What do Agricultural Inspectors Do?
Ensuring the safety of our food and quality of farming practices is one of the most important jobs in the agricultural industry. Everybody working in an agricultural setting is responsible for maintaining compliance with local and federal regulations, but agricultural inspectors are the people who observe facilities to make sure that they are operating safely and legally. Agriculture is adapting and changing to many advancements, and the agricultural inspector position is currently changing, too. While job prospects in some states are growing, the overall national projection for annual job openings is -1%. This means that the number of available jobs is expected to decrease compared to prior years.
Agricultural Inspectors Skills and Abilities
`Agricultural inspectors interact with personnel working on farms and in other agricultural settings. Inspectors must cooperate with these people to gather information, observe the operations, and complete their inspection. This means that you should possess solid customer service skills and be comfortable interacting with people throughout the day. Basic administrative, management, and mathematical skills are also essential to gathering information and accurately compiling reports. Analytical capabilities are also required in order to make judgments and decisions based on the information gathered.
Agricultural Inspectors Duties
Agricultural inspectors may complete many different tasks throughout the day. The setting you are working in can vary. You may be on a farm one day and at a logging station the next, so the duties you complete will depend on your environment. Your basic duties, however, would consistently entail tasks such as the following:
- Record observations of facilities and their procedures
- Inspect produce of facility and detect any flaws that may be present
- Compose reports summarizing information gathered from inspection
- Clarify standards and regulations to personnel working at agricultural facilities
- Cease production in an emergency situation if produce is unsafe
- Provide expert testimony in legal proceedings
Agricultural Inspectors Tools and Technology
An inspectors primary job function is to objectively examine an agricultural facility’s produce. In order to do so, tools to measure and test produce are commonly used. You will often use grading machines to test seeds, dried vegetables, and grains. Sample holders and balances are also often utilized to closely examine produce. To record and organize the data gathered, you will need to use spreadsheets in software like Microsoft Excel, and you will need to be familiar with Microsoft PowerPoint to present your findings.
Education and Training for Agricultural Inspectors
Being an agricultural inspector is not an entry level position, so a Bachelor’s degree or higher is usually required. You may not need prior experience in the field, however, and you will likely receive some on-the-job training once you begin. Experience in agriculture or administration is relevant and may benefit you if you apply for this position, but if you have a college degree, this is often enough qualification.
Agricultural Inspectors Salary
Agricultural inspectors are required to have specialized training and knowledge, so the pay reflects a higher level of expertise than many other positions in the farming industry. The bottom 10% of inspectors earn $12.17 per hour or $25,300 annually, and the top 10% earn $30.28 per hour or $63,000 annually. The median earners receive a wage of $20.72 per hour or $43,100 each year.
Agricultural Inspectors Jobs by Geography
You can expect to see the most agricultural inspector job opportunities in areas where there is a thriving farming industry. Pay and availability of jobs vary greatly between states, but you are likely to find consistent openings for this job in many areas. The top 3 states for concentration of jobs are Kansas, North Dakota, and Delaware, and the top 3 highest paying states for this position are Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Michigan.