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Individuals trained in agricultural economics develop skills that prepare them for a vast array of careers. Agricultural economists use communication, analytical, and business skills to find success in sales, marketing, management, and finance careers. Many agricultural economists start their careers as sales representatives to gain knowledge about a firm's products and customers. Once they've gained this knowledge, they tend to move up the corporate ladder quickly into management positions. These upper level positions offer them the opportunity to use their education in marketing, management, and finance. They progressively earn more decision-making and managerial responsibilities.
Agricultural economists are hired by food and agribusiness firms, financial institutions, government agencies, and a variety of industries. Food retailers and manufacturers hire agricultural economists as retail managers and sales representatives. Agribusiness firms that provide such things as animal health, chemicals, equipment, seed, or fertilizer also employ agricultural economists as sales representatives and production managers. Banks, financial institutions, and financial planning firms employ agricultural economists as financial lenders, planners, and analysts. Some agricultural economists use their backgrounds to pursue sales and management careers in non-agricultural industries—pharmaceuticals, hardware, sporting goods, etc.
To be successful in an entry-level position as an agricultural economist, you need an interest in working with people and the ability to make business decisions. You need to have strong communication (both written and oral) and leadership skills. You will need an interest in sales, marketing, finance, or management and the ability to use these skills to make analytical decisions.
In high school take advanced courses in mathematics, science, economics, accounting, and computer skills.
Download an 8.5-inch x 11-inch, printable poster for Agricultural
Economist. (downloadable pdf format)
The second page of the download includes the career description above.