increasing.
As an agriculture accountant, you are primarily responsible for general bookkeeping, tax compliance, implementing optimal accounting systems, auditing, and other accounting tasks within the company. Furthermore, accountants in agricultural firms are also expected to review the overall operational cycle from an economic point of view and make necessary adjustments and recommendations, like in terms of spending, cost-efficiency, and policy compliance.

An academic degree in Agribusiness is ideal for launching a career as an agriculture accountant. Although an accountant certification may or may not be required depending upon the employer, it is always beneficial along with relevant working experience. Agriculture accountants may be employed by accounting firms, banks, and financial institutions, government agencies, agricultural companies, or they may also be self-employed.

Agribusiness Purchasing Agent and Agribusiness Salesperson

 A purchasing agent and a salesperson in agribusiness are two separate job titles and career options. However, the overall qualifications and skills required for the position, as well as, potential employers for both these positions are very similar to each other.

As an agriculture purchasing agent, you are responsible for buying agricultural products like grain, crops, and equipment for further processing and resale, or to be used in other farm operations. Purchasing agents are responsible for monitoring the inventory of the company, recognizing demands, negotiating with suppliers, and making purchases.

On the other hand, an agribusiness salesperson sells agricultural products, tools, farm machinery, and equipment, as well as agricultural services. This job comes with the responsibility of making contact with potential customers, linking the customers with products, and making sales.

Traditionally, both these career options required intense on-field visits and travels. However, the modern business environment has enabled an office working environment for these jobs through emails, phone calls, and networking.

As with all other purchasing and selling agents, this career path in agriculture requires strong inter-personal, marketing, negotiating, and financial skills, along with a strong knowledge of the agribusiness industry and agronomics through agricultural degrees and working experience.

Agribusiness Educator

Agribusiness educators include educators of agribusiness at all levels including university-level professors, college teachers, or even lower-level educators. Agribusiness professor is a reputed, rewarding, and sought after profession assigned with a noble task of empowering and educating future change-makers, innovators, and leaders in the agriculture sector. This can also be the perfect career choice if you are interested in contributing to the scientific community through research and publication.
However, to be an agribusiness professor, you must possess a deep knowledge and understanding of the subject matter along with a strong communicating and educating ability. This should generally be achieved through a master’s or Ph.D. level education in the subject along with substantial working experience in the agriculture and business sector.

Farmer

Many students enrolled in entry-level agribusiness courses are farmers and farm owners trying to enhance their knowledge and expertise through education. However, farming is one of the most overlooked career options by general students trying to pursue their career in agribusiness. For someone with an entrepreneurship mindset and keen interest in agriculture, farming can be a rewarding and fulfilling career as it is hugely in demand in the modern agricultural economy. Both small and large scale farming is hugely incentivized and promoted by governments and organizations across all countries. Skillful and determined individuals have a higher chance of being successful farmers in the modern economy by using agribusiness and agricultural knowledge through innovation and adaptation.

Logistics and Supply Chain Management

As a logistics and supply chain manager employed by an agricultural company or a farm, you are responsible for developing, implementing as well as overseeing the supply chain strategy. You will be driven by the goal of improving the efficiency and productivity of the company while obtaining high-quality material and reducing costs. The specific tasks include keeping records of inventory, ensuring quality and safety standards, overseeing the transportation of supplies and products, and supervising the team.
Project management, decision-making, and problem-solving skills are essential for this career option along with a clear understanding of the supply chain process, business aspect, and sound knowledge of management systems and software.

Most supply chain managers in agricultural firms have an agribusiness degree along with relevant experience working at lower levels of the supply chain management team.