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Agricultural and food scientists held about 30,000 jobs in 2004. In addition, several thousand persons held agricultural science faculty positions in colleges and universities. (See the statement on postsecondary teachers elsewhere in the Handbook.)
About 1 in 4 salaried agricultural and food scientists work for Federal, State, or local governments. One out of 7 worked for State governments at State agricultural colleges or agricultural research stations. Another one out of 10 worked for the Federal Government in 2004, mostly in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some worked for agricultural service companies; others worked for commercial research and development laboratories, seed companies, pharmaceutical companies, wholesale distributors, and food products companies. About 10,000 agricultural scientists were self-employed in 2004, mainly as consultants.
Median annual earnings of food scientists and technologists were $50,840 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $36,450 and $72,510. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,410, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $91,300. Median annual earnings of soil and plant scientists were $51,200 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $37,890 and $69,120. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,660, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $88,840. In May 2004, median annual earnings of animal scientists were $49,920.
The average Federal salary for employees in nonsupervisory, supervisory, and managerial positions in 2005 was $87,025 in animal science and $73,573 in agronomy.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, beginning salary offers in 2005 for graduates with a bachelor's degree in animal sciences averaged $30,614 a year; plant sciences, $31,649 a year; and in other agricultural sciences, $36,189 a year.
Earnings by State
Earnings by Metropolitan Area