Agriculture is still one of America’s primary industries, especially in the American heartland. If you considering your next career move, or have designs on starting your own business, then a career in agriculture could be the logical next step for you. Having a love of the great outdoors and a passion for the environment would be added bonuses.
Agriculture is an entire industry is not simple, as there is more to it than leasing or purchasing plots of land, planting a few choice cash crops and buying livestock. It involves a ton of hard work, particularly if you’re making this your primary source of income, as it will take significant investment of time, monetary and energy resources to have a successful operation. This will include the expense of farm implements and equipment, which ranges from looking for tractors for sale to hiring farmhands, and that makes for an expensive startup from the beginning.
Many farmers and agricultural veterans will tell you while the operation gets expensive very early, it is well worth the money, time and hard work expended into the operation. Not only will it benefit you, but also those around you in your local community.
Here are a handful of reasons to consider a career in agriculture:
You may achieve greater job satisfaction (and greater appreciation of the industry)
You may be fed up of the daily commute to and from work, with little to no personal rewards included in your current job position. You might also be tired of long, unfruitful hours stuck in a cubicle inside an office.
A career in ag may alleviate some of those problems. Your daily commute is limited to your operations complex and adjacent farmland, with other longer commutes required for machinery service, the pick-up of seed during the spring and selling your harvest at your local grain co-operative among other work-related commutes. You will achieve some personal rewards, but that is usually depending on how soon things pay off. There is a period of time you have to wait for harvests, so consider other things on the farm you can profit from, e.g. livestock sales, farmer’s markets, etc. to make the money needed to survive.
The downside to the job is the long work hours, but you are working outdoors compared to a stuffy office.
You can serve the needs of your community — not only your family
There is the opportunity to serve your family, but also those in your neighboring communities, where there may be issues with food stability and availability, forcing them to commute to larger communities to stock on their basic nutritional needs or utilizing online platforms such as Amazon Pantry, which while useful and convenient, may prove inconvenient to those who struggle with mobility problems.
Depending on how you choose to run your operation, you can serve the needs of your neighboring communities, whether by selling produce on your farm and attending local farmer’s markets. Larger operations may have such a setup to butcher your meats on-site to sell as well.
You (may be able to) promote a healthy lifestyle
You may be able to afford a healthier lifestyle as a result of the health benefits of the great outdoors. Your family will too, as well. There will be plenty of opportunities for exercise in addition to the physical demands of farm life. By growing your own food, healthier eating — at least on the farm — can be promoted. As mentioned in a previous article, the majority of Americans — unfortunately — are not eating their quota of fruits and vegetables, but at bare minimum, this can be remedied on the farm at minimum and with enough awareness from local farmers, remedied in the local communities.
Being a steward of the land and the environment
Farming provides the opportunity for sustainable living, meaning the potential of reducing the carbon footprint of your agricultural operation. Not every option out there will work for everyone and should be tailored to suit the farm operation in the most sustainable manner.
There is the potential to pursue alternative methods of electricity generation, via wind, solar and geothermal energy instead of relying on the electric co-operatives utilized in rural areas. Some farms will be dead-set on exclusively solar, which is not entirely cost-effective, which utilizes the setup here, as an example. As seen here, there are environmental benefits to organic farming, including the reduced exposure to pesticides and chemicals, which is good for you and the land you are working on.
Sustainability in an economic recession
There has been talk of an agricultural recession for the past couple years, mitigated by several trade wars with South American, Middle Eastern and Asian nations that has harmed farmers and ag companies. Some wise planning will need to take place in order for the benefits to outweigh the negatives of an ag recession. Having some form of budgetary system, similar to that of financial guru Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, will help you attain the skills to stay afloat and keep your family fed during hard times.
Is agriculture the career for you after reading these reasons? Don’t leave it to us to make your decision. Take the time and do your research, consider the lifestyle you want and think about your passions. After evaluating everything, and you’re still uncertain if it’s for you, then it will likely not be the career for you.