Agriculture, Extension, and 4-H Agents
There is a bit of overlap among these positions. Agriculture agents often work for the United States Department of Agriculture, inspecting farms, farm animals, slaughterhouses, milk plants, and other places where food is grown. In addition, they work closely with farmers to help them set up and operate a farm. Extension agents, who are usually affiliated with 4-H clubs and other farm organizations, also work closely with farmers. They may help the farmers to produce more crops by running specific tests on the soil, or help increase milk production by changing the dairy cows' diet. 4-H agents oversee and run volunteer 4-H clubs. They all can operate out of county extension offices.
All of these agents have expertise in production, processing, and distribution of agricultural products. They are well versed on environmental and conservation issues. They may also handle marketing by educating the public about farm concerns. Some teach, and all work closely with farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, and commodity groups. In addition, they are on top of economic trends.
How much milk can a cow produce in a year?
A dairy cow produces enough milk to fill 26,000 glasses. Depending on the size of the cow, she will have to be fed ten to forty pounds of hay and grass each day. A cow also needs to consume a half-pound of grain for each pound of milk she produces.
For the most part, 4-H agents work with youngsters ages nine through nineteen. They educate them on all aspects of farming through 4-H clubs. Most 4-H agents, agricultural agents, and extension agents started out as members of their local 4-H clubs in elementary and high school. To become a 4-H agent, it is essential to rise in the ranks of your local 4-H club and have a teaching background.
Agricultural and extension agents should have a master's degree in agriculture, family and consumer science, education, or science/ technology. Several colleges and universities offer degree programs in agriculture and extension work, including Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Penn State, and Purdue University. For a more extensive list see
Salaries for agriculture, extension, and 4-H agents range between $30,000 and $65,000, depending on your experience, location, and the size of the department.