Insight From My First Year In An Agriculture Marketing Job

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No matter what your major is or what your interests are, there’s likely a career for you in agriculture.

And if you’ve never considered working in the agriculture industry or you still think working in agriculture means toiling in the sun, read on.

Right now, the industry is in need of specializations ranging from biotechnology to law to graphic design.

In no other industry would I get to drive a tractor in a suit, or get VIP seats to a chuck wagon race.

If you’re like me, a city dweller who spends more time indoors than outdoors, you may question how the agriculture industry would suit you.

But the truth is, working in the agriculture industry is incredibly satisfying, the opportunities are endless and it’s one of the more stable industries out there – after all, we all have to eat.

Why did I choose agriculture?

Agriculture isn’t glamorous, but it’s necessary and important. It’s an industry that often gets overlooked for the more sought-after industries, such as oil and gas and finance.

But the agricultural industry is fun – many agricultural companies offer a laid-back atmosphere and it’s a great transition from student life. In no other industry would I get to drive a tractor in a suit, or get VIP seats to a chuck wagon race, or act as professional wrestler Brock Lesnar’s photographer for a day (yes, he’s a farm boy!).

Of course, your experience will be different from mine depending on your field and the company you work for, but from what I’ve seen working with partners and vendors, everyone is the industry is easy-going and great to work alongside. At the end of the day, you can go home knowing you helped put food on millions of tables and had fun while doing so.

What jobs are available?

A recent report by the University of Guelph found that there’s more than three jobs per agricultural graduate in Ontario and, in the prairies, the agriculture industry has never been stronger.

With agriculture being such a diverse industry, I could write several novels on the job opportunities available within the industry. And if that’s what you’re looking for, there’s probably a Wikipedia article somewhere on that.

Instead, I will reach into my personal experience of the industry and the research I’ve gathered to showcase some of the more unique opportunities available within the industry.

Because of the size of the agriculture industry, there are opportunities for almost every field. Engineers are needed for the development of industrial equipment from GPS farming technology (known as precision farming) to 30-ton tractors, while Computer Scientists are needed in numerous areas such as data processing and data storage. And of course, every company has the usual cast of business support staff, ranging from Marketing to Finance to Accounting Specialists.

I currently work as an Online Marketing Specialist for an agriculture equipment dealer group in Calgary. While my expertise lies in SEO, SEM, PPC and a few other fancy acronyms, other marketers in my company have specializations ranging from event planning to client relations, graphic design and public relations.

I work closely with our web developers, who are based out of Peoria, Illinois. The developers specialize in developing web content for agriculture companies and have clients throughout North America. The web developers I work with are passionate about deploying new and innovative digital trends in their projects. Although the agriculture industry isn’t always on the bleeding edge of technology, it’s quickly gaining momentum.

And of course, I wouldn’t be a very good marketer if I didn’t talk about the advertising agencies. AdFarm and Woofruff Sweitzer are full-service advertising agencies that cater only to agricultural clients. In particular, AdFarm has offices across the Canadian prairies, with teams of Graphic Designers and Account Executives at each office.

On the other end of the business spectrum, a friend of mine worked for Agrium specializing in risk management, while another acquaintance worked for Bayer CropScience in a similar field. And while ancient agricultural risk management was satisfied by reading a farmer’s almanac, modern risk management takes into account everything from biological processes to crop prices and international markets. It’s an advanced field that requires intuitive individuals who can adapt to an industry where conditions change as rapidly as the weather.

And for the science majors, we have the agricultural sciences. If you’re not sure what to do with your Bachelor of Science degree, consider the fact that the agriculture industry employs Biochemists, Entomologists, Geneticists and Biotechnologists, just to name a few career paths.

And still, there are countless opportunities I have yet to touch on, including engineering positions for agricultural machinery manufacturers, and loan officer and financial analyst positions for the big banks’ agriculture services divisions. Chances are, no matter what your passions are, there’s a career for you in agriculture.

What about job security?

The easy answer to this question is that we all need to eat. But to take this a step further, the agricultural sector is likely Canada’s most stable industry. It accounts for 8.1% of Canada’s GDP, employs one in eight Canadians and has grown a steady 1.5% each year since 1997.

Have I convinced you yet?

Jobs in the agriculture industry are scattered and sometimes even hard to find, so you’ll need to know where to find them. Agricultural career fairs are fairly common, especially if you’re in the prairies. While your university or college’s career centre may not have a focus on the agriculture industry, they will still have contacts in the industry for you to connect with.

And finally, TalentEgg has a dedicated focus on the agriculture industry, which you can find by visiting our Agriculture Career Guide:

Agriculture Week featuring Bayer CropScience and Agrium Wholesale

Photo credit: danzil raines

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About the author

Hansen Wong is a Marketing Coordinator that specializes in digital marketing and advertising. Hansen currently works for an agriculture equipment dealer group. He holds a B.Comm in Marketing with Distinction. His interests include advertising, legal studies, and photography. Hansen currently resides in Calgary, Alberta.