8 different jobs within agriculture (Examples and salaries)

Updated 30 June 2023

The agricultural sector can present a wide variety of job types and opportunities. These range from the physical process of food production to sales, administrative and engineering work. Knowing what the various opportunities within the agricultural sector are can help you decide whether this is the right sector for you. In this article, we present the various jobs within agriculture, in addition to their types and expected salaries.

Related: Types of Work Environments (Plus How To Improve Yours)

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Types of jobs within agriculture

Jobs within agriculture require many different skills to carry out various functions. Below are some career paths within agriculture that you might consider:

Manual jobs

A lot of agricultural work is done manually. This might include sowing and planting, harvesting and fruit picking, animal care and equipment maintenance and operation. Although a lot of agricultural work is automated, there are some tasks that require manual skills. Agricultural workers can specialise in the use of certain machines and tools, and these often require significant skill and physical strength. There are also some less-skilled manual jobs within agriculture that can be a good introduction to the sector.

Engineering jobs

Farmers and other agricultural workers use a wide variety of machines to carry out tasks. Many of these machines are specially designed for use in agriculture. Engineers design, develop and maintain these machines. This also extends to installing these machines and equipment, in addition to their manufacture. Some of the more common engineering specialisations for agriculture include mechanical, structural and environmental engineering.

Related: Agriculture engineer: job description and requirements

Scientific jobs

Certain scientists may choose to specialise in agricultural work. These individuals could come from a background in biology, chemistry, zoology, geology and other areas of focus. Their work is usually based on research, product development, designing new systems or monitoring plants and livestock.

Sales jobs

Like most sectors of the economy, agriculture needs professionals who can sell its final products. There are also salespeople who sell to farmers and farm managers. These individuals may specialise in selling seeds and animal feed or other products like fertiliser. Good salespeople know the strengths of their product, how best to sell it and to whom. They know how to handle budgetary requirements and can work with their clients toward stated goals.

Related: 15 Sales Jobs That Pay Well

Administrative jobs

The broad range of professions and specialisations within the agricultural sector need dedicated individuals to keep everything running effectively. This is the role of administrative personnel, who provide support to farmers, engineers, labourers, scientists and others. Administrators manage communication, client relations, filing systems and databases. This can also extend to accounting, bookkeeping and insurance services.

Jobs in agriculture

Below is a list of eight jobs within agriculture that you might consider. Each of the five types listed above has been included in this list at least once:

1. Farm worker

National average salary: £18,857 per year

Primary duties: Farm workers are responsible for looking after livestock, planting and sowing, tending crops and operating various agricultural machinery. The daily duties of a farm worker may differ considerably, especially between seasons. Their various duties may include feeding farm animals, operating milking machinery, ploughing fields, sowing seeds, harvesting crops, maintaining farm buildings and looking after farmland. They may perform these duties manually, whereas others involve machines and equipment operation. Typically, a lot of the work is done outdoors and is going to require the use of protective equipment.

2. Purchasing agent

National average salary: £23,856 per year

Primary duties: Purchasing agents are sales professionals who buy and sell agricultural products and related raw materials at wholesale. These can be sold to farmers or on their behalf and involves a lot of communication between agricultural professionals and others. Purchasing agents often work towards particular goals or quotas and typically manage several clients simultaneously. They can buy and sell grain, fertiliser, dairy products, animal feed and other such agricultural products. Purchasing agents can also evaluate the quality of a producer's goods and practices, negotiate prices, sign contracts and arrange deliveries.

3. Warehouse manager

National average salary: £29,041 per year

Primary duties: Warehouse managers are responsible for the various storage facilities use for holding agricultural products before they reach supermarket shelves. This is an important administrative task that requires an organised mindset and an aptitude for numbers and efficiency. The job involves a lot of communication and coordination with farmers, distribution centres, supermarkets and manufacturing plants. Typically, a warehouse manager also has good leadership and managerial skills, as they're responsible for the work of others. They plan and manage the dispatch and receipt of goods, track stock levels, organise staff schedules and ensure they meet regulations.

4. Crop manager

National average salary: £31,879 per year

Primary duties: Crop managers, who are often also called farm managers or just farmers, are responsible for the crop farming process. This includes sowing, planting, fertilisation, irrigation, maintenance and harvesting. They spend a lot of time researching market conditions, weather patterns and environmental issues to inform their decision making. They also frequently investigate new and alternative methods for raising and harvesting crops. A crop manager is often in charge of a team of farmers and other farm labourers, and frequently communicates with specialists like scientists, engineers, rural surveyors and purchasing agents.

5. Agricultural engineer

National average salary: £33,978 per year

Primary duties: Agricultural engineering is closely related to mechanical engineering, as both of these specialisations work on the development and manufacture of mechanical equipment and machines. An agricultural engineer specialises in the manufacture of agricultural, forestry and horticultural machines. These could be crop harvesters, crop sprayers, irrigation equipment, cultivators, planters and much more. These individuals also assess the environmental impact of various agricultural methods and can help design alternatives. They supervise the installation of machines and systems, such as irrigation and drainage, and develop solutions to agricultural problems.

The work of an agricultural engineer could take place in various settings. They may work primarily from an office, outdoors, on a farm or within a laboratory. Agricultural engineers typically have a degree in agricultural engineering, mechanical engineering or environmental engineering.

Related: How to become an agricultural engineer

6. Research scientist

National average salary: £35,255 per year

Primary duties: Research scientists work in various industries and sectors. They primarily devote their work to investigation and experimentation. Within the agricultural sector, they often work as food scientists who research and develop new ways of manufacturing, processing and storing food. They typically have a background or degree in biology, chemistry or similar. They might investigate ways of storing food safely for longer, how to make it taste better or how to extract or introduce certain things based on dietary needs and preferences.

Related: How To Become an Agronomist: Skills, Qualifications and FAQs

7. Feed mill manager

National average salary: £36,543 per year

Primary duties: Feed mill managers are responsible for the storage, production and supply of animal feed. This involves monitoring and planning inventory levels, scheduling further production or acquisition and inspecting the quality of the feed. They're particularly concerned with quality standards and work actively to promote, develop and maintain them. This extends to tracking and assessing customer complaints and improving operating procedures. A lot of a feed mill manager's work is administrative, and this includes the preparation of budgets and managing the work of others.

8. Rural surveyor

National average salary: £39,570 per year

Primary duties: Also known as agricultural surveyors, these professionals advise their clients on the planning and development of land for use, the related legal and tax issues and give valuations of a farm's assets and estates. These individuals typically come from a background in rural business management, surveying, geographic information science or land use and environmental management. Rural surveyors assist with the management of rural estates, such as farms, and help produce financial forecasts. They also survey estates for potential buyers and negotiate land access with companies from other industries, like mining and utilities.

The work of a rural surveyor often involves a lot of time outdoors in all weathers. This might include frequent travel as they go to new rural sites. Rural surveyors also communicate frequently with clients, farmers, landowners and businesses.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.

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