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Agricultural Consultant Profile

Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Agricultural Consultant. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as an Agricultural Consultant
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Agricultural Consultant Work Information


Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

An agricultural consultant or adviser, like any consultant, is a professional problem-solver, retained to research and find solutions to the problems of clients. Clients can be:

• farmers;
• growers;
• landowners;
• conservation organisations;
• public bodies;
• other agricultural businesses in manufacturing and services.

An agricultural consultant or adviser may be a business specialist, experienced in the problems of the agricultural industry, which is largely composed of SMEs (small and medium enterprises), or they may be a technical specialist focusing on arable crops, agronomy, nutrition, livestock, technical applications or environment and conservation.

Consultants and advisers must be aware of the business implications of their advice and the business needs of their employers.

What does the role encounter?

An Agricultural Consultant’s work may include:

Common work activities carried out by agricultural consultants and advisers typically include:

• visiting clients to identify and evaluate their business and/or technical requirements;
• collecting and analysing data, crop yield and financial reports, to measure performance;
• preparing or modifying business or operating plans;
• solving problems and creating solutions, including organising and conducting field trials;
• organising presentations, demonstrations, training, and farm walks for clients, colleagues, partnership organisations, professional bodies and other interested groups;
• communicating effectively, both in writing and orally, with clients, colleagues and members of the public;
• writing advisory leaflets, technical notes and, possibly, press releases and articles;
• marketing and promoting the organisation to new customers, whilst maintaining existing client relationships;
• researching and keeping up to date with any relevant developments taking place;
• undertaking general administrative duties, managing budgets and accounts, updating information, and preparing reports;
• updating and continually contributing towards own professional development.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

• Starting salaries for consultants and advisers vary between £14,000 and £20,000.
• Salaries for experienced consultants can vary between £25,000 and £50,000.
• Salaries will tend to vary between consultancy and advisory specialisms. Agricultural business consultants will tend to earn more than technical crop consultants and agronomists. Agricultural advisers and consultants working for charities and in the public sector are likely to earn less than those working in private consultancies.
• Agricultural consultancy and advisory work is mainly project-based. Payment varies between hourly rates and acreage fees. Hourly rates, used typically for short visits, will vary between £50 and £150 dependent on the type of consultancy provided. Acreage fees tend to be used when consultants have a long-term relationship with a farm or business and vary between £4 and £5 per acre.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Working hours can be demanding and varied, depending on the season, with unsocial hours common in busy periods. The work also requires a lot of time to be spent away from the office.

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have some or all of the following type of skills to carry out this job:

• communication, for dealings with clients and maintenance of relationships;
• commercial, for the development of new business opportunities and the building of a client base;
• technical and analytical ability;
• the ability to work on own initiative as well as being able to work as part of a team.

Some of the larger agricultural consultancies offer graduate recruitment schemes, generally focusing on farm management and agricultural business. On the whole, most consultancies advertise vacancies as they become available. Speculative applications can be useful, as is the development of a network of contacts.

What type of training will I receive?

The training that is offered by agricultural consultancies involves a mixture of short courses and project work, supervised by a senior and more experienced colleague. The structure and duration of any training programme will depend upon the size of the consultancy and the needs of the business.

Consultants working in the technical side of agricultural consultancy may need to undergo certain training, for example those involved in crop consultancy may need to undertake training for Fertiliser Advisers Certification and Training Scheme (FACTS) and British Agrochemical Standards Inspection Scheme (BASIS) standards.

Career Progression:

Within commercial agricultural consultancies, career development will largely depend on performance and revenue earned, but will also depend on the size of the employing organisation. Within smaller consultancies, promotion to more senior roles may be limited and relocation or specialisation required. Career progression is likely to lead from junior consultant to senior consultant, then to team leader with the possibility of an invitation to become a partner or director.

For those based in the public sector and within charitable organisations, career development is likely to be linked to performance and increased responsibility, possibly moving on to team leader and management positions.

There is no set career structure for the independent consultant (although setting up your own operation may be the ultimate step in an agriculturally-based career); there is simply the satisfaction of managing and developing your own business.

What Sort Of Industries Have A Requirement For This Type Of Job?

1. Schemes within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), eg the Farm Business Advice Service (FBAS), and the England Rural Development Programme (ERDP);
2. Agricultural Development and Advisory Service (ADAS) – a privatised, research-led agricultural consultancy;
3. The National Trust;
4. property firms with specialist agricultural divisions;
5. farming cooperatives (who have occasional vacancies);
6. commercial companies supplying products, equipment and services to the industry;
7. environmental and conservation bodies, eg the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and wildlife trusts;
8. opportunities for self-employment - the Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC) has about 200 members.

Are Their Related Types Of Jobs?

Yes. This list is not exhaustive but here are some similar and associated types of role:

• Animal nutritionist
• Farm manager
• Field trials officer
• Horticultural consultant
• Horticulturist, commercial
• Land-based engineer
• Plant breeder/geneticist
• Soil scientist
• Technical sales engineer.

What trade magazines or publications are available for this industry?

All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:

Association of Independent Crop Consultants.
British Institute of Agricultural Consultants.
Farmers Weekly.
New Scientist.
Scottish Farmer.

Where can I find further information?

Further information can be found by visiting any of the following bodies and organisations the addresses and their respective websites are:

Agricultural Development and Advisory Service (ADAS) - ADAS Wolverhampton HQ, Woodthorne, Wergs Road, Wolverhampton WV6 8TQ - Tel: 01902 754190
www.adas.co.uk.

Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC) - Agriculture House, Station Road, Liss, Hampshire GU33 7AR - Tel: 01730 895 354 - www.aicc.org.uk/

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) - Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1UH - Tel: 01793 413 200 - www.bbsrc.ac.uk/

British Institute of Agricultural Consultants (BIAC) - The Estate Office, Torry Hill, Milstead, Sittingbourne, Kent ME9 0SP - Tel: 01795 830 100 - www.biac.co.uk

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) - Information Resource Centre, Lower Ground Floor, Ergon House, c/o Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR - Tel: 08459 33 55 77 - www.defra.gov.uk/

Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) - National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2RX - Tel: 024 7669 6699 - www.fwag.org.uk/

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - Magdalen House, Trinity Road, Bootle, Merseyside L20 3QZ - Tel: 08701545500 - www.hse.gov.uk/

Institute of Biology (IOB) - 20 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DZ - Tel: 020 7581 8333 - www.iob.org/

Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) - 5 Cambridge Court, 210 Shepherd's Bush Rd, London W6 7NJ - Tel: 020 7603 6316 - www.ifst.org/

Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) - West End Rd, Silsoe, Bedford MK45 4DU - Tel: 01525 861 096 - www.iagre.org/

The National Trust - 36 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AS - Tel: 0870 609 5380 - www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Other Useful Agricultural Consultant Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Agricultural Consultant job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Agricultural Consultant Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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