Is Farming/Seeds/Milling A Good Career Path
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Is Farming/Seeds/Milling A Good Career Path In 2024 (All you need to know)

You may wonder if a farming, seeds, or milling career is a good path for you in 2024. 

With rising global populations and increasing demand for food, jobs in agriculture remain as crucial as ever. 

However, the industry is changing rapidly, so it’s essential to understand the latest opportunities, challenges, and trends before embarking on this career route.

This article provides everything you need to know about building a career in farming, seeds, or milling in the year ahead.

We’ll look at the current job prospects, required skills and education, typical salaries and benefits, work environments, and more. 

You’ll get insightful tips directly from industry experts about standing out and succeeding as an agricultural professional today.

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Is Farming, Seeds, Milling a Good Career Path In 2024

We will examine job prospects, salaries, skills, and education to determine if the farming, seed, and milling industry is a good career path. 

Job Outlook and Prospects

Overall, the job outlook for farming, seeds, and milling careers is strong going into 2024. 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects that employment in the agricultural sector will increase by almost 3% between 2020 and 2030, adding over 75,500 new jobs. 

Openings will be driven by technological advances in machinery and scientific breakthroughs improving agricultural production.

Specifically for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts 7% growth between 2021 and 2031, faster than the national average. 

The need to meet food demands for growing populations will require more farming professionals to oversee crops and livestock. An aging workforce is also leading to more retirements and openings.

Employment of agricultural workers, including graders and sorters, will decline by 3% by 2031 as roles become more automated. 

However, specialized technicians and scientists in food science, biotechnology, and sustainability are seeing much stronger demand.

Overall, the future remains bright for passionate, hard-working individuals who want to build careers in agriculture. But you must be strategic and flexible to adapt to industry shifts.

Essential Skills and Education

A common misconception is that anyone can work in agriculture with minimal education or experience. Modern farming and related fields require diverse “hard” and “soft” skills.

Technically, depending on your specialty, you’ll need working knowledge of science, engineering, machinery, and more. 

Expertise in biology, chemistry, genetics, nutrition, biotech, sustainability, and data analysis is precious.

But you also need strong interpersonal and business skills to manage diverse teams, interact with partners and vendors, understand regulations, and make sound financial decisions. 

Excellent communication is critical whether you’re negotiating contracts, explaining technical specifics, or leading employee training.

Regarding education, most managerial or technical roles require at least a bachelor’s degree in agriculture science, crop science, animal science, agribusiness management, or related majors. 

Many prefer master’s degrees for upper-level positions. Skilled trade workers like equipment operators may only need an associate’s degree or certificate from a community college.

No matter your education level, expect extensive on-the-job training for industry-specific skills in livestock management, precision agriculture, food safety protocols, and operating specialized machinery. Mentorships and apprenticeships are highly valued.

Typical Salaries and Benefits

Salaries for agricultural professionals vary based on your exact role, level of education, years of experience, and location.

But overall wages are competitive with similar jobs in other industries.

According to BLS data, the median annual pay for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers was $58,970 in 2021. 

The lowest 10% earned under $38,790, while the highest 10% earned over $114,510 annually.

For agricultural technicians like plant scientists, animal breeders, and pest control advisors, median pay ranged from $39,950 to $48,630 annually. Food scientists earned a median of $65,840.

Common benefits include health insurance, retirement savings plans, paid vacation and holidays, sick leave, disability insurance, and more, depending on employer policies. 

Larger corporate farms and food production companies tend to offer the most robust compensation packages.

Many agricultural professionals live in employer-provided housing on rural farms or may receive housing allowances. 

Those working for family operations also benefit from subsidized housing, meals, vehicles, and other perks.

Work Environments

Agriculture careers encompass diverse work environments ranging from sprawling outdoor crop fields and livestock pastures to cutting-edge laboratories using biotech and automation.

Farmers and ranchers spend long hours on tracts of land in remote rural settings. Work is physically demanding, often requiring lifting, bending, kneeling, and maneuvering heavy machinery.

Days start extremely early when tending to animals and overseeing seasonal crop planting or harvesting.

Managers and technicians may split time between outdoor production facilities and climate-controlled offices or labs. 

Prepare to get your hands dirty while analyzing data, making calls, filing reports, and attending meetings.

Specialized scientists largely work regular weekday schedules in clean, professional settings. 

Food scientists utilize wet chemistry labs and test kitchens to enhance safety, quality, and production efficiency. 

Sustainability experts may travel to audit and certify agricultural practices around the globe.

Regardless of your specialty, be ready to occasionally work evenings, weekends, and holidays during critical harvests or production periods. Schedule flexibility is vital in this fast-paced industry.

How to Get Started in Farming, Seeds, Milling Career Path

If a career in farming, seeds, milling, or related specialties sounds appealing, here are some tips to begin:

  • Enroll in an agricultural degree program that aligns with your interests. Combine with business courses for maximum versatility.
  • Complete internships every summer to gain real-world experience and make professional connections.
  • Research companies offering formal training programs or apprenticeships to accelerate your learning.
  • Attend industry conferences and join professional associations to build your network.
  • Consider volunteering or working part-time on a local farm before fully committing.
  • Sharpen needed skills like machinery operation, data analysis, foreign languages, and more.
  • Talk to farmers and other agricultural professionals about the realities of the work.
  • Start small like managing a greenhouse before running an entire farm.
  • Develop a business plan if launching your own operation.

Like any career, the agricultural sector will evolve with new technologies, regulations, and consumer preferences. 

Understand the latest developments to position yourself for success:

1. Sustainability

Eco-friendly farming is now mainstream, driven by consumer demand and climate change. 

Expertise in organics, reduced waste, water conservation, regenerative techniques, and energy efficiency is highly valued.

2. Technology

Precision agriculture, automation, AI, predictive analytics, sensors, robotics, drones, GPS, and more are transforming production. Technical aptitude is essential to leverage these tools.

3. Globalization

Markets, supply chains, and production operate globally. Fluency in key foreign languages like Spanish and Mandarin makes you more competitive.

4. Consolidation

Farms and food companies continue to consolidate and corporatize. Be prepared to work for large multifaceted businesses, not just small family farms.

5. Regulations 

Government oversight around safety, sustainability, discrimination, immigration, and more continues to intensify. Stay current on policies impacting your specialty.

The good news? These changes present exciting new career possibilities for motivated professionals who stay ahead of the curve.


With dedication and hard work, a rewarding career awaits in this essential global industry. 

Use the insights in this article to decide if farming, seeds, milling, or related fields are the right path forward for you in 2024 and beyond. 

The future of our food supply depends on passionate professionals focused on feeding the world sustainably.