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Careers in Agriculture

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

For every passion, there’s a rewarding career in agriculture to match



The agriculture and food industry is a growing sector with demand for agri-food production estimated to rise 70 per cent by 2050.(1) As the food supply chain from farm to fork becomes more complex, so too do the jobs along the way. Many careers require post-secondary education and training. In fact, 77 per cent of food employers and 79 per cent of agriculture employers prefer their hires to have formal academic training.(1) Co-op programs or internships are also highly regarded by employers, as students gain experience in the field.


For young people about to enter the job market, there are countless ways to combine any passion with the agri-food industry and many programs to help them on the road to success. Students may be interested in any of the following career paths as examples.


RESEARCH TECHNICIAN


Do you have a passion for science and applying it in practical ways? Research technicians work in both science and agriculture, and not necessarily on the farm, developing new crop varieties, testing new fertilizers and pesticides, researching disease, and developing new ways of production.


Work may be split between an office, lab, and time in the field, allowing for diversity. Professionals find employment in government, at universities, or within private organizations, such as seed development companies or agronomic consulting businesses.


Research technicians typically require an undergraduate degree in science. You might consider:


EXAMPLE PROGRAM:

Bachelor of Science in Agriculture: Crop Science

Institution: University of Saskatchewan

Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Duration: Four Years


PROGRAM SUMMARY:

Students learn the theory and applied practice of crop science. This includes plant breeding, genetics, crop physiology, crop quality, and pest management. They enjoy careers that preserve environmental and economic sustainability through improved food production around the world.(2)


POLICY ANALYST


If problem solving is your forte, working as a policy analyst in food and agriculture could be the career for you. Policy analysts typically work for larger organizations, including all levels of government, institutions like Farm Credit Canada, or producer groups representing various types of farms.


They use their economic background to advise around issues like land use policies or trade barriers that can affect access to adequate and affordable food. They also coordinate and implement better policies and action plans for the agri-food industry.


Policy analyst positions often require an undergraduate degree with an applicable specialization. You might consider:


EXAMPLE PROGRAM:

Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: Agricultural Economics Institution: McGill University

Location: Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec

Duration: Four Years


PROGRAM SUMMARY:

Students dive into the theory and application of economics as they relate to the environment, agriculture, and the food system. They also study marketing, finance, public policy, ecology, and more.(3)


DIETITIAN


Those with a passion for science, food, and helping people often find highly rewarding careers in nutrition. Dietitians tackle nutrition-related challenges by improving efficiency in the diet, thus ensuring enhanced health and well-being. They also help individuals and communities understand the science of nutrition by providing information and advice for healthy living.

Daily tasks include assessing, planning, and advising patients or clients on healthy meals. Dietitians also address an individual’s unique needs, such as allergies, disease, weight management, budget, and more. They may work in health facilities, the food industry, or government. They may even run their own businesses.


Dietitians must complete a bachelor of science degree and undergo comprehensive training in university and on the job. You might consider:


EXAMPLE PROGRAM:

Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Food Science: Dietetics Specialization

Institution: University of Alberta

Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Duration: Four Years


PROGRAM SUMMARY:

Students study the fundamentals of food science and nutrition, including food manufacturing, preservation, storage, and distribution. Using biology, behavioural science, and physiology, students find careers ranging from lifestyle management to food quality assurance in the food industry.(4)


ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANT


Do you intend to make a difference in the world by reducing environmental impacts? Working as an environmental consultant could be in your future. These professionals help improve stability of the food system by finding better solutions for issues such as extreme drought, seasonal shifting, or clean energy access.


Environmental consultants spend their time evaluating, measuring, managing, and advising on environmental issues. Daily tasks might include designing and incorporating more efficient practices for clients’ operations, consulting on environmental policies and regulations, or working in advocacy to raise awareness.


Environmental consultants require a bachelor’s degree, but it’s also a good idea to gain relevant work experience, such as an internship or volunteer project. You might consider:


EXAMPLE PROGRAM:

Bachelor of Science in Agriculture: Environmental Sciences

Institution: Dalhousie University

Location: Truro, Nova Scotia

Duration: Four Years


PROGRAM SUMMARY:

Students examine issues and practical solutions around the environment, society, and the economy. In addition to learning the fundamentals of the core sciences, knowledge around water and resource management, ecosystems, and conservation is also gained.(5)


AGRICULTURE JOURNALIST


You don’t have to be raised on a farm to become an agriculture journalist. Curiosity and the desire to learn guide the way as you report on and write up agricultural features for print and online publication.


Research and networking to connect with the best story sources fill a large part of the ag journalist’s workday. Articles and social media blog posts may cover anything from the latest in agricultural news to markets, science recaps, technology, trade and policy, events, and more. If you have photography and video skills, even better.(6)


Journalists working in agriculture may find themselves employed full-time with ag businesses across the country or become their own boss as a freelancer working remotely and flexibly.


Agriculture journalists can hone their skills with a diploma or bachelor’s degree in communication, journalism, or agriculture communications. You might consider:


EXAMPLE PROGRAM:

Bachelor of Communication: Journalism

Institution: Mount Royal University

Location: Calgary, Alberta

Duration: Four years


PROGRAM SUMMARY:

Students learn the fundamentals of good journalism through in-class and practical professional work experiences. While developing their critical thinking abilities, they focus on a variety of skills around writing, story development, broadcasting, print and online publishing.(7)


Graduates have the skills and requirements to meet the demands within professional journalism and communications careers in any industry, including writing, reporting, interviewing, videography, photography, and more.(8)


SOW FARM MANAGER


Animal lovers who are also strong leaders might just find their niche managing a sow farm. As female hogs are housed along with their piglets during their first four weeks, sow farm managers combine excellent animal care skills with people management.


This career demands people who can handle a lot of responsibility. These managers are strong planners, action-oriented, and help the company set and achieve production goals. They’re also good communicators who work with veterinarians and other services around feed, supplies, and more to ensure the health of their animals. Daily tasks include safety and staff training, sanitation of the operation, and good record keeping.


Sow farm managers can prepare for this demanding career with a diploma or bachelor’s degree in a livestock animal agriculture related field.(9) You might consider:


EXAMPLE PROGRAM:

Diploma of Agriculture Sciences: Animal Science

Institution: Lethbridge College

Location: Lethbridge, Alberta

Duration: Two years


PROGRAM SUMMARY:

This program splits time between classrooms, labs, fields, and barns, giving student hands-on experience. Students will study finance, marketing, communications, business law, pasture and forage crops, and animal health, nutrition, and physiology.(10)


MAINTENANCE &

SERVICE TECHNICIAN


Those who possess a knack for problem solving and are mechanically inclined can enjoy successful careers in agriculture as maintenance and service technicians. Helping farmers to maintain and repair their equipment, technicians work with diesel and gasoline engines, as well as transmissions.


The workday may be largely comprised of preventative maintenance, using the latest technologies, welding, and assembly. Great for those who enjoy a change of scenery, work may involve travel from the shop setting out to clients’ fields. Farm dealers and manufacturers are always on the hunt for good technicians and the job outlook is excellent.(11)

Maintenance and service technicians can increase their employability options with an associate’s degree in industrial equipment technologies, mechanics, heavy equipment, and transport technology. You might consider:


EXAMPLE PROGRAM:

Industrial Heavy Equipment Technology Diploma

Institution: Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)

Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Duration: Two years


PROGRAM SUMMARY:

Students learn how to diagnose and safely repair machinery in the heavy equipment industry. Technical training around fluid mechanics, hydraulic systems, maintenance, and communication is divided between theory and practical hands-on learning, including local industrial field trips.(12)


The skillset acquired is highly applicable to the ag industry but also transfers to others with high demand, including mining, logging, and the energy sector.(13)


RETAIL SALES REPRESENTATIVE


People who excel in sales are all about building good relationships, implementing sales goals, and delivering superior products to their clients. Crop inputs, feed, and equipment are just some of the products sales representatives sell. They work with industry professionals, attend ongoing training programs around their products, and lead their sales teams in marketing meetings. Vendor meetings and events—including expos and fairs—can be highlights throughout the year.


Sales reps typically require a diploma or bachelor’s degree in animal science, agricultural business, agriculture technology, or related major.(14) You might consider:


EXAMPLE PROGRAM:

Diploma of Agricultural Sciences: Agribusiness

Institution: Lakeland College

Location: Vermilion, Alberta

Duration: Two years


PROGRAM SUMMARY:

Students choose from three majors: crop technology, livestock production, or marketing/communications. Studying new and future technologies, financial and risk management, negotiations and sales, and marketing, graduates develop practical skills through the development of business plans, farm operations, event planning, and agri-business competitions.(15)


By: Natalie Noble



For more information on careers in agriculture explore our Nourishing Minds publications here.








Sources


1 University of Guelph—Planning for Tomorrow 2.0 Summary Report, 2017


2 University of Saskatchewan—Crop Science Program


3 McGill University—Agriculture Economics Program


4 University of Alberta—Nutrition & Food Science General Program


5 Dalhousie University—Environmental Sciences Program



7 Mount Royal University—Program, Journalism BCMM


8 Mount Royal University—Journalism



10 Lethbridge College—Agricultural Sciences







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2 Comments


Cleaning Services
Cleaning Services
May 25, 2022

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Home tuition
Home tuition
Aug 02, 2021

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