Careers in Agriculture
Careers in Agriculture
Agriculture is an extremely diverse industry with a career interest for nearly everyone. From working hands on with animals, to advocating for the industry, to working in finance and banking, and everywhere in between, individuals are sure to find an area that fits them. But how do you narrow down what you are interested in? With all the available options, it can be extremely overwhelming to pick what’s best for you.
AgExplorer, a platform designed by the National FFA Organization, has divided the career areas within agriculture into nine distinct systems based upon individual interests and passions. The nine systems are Agribusiness Systems, Agricultural Education, Animal Systems, Biotechnology Systems, Environmental Service Systems, Food Products and Processing Systems, Natural Resource Systems, Plant Systems and Power, Structural and Technical Systems. You can utilize the resource here: https://agexplorer.ffa.org/.
While having the nine systems helps to narrow down where your interests may lie, it can still be overwhelming to see all the careers that are listed under each career system. On their website, you are able to learn more about each system, as well as visit careers and learn more about each.
Another great way to find where your career interests are is to do a job shadow with a professional in the career you are interested in. Most professionals in the industry are passionate about their jobs and hope to get others involved as well. All you have to do for this step is to find someone local in the area you care about and ask them! It can be intimidating, but it is one of the best ways to gain experience and learn more about the job you want to pursue.
Similar to job shadowing, it can be helpful to find a mentor in the field you are interested in pursuing. You can reach out to someone you know (or don’t) who is a professional in that area to ask questions, gain resources from and grow your network with. Mentors serve as a great way to learn more about the actual roles and day to day life within the position.
If you are unable to work with someone local, AgExplorer offers another great resource called Virtual Field Trips. From Ford Motor Company to Cargill, there are multiple companies that you have the opportunity to take a virtual tour of to learn more about the company and the careers that are involved in it.
Internships are another large factor in helping people figure out what they do and don’t like. And pro-tip – if you start it and don’ t like it, most only last for three months. Throughout college, students can learn if a career isn’t for them, by doing a summer internship. Another bonus of having an internship in an agricultural related field is that they are almost always available. And there are so many available, there are a number of them that go unfilled, so you are sure to find something that works for you!
Overall, finding a first career, or even a new career, doesn’t have to be scary. There are so many resources available to find something that works for you. AgExplorer is just one of many similar sites to narrow down what works with your interests. Finding a mentor, completing a job shadow, or having an internship are just a few of the ways to grow your network and gain hands-on experience in the job you want to do.