Agriculture is the science and practice of farming, including crops, animals and land management practices. With the art of raising plant crops and livestock, agriculture faculty teach how to farm and ranch; everything from planting, cultivation, fertilization, harvesting, processing, and fruit and vegetable handling and sale. In addition, students learn the most effective ways to raise, breed, and market livestock. Agriculture students also learn about the wide variety of by-products, such as wool, eggs, honey, leather and manure. Agriculture majors could also study the latest research on improving the food supply, increasing yield, and making food operations as efficient as possible, as well as permaculture and organic methods of farming.

Can You Make Real Money?

Agriculture offers a wide variety of career options upon graduation. Agriculture students work in many different industries, and very often cross-training in business or management is desirable. Salaries range greatly depending on the industry, level of education and training.

Average Salary & Careers for Agricultural Industry (Payscale, Inc., 2015)

Office Manager $47,476
Agronomist $48,126
Operations Manager $65,694
Farm Manager $43,489
Research Scientist $84,202
Human Resources Manager $60,000
General Manager $57, 325
Veterinarian $70,490

There Aren’t Big Farms in the City

So where are all the jobs available? While there are positions in every state at local farms, the bulk of agriculture positions are in the Midwest.

The possibilities increase dramatically if you are interested in international travel and work abroad. Depending on your college of choice, international study programs are available on almost every continent, and can be short term (2-4 weeks) as well as go up to a full year of study. Very often grants are available to pursue international studies as well.

Where Should I Go?

In 2014, US News ranked the top five colleges for Agricultural studies as Purdue University at West Lafayette, University of Illinois (Urbana), Texas A & M, Iowa State University and the University of Florida. The average tuition rate for these five schools is $26,919 per year for out-of-state students. With tuition costs skyrocketing, it’s no wonder many students are looking to supplement their tuition costs with scholarships.

Tuition and Fee Waivers

Some schools offer waivers of tuition costs and fees for students meeting specific criteria. For instance, the University of Iowa will waive out-of-state tuition for a limited number of full-time students who apply with a GPA over 3.0. In addition, tuition and fees are often waived in full for students entering specific careers upon graduation – most often in public service.

Grants and Fellowships

Grants are often need based gifted monies (you don’t need to repay). They can come from federal or local government, your college of choice or private or nonprofit groups or businesses. There are several organizations that offer grants to engineering students specifically, such as Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Potato Council, among others. Requirements are different for all and some involve an employment obligation for a specified time period upon graduation. It pays to research the grants offered thoroughly, and understand the guidelines and offer completely.

Are There Really Scholarships Available?

Scholarships are financial awards for your education that do not need to be repaid. While they are typically awarded based on merit, very often the scholarship committees take financial need into consideration in awarding their recipients. The amount of total financial aid cannot be more than the cost of attendance for your college or university.

Scholarships are typically developed to fit a particular student profile – whether based on academic interest or proficiency, ethnicity, interests or field of study, or they could be related to an affiliation (such as religion, military, club membership, employer, etc.).

Scholarships can help lessen the impact of ever increasing tuition costs. Scholarships help to fill the gap between low-income families and higher-income. Frequently government aid is focused on lower income students, leaving middle or higher-income families struggling with high tuition costs. Scholarships can help reduce the responsibility significantly. And for students paying their own way through school, it means less time spent working while trying to finish your degree.

A Few Agriculture Scholarships Available to You

Iowa Select Farms 4-H Scholarship – Offers up to $5,000 and is available for 4-H members applying for full-time course load.

UIUC Jonathan Baldwin Turner Agricultural Merit Scholarships – Offers up to $4,000 and is available for incoming freshmen at University of Illinois Urbana.

National Potato Council Scholarship – Offers up to $10,000 to students pursuing advanced studies in Agribusiness related to potato industry

NPFDA Scholarship Foundation, Inc., – Offers up to $2,000 to full-time student pursing Agriculture degree.

Northern Tier Hardwood Association Community Forests Scholarship – Offers $500 to Pennsylvania students pursuing degrees related to a career in wood industry.

Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium Fellowships – Award amount varies. Available for graduate students at Penn State University studying Agriculture.

Beef Industry Scholarship – Offers $1,000, to full-time students pursuing a career in the beef industry.

Central Florida Orchid Society Scholarship – Offers $3,000 to students pursuing degrees in Horticulture and/or Agriculture.

National Dairy Shrine/Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI) Milk Marketing Scholarships – Award amount varies. These scholarships are offered to students pursuing careers in marketing of milk or dairy products.

Annie’s Sustainable Agriculture Scholarships – Award amount varies. These scholarships are open to students pursuing careers in sustainable and organic agriculture.

Because the cost of tuition is high, the competition for scholarships is high. It’s important to start your preparations early and pay attention to the details and guidelines of each individual scholarship. Don’t limit yourself to only high-dollar scholarships; it doesn’t matter whether you receive one larger scholarship or ten smaller ones – the goal is to acquire whatever assistance you can to reduce your financial responsibility. Apply for as many scholarships as you can; the more work you put in now the more possibilities you have for tuition coverage. If you don’t get a scholarship this year from one particular organization, try again next year. Use what you’ve learned, make adjustments if necessary, and don’t give up.

Search and Apply for Scholarships on helps students and parents search and apply for scholarships, grants, awards and other financial aid options to help pay for college. Whether you are a high school senior starting college or a single mom going back to school, you can find money for college through