How To Succeed: Your First Steps In Agriculture

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There are two broad categories of wheat varieties: durum and non-durum.

Depending on quality, durum wheat is typically used to make pasta, and non-durum is often used to feed livestock.

Since wheat is the prairie provinces’ main agricultural export, every farmer knows the difference between durum and non-durum wheat.

You can read Wikipedia articles, watch YouTube videos, read Fertilizer International (if that’s your product), or read buyer’s guides for farm machinery. But don’t play FarmVille – that won’t really help.

But here’s the thing: to succeed in the agriculture industry, you don’t necessarily need to know this.

You’ll learn about the industry on the job, but because of the agriculture industry’s ever-increasing number of knowledge workers, all you need to start off in the agriculture industry is a specific and useful skill set, a willingness to learn, and a great attitude.

The key to making an impressive splash in your new career is to have a desirable skill set that a company needs. While the same could be said of any job in any industry, the agriculture industry is unique in that there are common areas that need strengthening.

From my experience, these areas include logistics and marketing.

As a marketer, the route I took involved specializing in online marketing. Countless SEO (search engine optimization) firms are springing up and targeting agriculture companies because of the gap in this specialization. A company that is able to internalize online marketing costs would see better returns for their investment in online advertising, and this was my niche upon entering the agriculture industry.

Secondly, you’ll need to be able to learn, and learn fast. Many of you reading this article are probably not familiar with agriculture, and that’s fine. But to show your manager – and anyone else who has say over your career path – that you’re serious about your career in agriculture, you’ll need to invest in educating yourself on your company’s product.

And this doesn’t have to be boring – you can read Wikipedia articles, watch YouTube videos, read Fertilizer International (if that’s your product), or read buyer’s guides for farm machinery. But don’t play FarmVille – that won’t really help.

Lastly, you’ll want to start off with a great attitude and work ethic. Although this point may seem obvious, it’s also absolutely imperative. Even in my short career, I’ve seen people drone in and out of work, and idling through their obligatory eight hours. Agriculture is a seasonal industry, so you’ll experience weeks that are slower than others. But even then, make sure you remain productive by working on long-term projects, or preparing yourself for the upcoming busy season.

Your first impression is the most important, and once people have an idea of who you are, it’s exponentially harder to change their minds.

So stay late or work through lunch if you need to finish a deadline, practise basic etiquette, and try to have a positive attitude no matter what. It’s not hard to do, but the impact your attitude can have on your career is definitely important.

Agriculture Week featuring Bayer CropScience and Agrium Wholesale

Photo credit: Rachel

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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.