Hybrid Outlook for Agribusiness Careers

Related terms:
Ag jobs
Employment prospects for farmers, ranchers, and production managers are expected to decline over the next seven years, with notable exceptions in organic farming, horticulture, and aquiculture. The overall outlook for careers in agriculture and food science is brighter—job growth in these areas is expected to keep pace with the average of other occupations in the United States.

Larger Farms, Fewer Jobs

The ongoing trend of farm consolidation will continue to hinder employment prospects for independent farmers and ranchers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates an 8% decline in the number of self-employed farmers between 2006 and 2016 while the demand for agricultural managers is expected to remain flat.

Jobs Germinate in Specialty Areas

Opportunities in organic farming will continue to blossom, thanks to the USDA’s earmarking of $50M for farms beginning, expanding, or improving their organic production. The landscaping industry is expected to provide more jobs over the next decade for horticulture specialty farmers. Aquiculture is another promising area, as additional restrictions on commercial fishing are anticipated.

Technology Equals Employment Prospects

Demand for agriculture and food scientists, especially for those with advanced degrees, is expected to increase. The private sector holds the most promise for job growth, while universities will continue to be stable employers for those with PhD’s. The hottest growth areas involve the application of biotechnology and nanotechnology to create disease-resistant cropsand increase yields for biofuel production. Research to preserve diverse ecosystems and increase food safety will also provide employment opportunities.
Short point: Hottest growth areas involve applied research in biotechnology and nanotechnology.
  1. Crops resistant to insects and diseases
  2. Increased output to produce biofuels
  3. Ecosystem preservation
  4. Food safety

Sources

U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook, 2008-09 Edition