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What is Agricultural Management?

By Jason C. Chavis
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Agricultural management is an occupation that involves the science of food production. It deals with farming techniques, the domestication of animals, and the general processing of food. There are many agricultural jobs that require management, especially on projects working in the scientific disciplines and with farm labor. With the changing dynamics of global food production, this field is one of the fastest growing in the world.

Since concepts like productivity and food safety play such an important role in the food supply of the world, agricultural management careers have high potential. Outbreaks of contaminated food sources have prompted new government regulatory bodies to manage the process of food production from both plant and animal sources. In addition, population growth and the use of certain foods such as corn as biofuel has limited the growth potential of the industry. The goal today is to strive for new ways to produce the necessary amount of food for the growing population, while maintaining the quality that society has come to expect from its food sources.

The work environment for someone who works in this field varies drastically depending on where the individual works and the demands of the employer. Some are involved in the strict science aspects, spending much of their time in laboratories or kitchens. Others work with farm labor to find better and safer pesticides and herbicides in large fields. The overall concerns of agricultural labor management also leads to a variety of working conditions. With the rise in industrial farming companies and the consolidation of major market food production, a person could just as easily find himself in a tall office building in the middle of the city, far from any food production whatsoever.

As the field grows, education and training have become a major priority for many companies. In order to understand the full scope of the industry, most employers require at minimum a bachelor’s degree. Research and scientific roles, however, may often require post-graduate education, quite possibly even a doctoral degree. Since safety and speed have increasingly become important, understanding the biology of agriculture helps dramatically. In specific, the field of genetics proves to continue being one of the most important aspects of agricultural management, helping to create new strains of food, while also causing controversy amongst scientists, politicians, and the public.

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Discussion Comments
By bythewell — On Jul 05, 2011

Food safety is really such an important consideration nowadays. We really don't know where our food comes from, or what it has touched along the way to the grocery store.

There are so many ways in which it can be contaminated, like bacteria, or chemicals, or parasites, and so on.

Farm management seems like it wouldn't be that prestigious a job, but it would involve all the safety checks that mean that we don't have to worry about every bite of food that we eat.

Just think about the panics that happen when the system breaks down, like the mad cow disease break outs.

It was agricultural managers who had to deal with the consequences of that, which can't have been easy.

I've worked on a farm myself, and I have to say it's not a job I would want. It seems like all the responsibility and none of the fun.

By KoiwiGal — On Jul 05, 2011

While biology is important, engineering and chemistry seem like they would be almost as important when it comes to modern agriculture business.

Biology and, in particular, genetics are the superstars of agriculture and to some extent I think this is more because of notoriety than because they are the most useful of the sciences, or even the way of the future. Genetic engineering can provide all kinds of exciting headlines for the media, particularly when they want to scaremonger (although not necessarily without cause!)

But the headline "new fertilizer developed" doesn't turn as many heads.

At any rate, don't go studying to be an agriculture manager without being prepared to look at all aspects and not just the glamorous ones.

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