Agriculture is a general term that covers agriculture, food, and natural resources jobs. These careers center on the raising of food products, livestock, and natural resources for commercial and personal gain. In addition to farming-adjacent industries, agriculture also covers industries like commercial fishing, irrigation, logging, and atmospheric sciences. Many of these industries offer stable careers to those without degrees, though moving up in a company may require additional education.
Agricultural jobs offer hard but rewarding work. The world of agriculture is tied heavily with Trades. Working in agriculture offers the benefit of seeing firsthand the tangible good that your efforts can create. Though industrialization and technology condensed the number of people working in agriculture, there are still a large number of jobs in the industry and even more in the tech industries that support it. Today, agriculture is becoming increasingly sustainable and efficient as people discover technologies and techniques to further the industry.
Agriculture also covers industries involved in natural resources, conservation & sustainability, wildlife protection, and other Earth-friendly fields. Many of the organizations & companies involved with these fields are often very environmentally friendly, nonprofit, or perform some sort of outreach. Companies like Subaru are known for their Zero Waste policies, and companies like Patagonia lead people in conservation and sustainability activism.
Getting a certificate from a vocational school can be inexpensive and easy compared to a traditional 4-year bachelor’s degree. For example, wind turbine technician, which only requires a certificate, is #5 on the US News list of best paying careers without a degree. Jobs that deal with the installation, maintenance, and selling of alternative energy sources pay fairly well and might only require on-the-job training or a certificate. Solar panel installation or other types of maintenance careers can offer great benefits with hard work.
There are also schools and programs that specialize in agriculture, or help equip students for careers in industries that work alongside it. Universities such as Texas A&M University and Colorado State University Fort Collins are both known for their Agricultural Sciences programs. Trade schools and community schools like Fox Valley Technical College and Central Texas College offer 2-year programs for much less tuition.
Farming, fishing, and logging require hard work and have demanding schedules. Physical strength may be required to do the job well. Though this does not prevent women from entering into the industry, agriculture is a very male-dominant field because of the necessity of physical labor.
Pursuing a degree or certificate at a trade school, working part-time, finding an apprenticeship, or connecting with someone in the industry will give you the knowledge you need to succeed. Though trade schools and certificate courses can give you the know-how, experiencing the job firsthand will help you determine your own interest. Trade associations and unions are also good sources of information and starting points as they offer connections to other members in their industries.
Industries such as logging and fishing are far more sustainable and environmentally-friendly than when they first started. Logging industries usually rely on tree farms that are sustainably harvested and replanted. Specialized lumbertracks and tree harvesters can make good money proving special care to unique trees in difficult or unusual locations. Fishing as an industry is multifaceted; not all seafood is caught in treacherous waters on rickety boats. Some fish are raised in farms; some reside in peaceful waters. Some workers in this industry might be the fisherman, but there are other career opportunities in preparing, storing, freezing, or distributing the supply.