Early mornings, late nights and long days; three things that the modern farmer knows all too well.

However, in today’s world, the agricultural industry encompasses much more than just farming. From natural resource conservation to precision agriculture, careers in this ever-advancing industry are as diverse as the people that pursue them.

The agricultural industry and those who chose it as their life path are responsible for many comforts of the society that we know today. There are many different career paths that someone can follow within this industry, but all are connected by the idea that a better today leads to a better tomorrow.

There is a certain pride that comes along with tending for our planet, nurturing the soil and preserving the natural wonders of the world. No other career field is responsible for feeding the planet’s population, which is growing at an alarming rate.

By 2050, the population is expected to reach 9.5 billion, and food production will need to have doubled. Farmers work daylight to dusk to ensure that there is enough food for everyone, and they will have to work harder and smarter to accomplish that same goal in the future.

What other career field has this kind of weight on its shoulders?

Conservationists work tirelessly to ensure that the world is just as beautiful for future generations as it is today. Not only have they developed conservation plans for today’s producers, but they have learned from past mistakes and evolved their methods.

Agriculture may have led to The Dust Bowl, but it also created one of the most respected and dedicated conservation organizations that have ever existed, the Soil Conservation Service, now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which employs thousands of people all working toward the common goal of improving and saving our natural resources. 

Biotechnology and those who sit on the cutting edge of science are working to make crop yields higher, and the use of pesticides and herbicides lower. People in impoverished areas will soon have access to high-nutrient quality crops that will reduce the impacts of micronutrient deficiencies, which are serious deficiencies affecting half of children worldwide ages 6 months to 5 years old, and more than 2 billion people globally.

Let us not forget those who influence the work force of tomorrow. Agriculture teachers have the huge task of instilling an interest in agriculture in our children. Teachers shape the next generation, and agriculture teachers shape the next generation of caretakers in this demanding industry. They work day in and day out to share their knowledge, passion and compassion for others with their students.

As an undergraduate student who is working toward a career in the agricultural industry, I have big shoes to fill. Those who have come before me have set the stage as some of the hardest working, most dedicated and driven individuals in the job force.

We all have one thing in common, however, and that is the passion for the industry itself. No other career field is as rewarding, fulfilling, and challenging as agriculture.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Lacy Fallon is a senior who majors in Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University. She is currently an intern with the Crestview USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.