Are you interested in both the labor and management side of agriculture? Agricultural Production gives you the ability to have a hand in all aspects of farming operations.
A degree in Agricultural Production Operations will prepare you to be both a manager and a laborer. You will study operating systems, quality management, product design, supply chain management, and inventory control along with how to operate equipment and manage facilities and information. Some of your courses will cover accounting, human resources management, marketing, and business planning to prepare you to act as an operations manager. You will learn how to evaluate problems and risks and alleviate those in order to build a strong business.
This is a broad topic and, although it is possible to major in general Agricultural Production, often a school will offer different specialties that a student may concentrate on. Possible concentrations include Animal/Livestock Husbandry and Production, Aquaculture, Crop Production, Dairy Husbandry and Production, Horse Husbandry/Equine Science and Management, Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture, and Viticulture and Enology.
As an Agricultural Production manager, you must understand all aspects of the farm, determine how to best raise crops or livestock, purchase supplies, maintain facilities, and keep financial, production, and employee records. This career requires a solid understanding of business and strong communication and customer service skills. You must be able to communication effectively with laborers and workers as well as customers. If you choose to work with livestock, you must have a background in animal science. Multi-tasking is also a required skill because you must be able to split your time between outdoor labor and office tasks.
Since this career requires work all over the farm, hours can be long. During planting and harvesting seasons, work days last from sun up to sun down. Other times of the year, days are spent maintaining the farm and repairing equipment. Work on livestock farms is consistent since the animals constantly need caring for. As a manager or supervisor, you will be expected to work long days to ensure everything on the farm is running smoothly.
Agricultural Production Operations managers typically gain experience working on a farm before rising to a management position. It is recommended that you gain experience through a summer job, internship, Co-op or work abroad program before pursuing a management position.
Studying Agricultural Production will prepare you to manage and oversee all types of farming operations. Some people will choose to be self-employed and run their own farm while others work as managers or supervisors. Due to the ability of farms to increase output with fewer workers, this career is moderately declining and is expected to continue this trend, possibly making it difficult to find jobs.