What Do Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products Do?
Buyers and purchasing agents are essential to the daily success of the farming industry. This position is responsible for seeking out and purchasing equipment and products at the best value for the cost. You will research products that are high quality and also a great value. Additionally, you will need to coordinate prompt, accurate delivery. Traveling to trade shows and showrooms to learn about and purchase equipment first-hand is part of the profession.
Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products Skills and Abilities
Communication skills are a must as you will be working with farmers, suppliers, brokers and shipping coordinators. Your phone skills and manners should be superb. Customer service and the assessing and meeting of customer needs are a big part of what you will do each day as purchasing agent.Your knowledge and skill in mathematic principles will be essential to your daily tasks. An understanding of the following is paramount:
- Accounting principles
- The financial markets
- Analysis of financial data and reports
A buyer often acts as a negotiator, and you will need persuasive skills, as well as the ability to bring two sides together to reach an effective compromise. You will need to think on your feet and be able to make important decisions based on deductions gathered from research and analysis.
Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products Duties
On a daily basis, you can expect to purchase farm products for either resale or processing. This will include negotiating contracts, arranging storage and coordinating transportation details. You will need a thorough understanding of the particular farming niche you work in, as you will be responsible for inspecting and testing certain products to determine their value, grade and quality.Working in groups, teams and as a liaison between entities will be a large part of what you do each day. You may be responsible for the supervising of other employees, committees or departments. Balancing decision making with proper practices of valuation and negotiation is key to succeeding as a buyer of farm products.
Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products Tools and Technology
Buyers must be savvy internet researchers. You will be expected to complete quick, accurate price comparisons and other internet research. Additionally, you will need to use basic office and farm equipment such as grain analyzers, livestock scales and 10-key calculators.You will also need to be capable of using computer software such as:
- Accounting software
- Database interfaces and query software
- Email software
- Farm-industry specific software such as SAP, Microsoft Great Plains, ERP system
Education and Training Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products
A degree in accounting or business is a great background for a farm product purchasing agent. Exceptional math skills and accurate calculating abilities are a must, so coursework that focuses on these skills is helpful. A college degree is not required for this position, and a substantial number of current agents hold this position with only a high-school diploma. Much is learned on-the-job and it can take years to master the industry, but you will be rewarded with a fruitful career.
Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products Salary
The median salary across the nation for this position is $55,100, with a broad range on either side of that figure. The lower 10% of the wage-earners bring home a salary of $29,000 on average. With some experience and tenure, you can definitely bring home a higher annual salary. The top 10% of this category have an average wage of $98,600.
Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products Jobs by Geography
Arizona, Montana, and California all have a growing need for farm product buyers and the highest rates of open positions. Arizona also has one of the highest annual wages for farm product buyers and purchasing agents. Arkansas, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia top of the list of median annual salaries by state.