Career opportunities in agricultural finance may offer you the best of two worlds-rural life and the type of job that is often most available in bigger cities.
What Is Agricultural Finance?
If you love working with money and you are interested in agriculture, career opportunities in agricultural finance may be something to pursue. You could find yourself assisting with loans for first-time farmers and ranchers through various programs, conducting research in agricultural real estate, or working to sell a service. You could be a controller of a company, the chief financial accountant (CFO), the grain accountant, and so on. The jobs within the agricultural finance realm are similar to those finance jobs outside of agriculture. You just get to mix your love of working with numbers and money with a very specific subject: agriculture.
Where You May Work
- Commercial banks
- Farm credit administration
- Farm Service Agency
- Insurance office
Career Opportunities in Agricultural Finance
Some of the sample job titles within the agricultural finance category include:
Chief Financial Officer (CFO): In this position, you would protect company assets, analyze and report on financial data, inspect lender relations, and work to create financial strategies for the company.
Controller: In this position, you would be responsible for making goals for the company and ensuring that they are met. You are responsible for developing policies and procedures that encompass the budget, management of the finance team, accounting, and payroll.
Accountant: Here, you're responsible for tax planning for the farmers. You may also advise in other areas, sometimes through speaking at seminars.
Auditor: With this position, you'll plan, organize, and direct multiple types of audits in order to improve the effectiveness of internal controls. Other responsibilities may include fraud investigations and due diligence projects.
Agricultural Lender: Here, you will seek out new business while maintaining relationships with current clients. You'll also prepare loan requests and identify any credit risks on existing portfolios.
Director of Agricultural Investments: This type of job title generally includes supervising the team in underwriting mortgages for farms and ranches. You may be responsible for loan origination, loan closings, and more.
Credit Analyst: With this job title, you'll be responsible for collecting debts from clients by working out payment plans. You will be expected to provide excellent customer service.
What You Need for the Job
Depending on the type of job you get in agricultural finance, you may need to:
- Have excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Thoroughly understand the farm credit system
- Have sales experience
- Have a bachelor's or master's degree in agricultural marketing, business, or finance; in some cases, you'll need a CPA or CFA license
- Be a people person so that you can effectively work with a team and with clients
- Know how to use a computer to search the Internet, use word-processing and spreadsheet programs, and prepare taxes
- Possess critical thinking and problem solving skills
- Ability to conduct research in the agricultural real estate market and compile data
- Credit decision-making skills
Finding a Job in Agricultural Finance
You can start your search online at some of the well-known job finder websites or you can go for one that caters more to the agricultural finance world.
- Agriseek requires you to set up an account before you can view the jobs listed on the site, but it's free to sign up.
- Ag-Careers is designed to help those who live in the Midwest to find their ideal job in agriculture, including in agricultural finance.
- AGRIcareers is another site that works to match employees and employers up in all fields of agriculture.
- Job Target allows you to search by keyword, location, or company. You can easily search for agricultural finance positions and get listings for titles like Agriculture Loan Officer.
The career opportunities in agricultural finance span from assisting with loans to working in sales. It is a wider field than you may think at first, so if your two passions include working with numbers and agriculture, this could be a good fit. You'll need to achieve a solid understanding of farmers' and ranchers' way of life in order to thrive in the agricultural finance positions.