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Agriculture is the area of study and practice that allows individuals to cultivate crops and breed animals for the purposes of food, fuel, material or health. Modern agriculture requires an understanding of various systems and methods on order to effectively produce high yields while maintaining quality, including management, operations, production and other areas of knowledge that are useful in the field.
Education and Experience
Individuals pursuing an education in agriculture will typically pursue at minimum bachelor's degree. Education will be a mix of science and managerial courses, as well as provide understanding of agricultural equipment, methodologies and practices shown to improve yield, maintain soil nutrition and so on. Programs generally take four years to complete, and it is recommended that interested students take high school courses in science, particularly biology and chemistry, as well as perform well in mathematics.
An agriculture curriculum may include courses in:
- Agricultural Management
- Environmental Law
- Animal Husbandry
- Organic Farming
- Animal Physiology
All states have a land grant college that provides education in local and general agriculture. Most of these programs provide excellent education opportunities, though those located in more active agricultural regions may provide additional resources and opportunities, such as research programs and internships that may help develop early practical experience alongside a formal education.
Additional education resources are available through the Future Farmers of America, which works to promote agricultural education development throughout the United States.
Individuals with a bachelor degree in agriculture may pursue a variety of positions, though most will seek out employment on farms or ranches. With enough experience, promotion to managerial positions is likely, with such supervisory roles requiring management of teams and multiple areas in order to continue efficient farming and ranching. Graduate level education may hasten promotion and allow for immediate entry into the workforce as a manager.
Others may choose to enter related fields, such as:
- Agricultural Inspection
- Agricultural Equipment Development
- Agricultural Supplies Sales
- Farm Credit
Agriculture is expected to maintain average growth over the next decade as the introduction of new technologies allows for higher yields, more efficient breeding and more, while maintaining or reducing additional labor.
Organizations such as the American Farm Bureau Federation and the American Society of Agriculture and Biological Engineers maintain efforts to affect policy change in order to make agriculture and related endeavors more profitable and continue sustainability across generations.
As an additional resource, you can also read our blog post titled Top College Degrees for Animal Lovers for more information.