When a company has the need for short-term or medium-term staffing, a requirement for an outsider looking in, or they are seeking solutions that may be found through best practices, a consultant may be whom they call.
In the agricultural industry, there are many different types of consultants, such as: agronomists, ag economists, animal nutrition, crops, environmental, financial advisors, human resources, research scientists, land appraising, precision technology and public relations. “However, the list continues,” said Eric D. Spell, president, AgCareers.com.
Spell explained that the need for consultants continues to grow. “We expect to see continued growth and demand for agronomists, ag economists, animal and plant nutritionists, crop consultants and precision technologists.” This growing need for consultants is related to the increasing global demand for land and food, fuel and fiber production, the “three F’s”.
On a recent search of AgCareers.com, over 200 consultant jobs appeared, including one for a business process consultant, a crop consultant and a technical nutrition consultant. Unlike with many industries where the job market is shrinking, the agricultural opportunities, including those for consultants, continue to grow.
Many companies are working hard to fill the empty positions. “DuPont Pioneer, BASF Corporation, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, and Syngenta, have all made significant investments for growth in recent years and are facing the “war on talent,” now taking place in the agricultural industry, head on,” added Spell.
This growing demand for talented and skilled professionals is, in a great part, due to the retiring baby boomers. According to Pew Research Center, “…every day for the next 19 [now 15] years, 10,000 baby boomers will reach age 65. The aging of this huge cohort of Americans (26 percent of the total U.S. population are Baby Boomers).” All told, there are 77.3 million Baby Boomers (2008).
The significant amount of retirees is hitting the agricultural industry hard and so the need for new hires expands. “We estimate that the industry will lose one million professionals, due to retirements, in the next three to five years,” said Spell. “Enrollments in the colleges of agriculture within the land-grant universities, such as the University of Florida and Florida A&M University, are experiencing record enrollments, however, it will take a few years for this young talent pool to develop and mature,” explained Spell.
AgCareers.com has experienced a 21 percent growth in jobs posted each year over the last five years, and the consulting opportunities are heavily present. “I would estimate the consulting field, within the agricultural industry, has grown 12-15 percent over the last five years and will continue to grow at that same rate for the next three to five years,” added Spell.
Consultants may be those who have worked in their careers for many years and are now semi-retired, or they may be those who are looking for extra work in their already flourishing careers, or they may be offering consulting services in addition to their main source of income, such as in the case of Worden Farm in Punta Gorda.
Husband and wife team Chris Worden, Ph.D. and Eva Worden, Ph.D., co-Founders of the 85-acre certified organic family farm, Worden Farm, offer consulting services for organic crop production and marketing. Named “Organic Farmer Experts” by the Organic Trade Association, the team offers their consulting services for everything from starting a new organic farm, to organic insect management, to harvesting and marketing.
Consultants may also be employed through independent crop consulting firms, such as Glades Crop Care, Inc., with locations in Jupiter and Lehigh Acres. The company provides scouting and crop consulting based on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and sustainable systems. They also offer food safety program development, implementation and auditing, as well as contract research, including efficacy trials and residue studies complaint with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) standards.
Agricultural consultants may also be members of The American Society of Agricultural Consultants (ASAC). Founded in 1963,this non-profit organization works to raise the standards and image of the full range of professional agricultural consultants. Members include professionals in the areas of: finance, marketing, food processing, farm management, irrigation systems, production, biotechnology, GPS/GIS systems and environment.
For More Information:
Eastern USA Office
American Society of Agricultural Consultants
N78W14573 Appleton Ave., #287
Menomonee Falls, WI