What can you realistically expect for a salary?

Hoard's Dairyman: 

What can you realistically expect for a salary?

Date: 
Thu, 08/29/2013

Financial data from 1,500 agriculture students gives you a better feel for that number.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

It’s that time of year. Across the country, millions of students have returned to their chosen institution of higher education. For a quarter of these students, it’s their first time stepping foot on a college campus. At the other end of the spectrum though, there are another 25 percent of students who are stepping foot in their hallowed halls for the last time, should they choose to enter the work force immediately after graduation.

ag students

For this group of students, the job search is imminent and that first salary offer can be overwhelming. As a soon-to-be graduate, what can you reasonably expect as an entry-level salary based on your major and chosen career path?

Compiling data from the college of agriculture at 16 key universities located throughout the Midwest and the South, Iowa State University’s data gives you a feeling for just what that number may be. Data was collected from career services offices from December 2012 and May 2013 undergraduates.

The pretax incomes of 1,548 students were pooled to find the low, high and average salary for an array of potential careers. Additionally, 968 graduates in the agricultural colleges at these universities pursued further education.

Average salaries for recent ag graduates
Job Avg. salary Low salary High salary No. of graduates
Agricultural Economics and Business degree
Farm Management $45,568 $30,000 $93,000
22
Lending/Finance $44,117 $22,500 $80,000
48
Agricultural Education, Communication and Studies degree
Ag Education Teacher $40,762 $31,800 $60,000
23
Communications/Public Relations $32,281 $16,500 $45,000
16
Cooperative Extension System $30,407 $18,600 $38,500
6
Farming Operation $45,875 $30,000 $79,500
8
Marketing $40,340 $16,500 $60,000
15
Agronomy and Crop Sciences degree
Agronomist $46,500 $30,000 $66,000
23
Crop Scout/Consultant $42,773 $32,000 $60,000
11
Animal and Dairy Sciences degree
A.I. Technician/Breeding $36,500 34,000 $38,000
5
Farm Operation $34,013 $25,000 $46,000
6
Feed/Nutrition $42,611 $34,000 $52,000
9
Herdsman $34,500 $25,000 $42,000
10
Sales Representative $42,800 $30,000 $55,000
15
Vet Technician $25,555 $16,500 $40,000
17
Food Science, Human Nutrition and Dietetics degree
Quality Assurance/Control $44,417 $20,000 $60,000
25
Research and Development $47,886 $28,000 $60,000
18
Technical & Biosystems Engineering, Industrial Technology, and Packaging Services degree
Engineer, General $56,513 $33,000 $80,000
34
Packaging Engineer $56,128 $40,000 $72,000
50

Many of the schools' students who choose to attend for a dairy education have also embraced the enhanced-learning opportunities that programs like Dairy Challenge and international experiences provide. Of those that completed our recent survey of four-year programs, all but five universities participated in Dairy Challenge and/or offered international dairy opportunities.

To see the full salary break down by major and career path, click here.


Amanda blog footer

The author is an associate editor and an animal science graduate of Cornell University. Smith covers feeding, milk quality and heads up the World Dairy Expo Supplement. She grew up on a Medina, N.Y., dairy, and interned at a 1,700-cow western New York dairy, a large New York calf and heifer farm, and studied in New Zealand for one semester.

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