Certainly the number of small family owned and operate farms seems to continue to decline. However, employment opportunities still seem to be good on large commercially operated farms. In addition, individuals may find employment opportunities with less traditional agricultural related employment prospects.
The hours and nature of agricultural jobs can vary …
Some individuals find it necessary to travel from place to place, following the work stream. This is very common among migrant workers who travel around the nation to harvest citrus fruits when they are coming into season. The downside to this is that the work is cyclical and it means time away from home and family.
Other types of work such as the raising of livestock and poultry can be year around
Even in employment occupations where crops are only raised at a specific time of year, there is still year around work that must be done in order to maintain the equipment and prepare the fields for the next planting season.
Employment Prospects for Agricultural Jobs
There are three main divisions of agricultural related jobs:
- Primary agriculture
- Primary Agricultural Jobs
These are primarily made up of small, usually family owned, farms. These farms may produce grain and vegetable or fruit crops or be set up for the raising of livestock and poultry.
Some areas of the country have traditionally been geared towards the production of one or the other …
- California, Florida & the valley area of South Texas – production of citrus fruits
- Mid America – is known as the heart of farm country
- States such as Iowa, Kansas & Nebraska – typically produce vegetables and wheat
- Texas, Oklahoma – lead the country in the raising of cattle, swine and poultry.
Some individuals find employment on large commercially operated farms that grow and raise everything from livestock to vegetables to dairy and eggs.
Although it is not as commonly linked to agriculture related jobs, there are also a number of job opportunities in plant and flower nurseries.
Again, these may either be small family operated businesses or large commercially operated businesses that supply the bulk of large home improvement stores.
Fishermen supply the nation with bulk quantities of fish, lobster, shrimp and other seafood. Many individuals employed in this field either work for small businesses operating off the coasts or own their own vessel and are self employed.
A small number of persons make their living by working as professional sports fishermen, traveling from one tournament to another.
In areas of the country known for great fishing, there are employment opportunities for professional fishing guides. Again, this may either be working as a self employed guide or employed by a private resort or fishing charter service.
These are commonly found with the nation’s forest services, dedicated to the preservation of the various forests scattered throughout the US.
Individuals working in these fields may either be engaged in maintaining forests, preventing theft and destruction, working on putting out and preventing forest fires or re-growth. The harvesting of timber tends to be extremely controversial; however this is an agricultural related occupation.
Jobs in Government
Employment related to the field of agriculture can be found with the government in such positions as fishing and game wardens, jobs at state operated fish hatcheries, as well as state and national forestry departments. Perhaps the most well known federal job opportunities for the agricultural occupation are with the Food and Drug Administration.
Some positions can be found in education related occupations at high schools as well as colleges and universities.
Job Search for Agricultural Jobs
The job search methods utilized to look for agricultural related jobs can vary greatly …
Word of mouth, networking and unions can play a tremendous role in finding jobs, especially with certain fields such as fruit crops.
Other opportunities, such as those that are government related and open with commercial operations, tend to be listed in with employment agencies, recruiting services and classified newspaper advertisements. Small, family owned operations generally either list job openings in the newspaper or post a help wanted sign.
Cover Letters for Agricultural Jobs
Some agricultural employment openings may not require the use of a cover letter at all, especially if the work is more labor intensive.
It never hurts, however to include a cover letter
Regardless of the type of job opening for which the candidate is applying, the cover letter should focus on the solid experience and knowledge the applicant can bring to the employer.
Resumes for Agricultural Jobs
The type of resume used when applying for agricultural jobs truly depends on the specific job opening.
For example …
- Education related jobs tend to require a curriculum vitae resume
- Supervisory jobs do better with either a chronological or combination resume
- More labor intensive jobs require a functional resume
Qualifications & Training for Agricultural Jobs
The amount of qualifications and training required to enter this field varies greatly …
- Smaller operations – require a high school diploma and are offer on the job training
- Government – generally require at least some college education, usually a Bachelor’s degree.
- More advanced occupations – will require the attainment of a Master’s degree
- Education facilities – minimum of a four-year degree, generally a graduate degree
Wages and salary can vary a lot. Some positions are only minimum wage, but come with benefits some as room and board.
Other jobs offer average salaries, while still yet; others related to the supervision of agricultural tasks can be quite high.