Agricultural economists employ principles and concepts of economics to learn more about the supply and demand of goods and services in the agricultural sector. This includes analysis of production, consumption, and distribution. These professionals often choose an area of expertise, such as crop and livestock sciences, environmental economics, policy analysis, agribusiness, food safety, international trade, rural development, or marketing systems.
Agricultural economists typically work with agricultural data and statistics in office settings, but they may travel as part of a research group to collect information. Additionally, they may teach and conduct research at colleges and universities with undergraduate or graduate programs in agricultural economics.
Agricultural economists examine data to determine patterns and trends in economic activity. They also conduct research to collect data and market samples. They use the predictions obtained from their research to inform, influence, and improve the business decisions of clients and agricultural organizations. As agricultural economists better determine market indicators like farm income and food prices, they study many areas, such as:
•Natural resource management
•Agricultural marketing systems
Whether they want to offer a short-term forecast or long-term prediction for some part of the agricultural market, these professionals must have an excellent understanding of agricultural production and relevant economic forces. This involves devising data collection methods and using appropriate statistical methods to obtain useful information. Agricultural economists may also communicate their findings at seminars and conferences to encourage further research or investment in a particular area.
The primary objective of agricultural economists is to maximize profitability in agriculture to the benefit of society. They pursue this aim through studying and analysing the aspects that influence the agricultural economy and distribution of resources, such as land, raw materials, labour and machinery.
This includes the manufacture and distribution of agricultural means of production; farming itself; the understanding of and, in some cases, the determination of, government policy concerning agricultural and consumption affairs; the purchasing, processing and distribution of agricultural products; the financing of all aspects of agricultural production; the marketing and selling of agricultural products; economic evaluation of agricultural projects; agricultural development; as well as research and giving advice on all these facets.
Agricultural economists advise the agricultural sector on issues such as financing, marketing, agricultural development, policy, research and production. They use mathematical models to develop programmes that can predict the length and nature of agricultural cycles; they do research, and then review and analyze their research and report on it in clear, concise language that can be understood by non-economists.
The field of study of agricultural economics can be divided into seven components, namely:
*Production economy: This involves the relationship between the inputs, production and profit as well as labour utilization.
*Financial management: This includes aspects such as the management process itself, agricultural planning and the principles of financing.
*Agricultural marketing: This involves all aspects of marketing such as the price system and market types.
*Agricultural policy: This involves the interaction between agriculture and other sectors, the trade policy, production policy, price and income policy and the government functions.
*Agricultural development: This is about the role which agriculture plays in the development of the economy as well as the role of the government and private initiative.
*Operational research: This is the application of economic simulation and optimization techniques on agricultural problems.
*Agricultural environmental economics: The economic evaluation of the interaction between agricultural production processes and the natural environment.
Agricultural economists work both indoors, in offices and such places as conference venues, and outdoors, doing research and consultations on farms. They often need to travel to perform research on special projects. They need to be comfortable working with government, national and international trade policies and regulations, production costs and techniques, market trends, economic principles and theories, statistical data and other financial information.
- variety of research projects
- meeting different people
- working in various locations
- very detailed work
- heavy responsibilities to furnish correct information at all times
- working to deadlines
- sometimes having to work overtime.
An agricultural economist should:
- be interested in the environment, particularly as it relates to agriculture;
- be interested in economics;
- have a high mathematical, analytical and scientific aptitude;
- be creative, thorough and analytical;
- have good communication, research and organisational skills.
Degree: the minimum qualification is a BSc (Agric) degree or a BCom (Agricultural Economics) degree.
HOW TO APPLY: -
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