Alternative routes to agricultural work

July 25, 2005

Farmers and ranchers are not the only workers in occupations devoted to agricultural pursuits.

Percent growth in employment of agricultural scientists and farm managers in the United States, projected 2002-2012
[Chart data—TXT]

Agricultural scientists may advise farmers and farm managers about the best ways to control weeds, apply pesticides, conserve water, or prevent soil erosion. They might also help farmers and ranchers determine the quantity and mix of nutrients needed in animal feed to produce healthier cattle and leaner meat, for example. The employment of these scientists is expected to grow 9 percent between 2002 and 2012.

Farm managers perform many of the same functions as farmers, but instead of owning or leasing a farm, they manage one for somebody else. Their job is mainly supervisory. Farm managers hire the farmworkers, contract for the services of specialists in weed control or pesticide application, perform payroll duties, and generally ensure that the farm runs efficiently. Employment of farm managers is projected to grow 5 percent between 2002 and 2012.

Other farm-related occupations are in agricultural sales and custom harvesting. Agricultural sales, which involves selling farm-related products, requires knowledge of agriculture, farming, and ranching practices. Custom harvesting is a service offered by companies to farmers who either cannot afford or choose not to buy expensive harvesting equipment, such as a combine.

These data are from the Employment Projections program. For more information, see "Farming in the 21st century" by Arlene Dohm, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Spring 2005.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Alternative routes to agricultural work on the Internet at (visited September 29, 2016).


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