Professionals in agribusiness fill a number of important roles in land and ranch management, government agencies, family businesses, and breeding, drug, and seed companies. Colorado State University has a long history in preparing students for careers in agriculture with on campus and online study options. Here are three tips we’ve found to be useful on the road to success in the field.
According to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification*, 38% of the world’s cropland is currently affected by soil degradation. Since WWII, soil degradation has resulted in an almost 15% loss in crop yields. As our worldwide population continues to grow, communities need agriculture experts who are prepared to face these challenges. By better understanding the complex relationships between the land, water, and the animals who live there, you will be better equipped to generate creative solutions.
Gaining first-hand experience before entering a full-time position can make a big difference. In addition to adding a position on your resume, internships offer a number of other benefits, including:
Internships may offer personal, as well as professional benefits. Transitioning to a new location, industry, or employer can be a big shift and an even bigger commitment. Completing an internship sometimes allows you to travel to a new place or experience a new workplace. This experience can help to inform you about what you’re willing to (or not willing to) work with in the future.
In addition, if you enroll in a degree program that values hands-on learning, you may also get credit for the work you do.
Over the past ten to twenty years, the way we grow crops, produce livestock, and manage the land has changed quite a bit. The people who find careers in this industry are no longer able to rely upon just their agricultural know-how. Those who succeed also have a strong understanding of business principles and an integrated understanding of the ecosystems they operate in.
For example**, in Colorado we’ve seen that the cattle industry no longer operates on a 10-year cycle that helps us to predict highs and lows. In the past twenty years, calf prices skyrocket and drop rapidly. This comes in addition to facing the challenge of raising livestock alongside growing metropolitan areas. When our region experiences drought, it just adds another piece to the equation.
Building your expertise in an interdisciplinary program that combines agriculture, business, and sustainability helps you to be better prepared. Practical experiences, like internships, can help to further develop your depth of knowledge. However, your educational program should give you the breadth you need to succeed.
Colorado State University offers an agricultural graduate degree that prepares students for the challenges that lie ahead for ag producers and natural resource managers. If you’re looking for a program that you can complete without leaving the career you’ve already started, consider the online master’s in integrated resource management.