Yes, agricultural chemicals is a good career path and there are plenty of reasons to think so. If you are enthusiastic about studying inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry to solve a myriad of agriculture-related issues, agricultural chemicals might be the right career path for you.
What makes agricultural chemicals a fascinating career path is that it allows you to apply theoretical concepts to practical lab experiments. Besides, agricultural chemicals offers a broad range of entry-level and high-paying job opportunities for both undergraduate students and people with a degree.
Below is everything you need to know about agricultural chemistry to decide if agricultural chemicals is a good career path for you.
What Is the Agricultural Chemicals Career Path?
Agricultural chemistry incorporates different branches of chemistry, especially organic chemistry and biochemistry, and aims to solve issues related to agricultural production, processing of raw products, and environmental monitoring. Agricultural chemistry also plays a key role in understanding the causes and effects of different chemical reactions associated with plant and animal growth and development.
Without agricultural chemicals, it would be hardly possible to formulate or manufacture chemicals that are both safe and effective for plants, animals, and our environment. Therefore, agricultural chemistry is responsible for food safety as well.
In addition, the agricultural chemicals career path focuses on improving soil fertility to either maintain or increase agricultural yield. In the meantime, experts in the field work on enhancing the quality of the crops.
What Job Opportunities Are Available in Agricultural Chemicals?
The agricultural chemicals industry covers a broad range of topics and, therefore, aims to solve numerous agricultural problems. For that reason, there are plenty of job and career opportunities you can pursue as a professional working in agricultural chemistry.
Job positions in the agricultural chemicals industry include Agricultural Chemist, Agricultural Engineer, Agricultural Economist, Agricultural Sales Representative, Agricultural Researcher, Microbiologist, Biochemist, Agricultural and Foot Scientist, Soil and Plant Scientist, Agricultural Lobbyist, Commercial Horticulturist, Farm Manager, Risk Management Analyst, and summer job opportunities.
Agricultural chemistry offers both entry-level and high-paid job positions, some of which are listed below.
Agricultural chemists are responsible for formulating and developing new chemicals to improve the quality of crops and increase yield while preventing pests and environmental issues. Agricultural chemists also conduct research and analysis to determine the chemical properties of foods and aim to produce safe food with nutritional value.
Agricultural engineers focus on solving problems associated with agricultural machinery. They ensure that the equipment works efficiently. Besides, agricultural engineers attempt to design and construct agricultural equipment to improve the quality of produced goods. Some agricultural engineers also deal with pollution and other environmental issues to keep our planet safe.
Agricultural economics focuses on management-related or marketing jobs in farms and agribusiness firms. So, they do not necessarily need a degree in agricultural chemistry. However, basic knowledge of agricultural chemicals is a huge plus. The primary responsibilities of an agricultural economist are developing marketing plans, conducting financial analysis, setting up optimal production schedules based on the market size and location, managing operations, and helping the company make analytical decisions.
Agricultural Sales Representative
Another job opportunity in the agricultural chemicals industry is working as an agricultural sales representative. An agricultural salesperson is responsible for selling tools, equipment, machinery, and other agriculture-related products. To sell the products, sales representatives generate leads, connect to potential customers, and make suitable offers.
Just like any other science, agricultural chemistry offers fascinating career opportunities for those enthusiastic about research. Agricultural scientists or agricultural researchers study various aspects of farm animals and plants to identify the factors affecting farm production. The primary objective of agricultural researchers is to improve the efficiency of farms while ensuring that living organisms and plants deal minimal damage to our environment.
Agricultural companies often hire professionals specializing in agricultural microbiology to study the beneficial and harmful bacteria and fungi that interact with their farm animals and crops. Microbiologists also test and verify the effectiveness of already existing or newly developed pesticides. They also check how these chemicals affect public health. Besides, microbiologists working in the agriculture sector ensure that the global demand for food is met in an eco-friendly way.
Biochemistry plays a crucial role in agriculture. Agricultural biochemists apply the knowledge of both chemistry and biochemistry to improve agricultural production and the processing of raw products into foods and drinks. Besides, biochemists working in the agriculture sector often develop genetically engineered crops that can withstand drought and various diseases.
Agricultural and Food Scientist
Agricultural and food scientists are responsible for conducting research and analysis with the aim to increase agricultural output and enhance the sustainability of farm animals and crops. They typically work on the development of new and improved ways to produce, process, and package food products while optimizing the delivery of the goods to the customers.
Soil and Plant Scientist
Soil and plant scientists focus specifically on soil composition and how different types of soil affect plant growth and yield. Soil and plant scientists are hired to conduct research and experiments and come up with optimal ways to increase plant production while controlling weeds and pests in an eco-friendly manner.
Agricultural lobbyists are responsible for ensuring that government officials are aware of the interests and needs of agricultural industries, companies, organizations, and communities. They represent the interests of farms, companies, or other individuals in the agriculture sector and speak with clients and government officials to solve agriculture-related problems. Agricultural lobbyists influence how existing policies are revised and new policies are developed in a positive way.
Commercial horticulturists are involved in the complete production process of crops: from cultivating and harvesting to packaging and selling plants. As a commercial horticulturist, you are responsible for managing weed, pest, and disease programs to grow healthy plants. Some of the other responsibilities of an agricultural horticulturist include checking compliance with regulations and legislation, analyzing horticultural yields, developing new food products, modifying business plans as needed, supervising staff, and training new members.
Farm managers are hired to ensure that the business runs smoothly. As a farm manager, you may be asked to focus on specific product lines or work on managing animal, dairy, and crop production at the same time. Farm managers are responsible for planning production while considering the finances, buying supplies, arranging maintenance and repair of farm machinery and equipment, organizing training sessions, monitoring animal and plant health, and ensuring that health and safety standards are satisfied.
Risk Management Analyst
Risk analysis and management is crucial in the agricultural industry as there are many uncertainties in weather, yields, prices, global markets, and government regulations. As a risk analyst working in the agricultural sector, you will choose optimal solutions and alternatives to minimize financial impact while maintaining product quality and production.
Summer Job Opportunities
If you are an undergraduate student or you have already earned a bachelor’s degree and you are looking for a summer job, agricultural chemistry offers numerous part-time and summer job opportunities for research assistants. Along with enabling you to earn some money, working as a research assistant at an agricultural company allows you to gain experience and various skills that will make you a perfect candidate for high-paid job positions in the future.
How Much Do Professionals in Agricultural Chemicals Earn?
The average salary of a professional working in the agricultural chemicals field in the United States is $58,000 a year, which is approximately $28 an hour. According to ZipRecruiter, agricultural chemicals professionals make as low as $20,500 (~ $10/hour) and as high as $119,500 a year (~ $58/hour).
Note that the average annual salary of agricultural chemicals professionals varies based on their job roles, responsibilities, level of experience, and location.
What Do You Need to Become an Agricultural Chemicals Professional?
Like most scientific fields, a career path in agricultural chemicals requires a four-year college degree (a bachelor’s degree) in topics such as chemistry, biology, biochemistry, food science, computer engineering, or electrical engineering.
Although a master’s degree or Ph.D. is not a must to start working in the agricultural industry, some high-paying companies and job positions require at least one of these degrees or a specialized diploma is required.
If you are motivated to be hired for a high-paid job at a top-notch agricultural company, you will need to take a few extra steps. Ideally, you should complete a professional internship that typically lasts for two years and get licensed in your state/country.
What Do Professionals Specializing in Agricultural Chemicals Do?
Generally speaking, people working in agricultural chemicals aim to develop new and improved ways to plant, grow, harvest, and process crops. They also ensure that the crops are protected from weeds, pests, and rodents to maximize yield. The same applies to farm animals.
Besides, agricultural chemistry professionals focus on formulating eco-friendly chemicals and approaching various agricultural problems in a way that our environment is kept safe.
In addition, people specializing in agricultural chemicals conduct basic experiments and advanced research to improve the quality and yield of crops while satisfying government regulations.
What Is the Job Satisfaction in Agricultural Chemicals?
If you truly care about the quality of food products people consume, pursuing a career path in agricultural chemicals might be the right choice for you. As a professional working in agricultural chemicals, you will ensure that farm animals and field crops are grown and processed in a way that they are safe for human consumption. Being able to make food products healthier and production processes more eco-friendly can be hugely rewarding.
Besides, working in agricultural chemicals allows you to conduct research and create new or improved products. Undoubtedly, offering innovative solutions to global agricultural issues feels insanely gratifying.
What Are the Benefits of Choosing a Career in Agricultural Chemicals?
Being aware of the benefits of working in agricultural chemicals is essential for deciding if it is the right career path for you.
Just like any other scientific field, agricultural chemistry requires great attention to detail and time management skills. And if this is not something you are good at, working in agricultural chemicals can definitely take your skills to the next level.
Besides, choosing a career in agricultural chemicals provides you with networking. As a matter of fact, building connections with other people specializing in agricultural chemistry is a great way to increase your visibility and grow as a professional.
Another benefit of working as a professional in agricultural chemicals is that you can literally change the lives of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people for the better. This can be done by increasing food production and quality while minimizing environmental impact to keep our planet safe.
Last but not least, choosing agricultural chemicals as your career path means that you will get a chance to conduct research and perform experiments that are focused on developing something new. If you are enthralled by scientific innovations and discoveries, this might be the right career for you.