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Agricultural Economist PDF Print E-mail

Job overview
Agricultural economists are concerned with the economics of agriculture and the distribution of agricultural products. Their primary objective is to maximise agriculture's profitability.

What do people do in this job?
Agricultural economists' concerns cover the manufacture and distribution of agricultural means of production, farming itself, the determination of government policy on agricultural and consumption affairs, the purchasing, processing and distribution of agricultural products, the financing of all aspects of agricultural production and the sale of agricultural products, economic evaluation of agricultural projects, agricultural development.

Usually each agricultural economist specialises in a certain field.

The seven areas of an agricultural economist's field of study are:-

  • Production economics - The relationship between inputs, production and profit, together with labour utilisation.
  • Financial management - The management process, agricultural planning and principles of financing.
  • Agricultural marketing - All aspects of marketing, including the price system and market types.
  • Agricultural policy - The interaction between agriculture and other sectors, trade policy, production policy, price and income policy and government functions.
  • Agricultural development - The role of agriculture in the development of a country's economy and the roles of government and private enterprise.
  • Operational research - The application of economic simulation and optimisation techniques on agricultural problems.
  • Natural resource and environmental economics - The economic evaluation of the interaction between agricultural production processes and the natural environment.

What kinds of people are suitable for this career?
Agricultural economists must be interested in agriculture and agricultural affairs. Their approach to problem solving should be creative, thorough and analytical.

A number of government departments employ agricultural economists, principally Lands and Agriculture.

Other institutions and organisations employing them are: agricultural producer organisations, financial institutions, agricultural co-operatives, commercial and manufacturing companies concerned with agricultural inputs and products.

Increasingly, agricultural economists are establishing themselves as private consultants.

What qualifications are needed?
At least a first degree in agricultural economics or economics, preferably supplemented by postgraduate studies.

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