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Career in Agriculture
India is one of the leading agricultural countries in the world. Agriculture plays an important role in driving the state of Indian economy. The impact of agriculture is not only on the production of food grains, vegetables and fruits, but on so many agriculture dependent industries which get their raw material from agriculture sector.
In recent years, the state of agriculture has improved a lot and it has started using state of art farming methodology, genetically improved seeds and cross bred varieties for high yield. Indian Agricultural sector plays a crucial role in the economic development of the country. It contributes 29.4% of GDP. It employs about 64% of the work force. Over the years significant strides have been made in agricultural production towards ensuring food security. Agricultural Research and Education is being undertaken by agricultural universities, institutions and Postgraduate colleges for agricultural education and veterinary science.
Agriculture is the mainstay of our economy. It provides food to millions and raw material for our industries. India also has enormous potential as an exporter of agricultural commodities. The variety of climatic types and natural conditions offer a conducive environment for the cultivation of a large variety of agricultural produce. Work in agricultural sectors ranges from the totally academic pursuits of research and teaching to inspection and other supervisory work to commercial activities of establishing farms, plantations, orchards and carrying on exports of produce from them.
Agriculture is no longer practised by rule of thumb, instead it has become highly scientific, sophisticated and mechanised and consequently, very profitable too. Horticulture, dairying and poultry farming are allied agricultural activities that have become economically viable opportunities today. The impact of agriculture is not only on the production of food grains, vegetables and fruits, but on so many agriculture dependent industries which get their raw material from agriculture sector.
Courses / Training in Agriculture :
Graduate and Postgraduate Level Courses : Basic training in agriculture is offered as a Bachelor’s degree course of three to four years duration at all the agricultural universities in the country.
For graduate level courses candidate can take admission directly at any state agricultural university. For this eligibility criterion is 12th pass in science / agriculture. Many universities fix a minimum aggregate of 50% marks to be obtained in the qualifying examination, although admission is given on the basis of merit / performance in entrance exam ( exam is conducted by the concerned university ) and for admission in Master Degree courses for different subjects, eligibility criteria is Bachelor degree in science / agriculture on the basis of merit / entrance exam.
Notifications of the courses at various places appear from January onwards, while the sessions usually start front July or September. But Indian Council of Agricultural Research Conduct the entrance examination separately for graduate and postgraduate courses each year in the month of April / May for which eligibility criteria is 12th pass in science / agriculture with 50% marks for Graduate level courses and for postgraduate level courses eligibility requirement is B.Sc / B.Sc (Ag) with 60% marks. Indian Council of Agricultural Research provide the fellowship for all the student of postgraduate courses and for those student who got Junior Research Fellowship during the entrance exam of postgraduate level.
More than 40 colleges offer the B.Sc ( Ag. ) / B.Tech. Course, as also the Post graduate level courses are M.Sc / M.Tech degree in different discipline like agronomy, soil science, horticulture, plant physiology, agricultural economics, agricultural statistics, agricultural chemistry, animal husbandry and dairy. Plant genetics & Breeding, Animal Genetics & Breeding, farming system management and agricultural marketing management. Also there are around 20 institutions offering BE Agricultural Engineering Courses etc.
Doctoral Degree :
All the agricultural universities provide Ph.D degree in different discipline. Also deemed universities of ICAR namely Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal and Central Institute on Fisheries Education, Mumbai, each year conduct entrance examination separately for Ph.D degree in different discipline of Plant sciences, Veterinary sciences, Animal sciences and Fisheries sciences respectively for this degree eligibility criteria is master degree in respective subject with 60% marks. ICAR provide the fellowship to all Ph.D student for a period of three years.
Nature of Work :
Major career areas in the field of agriculture are : Agricultural Research, Agri – Business, Agro Industry, Agricultural Education, Agricultural Journalism, Services in Agriculture, Banking, Farming, Conservation, Agricultural Engineering, Management, Sericulture. Today, farming is high tech, big business, and most careers in agriculture are actually either business or science related. Only a small percentage of those employed – within the agricultural industry are employed in “traditional” farming occupations. To be specific, out of the 22 million people who directly work within the agricultural industry only 2 million are actively involved in “farming” on a daily basis ( Bureau of Labor Statistics ).
The vast majority work as either food / agricultural scientists or in business related careers, such as marketing and merchandising. A career in the science side of agriculture may be for you if you enjoy doing experiments and analyzing the results. Agricultural scientists study farm crops and animals, in an effort to improve both production methods and food quality. In their research, agricultural scientists draw from a wide variety of scientific disciplines such as biology, chemistry, phvsics, and mathematics. In recent years, technology has had an enormous impact on the field.
Advances in biotechnology have allowed agricultural scientists to manipulate the genetic make – up of plants and animals, which has created research opportunities in many areas of the agriculture and food sciences.
You will find four broad areas of specialization within Agricultural Science : Food Science, Plant Science, Soil Science and Animal Science.
Many food scientists work on developing new and improved ways of preserving, processing, packaging, storing, and delivering food to consumers according to industry and governmental standards and regulations. Others conduct basic research designed to discover new food sources; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, sugar, or protein; or search for substitutes for harmful or undesirable additives and preservatives.
The information gathered by food science research is then used by food technologists for product development and enhancement. The second area of specialization is plant science. Plant scientists work in the fields of agronomy ( the scientific management of soil and the production of crops ), environmental science, plant breeding, and entomology ( the study of insects ).
Some plant scientists conduct research that is used by the food, feed, and fiber industries to increase productivity and yield, while simultaneously maintaining the environment and conserving our natural resources, Others use biotechnology to study ways of improving the nutritional value of crops and the quality of seeds used to grow them. Entomologists are special kinds of plant scientists who examine insects and their relationship to plants. They conduct research to develop new and improved methods and technologies to control or eliminate pests.
Some entomologists also study and implement interventions that lower or eliminate the spread of insect – borne diseases. Closely related to plant science is the field of soil science. Soil scientists are concerned with how the composition of soil impacts plant growth and how various types of soils respond to things such as fertilizers, tillage practices, and crop rotation.
Farmers then use this information to maximize land usage and promote plant growth. Since soil science and environmental science are interrelated, soil scientists often work in ecology – related jobs to ensure environmental quality and effective land use. They are also employed in the construction industry, where they work with architects, construction companies, and landscape designers to address soil related problems such as drainage and erosion.