How to start a career in agriculture

September 27, 2022
Carley Potter, talent acquisition operations specialist at CHS, shares tips for job seekers new to the agriculture industry.

The future is bright for those interested in agricultural careers, says Carley Potter, talent acquisition operations specialist at CHS. As the industry evolves, technology, finance, sales, marketing and agronomy skills are in high demand.

Top skills for agriculture jobs

A common misconception among job seekers in the ag industry is that you need a farming background to succeed. But Potter says that while having agricultural knowledge can be beneficial, it’s not a requirement.

“If you didn’t grow up on a farm, that’s okay. Companies are looking for employees with an open mindset and eagerness to learn what agriculture is about. We’re looking for talent from all walks of life to help us propel the industry forward,” Potter says.

As a recruiter, Potter explains she seeks candidates who value teamwork, curiosity and continuous improvement to fill open roles.

Starting a career in agriculture

While many in the industry follow the traditional route of obtaining an agriculture degree, Potter says that isn’t the only way to secure a job in ag.

“One of the best ways to get real-life experience is to meet farmers. Get a peek into what their lives arelike and what is required to manage their operations,” she says.

Social media has also become a valuable resource for job seekers who don’t have farming backgrounds. Many farmers and other ag professionals document their work lives online because they want industry outsiders to understand what they do for a living.

Internships in agriculture

As the industry evolves, so does on-the-job training, says Potter.

“Traditionally, what we’ve seen in agriculture is a typical summer job focused on manual labor. I’m pleased to see the industry moving toward a more holistic internship experience where students get to apply classroom learnings on the job for value-added experience,” explains Potter.

At CHS, interns get to meet with farmer-owners to solve on-farm challenges and conduct research projects that are presented to senior leaders. “It’s a well-rounded experience where students incorporate their education on the job to obtain valuable career insights,” Potter says. She encourages internship seekers to participate in on-campus events and visit company websites, including jobs.CHSinc.com, for more information about upcoming internship opportunities.