CONSIDERING A CAREER INAGRICULTURAL CONSULTING?Working as an agricultural consultant can be agreat, rewarding professional career.To begin your career as an agriculturalconsultant or to get more information,please go to: www.asfmra.org.The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers950 S. Cherry Street, Suite 508Denver, CO 80246(303) 758-3513
WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL AGRICULTURALCONSULTANT?A professional agricultural consultant is someone who has anagricultural background and works with food and feedproducers, processers and marketers helping them achievethe highest possible financial returns from their operations.DESIGNATIONSThe American Society of Farm Managers and RuralAppraisers offer the Accredited AgriculturalConsultant (AAC) designation. This designation iswell known and highly respected in the agriculturalindustry. For more information on this and otherdesignations, please go to: www.asfmra.org.WHO USES A PROFESSIONAL AGRICULTURALCONSULTANT?Anyone who owns or operates food or feed producing,processing and or marketing operations and doesn’t have thetime or expertise to meet the needs of the operation mayutilize an agricultural consultant including:• Land Owners• Tenant operators• Institutional Land Owners (e.g., banks)• Food or feed processing or marketing companiesFor example, imagine you are operating a food or feedproduction, processing, or marketing operation and cannotkeep up with current tax laws, accounting tasks,environmental regulations, process efficiency and or soilfertility. You own the business, you share in any profits andthe agricultural consultant takes care of the details.
EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOKThe number of opportunities in professional AgriculturalConsulting is excellent right now for several reasons:• Many businesses cannot possibly be knowledgeable of allthe ever-changing dimensions of their business• Demand for food is increasing due to an ever-growingworld population• Many businesses have grown beyond the managementability of the owners creating openings in the fieldRESOURCES AND SPECIALTY EDUCATIONProfessional agricultural consultants have a nationwideprofessional organization, the American Society of FarmManagers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA). The associationoffers its members strong support in the political andprofessional arenas. ASFMRA provides education, continuingeducation and professional designations for members whowish to improve their skills, gain credentials as a professionalagricultural consultant and increase their professionalism.WHAT DOES A PROFESSIONAL AGRICULTURALCONSULTANT DO?The agricultural consultant combines agricultural andbusiness expertise to advise about operations on land ownedby others. The agricultural consultant directs the operationalactivities under the authority designated by the owner tomake the business productive and profitable. The size andtype of business operation are influencing factors thatdetermine the agricultural consultant’s duties. Theagricultural consultant may be free to run the operationaccording to their best judgment or be guided by the ownerin varying degrees. It is common for a consultant to beresponsible for 20-50 or more operations at one time.Consultants spend most of their time organizing andsupervising the project they are assigned to on theoperation. They determine resource needs, implementefficiency measures and assist with operational managementas required. They may direct and oversee the day to day tasksor more broadly oversee specific project details. Marketingskills, maintaining financial records, and budget consultingare all skills often required of agricultural consultants.Part of the work is done outdoors, visiting and traveling tothe business as well time spent in the office.The business owner, the agricultural consultant, and thebusiness operator are all dedicated to preserving the value ofthe business in terms of general productivity or incomeearning potential.
AGRICULTURAL CONSULTANTS AND THEIRCOMPANIESProfessional agricultural consulting companies range in sizefrom a small one person firm, to large firms which may beprivately-held, employee-owned or operated by acorporation. These types of firms can be very effective intheir expertise or specialties.WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE ANAGRICULTURAL CONSULTANT?The typical agricultural consultant has:• An agricultural background• A four-year college degree, typically in some field ofagriculture or business; and many also have Master’sDegree(s) in specialty fields such as Agronomy, AnimalScience, Ag Business/Economics, Business or FinanceThe agricultural consultant needs strong skills in:• Business management• Interpersonal relationships• Verbal and written communications• Negotiating• Organization/planning• Budgeting/financial/accounting• Business lawAgricultural expertise in several areas including:• Agronomics/crop production• Soil fertility• Drainage/irrigation• Commodity marketing• Crop Insurance• Government regulations• Business entity selectionPOTENTIAL EARNINGS AND HOURSagricultural consultants must be highly-motivated self starterswho can manage their projects with a minimum of directsupervision. Owner/client communication is critical to theagricultural consultant’s success.The agricultural consultant’s hours vary considerablydepending on the responsibilities and the size, type andnumber of projects they manage. Days can often be longerthan eight hours, particularly during busy times of the year.The annual salary averages from $45,000 to $70,000 with 1-5years of experience to $60,000 - $100,000 with 5 to 15 yearsof experience.