Agricultural Inspector: Salary and Career Facts

An agricultural inspector works to make sure that laws and regulations are followed in the agricultural industry. Learn more about job duties, potential salary and training requirements for this job. Schools offering Culinary Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Do as an Agricultural Inspector?

The goal of your work as an agricultural inspector is to ensure compliance with laws and regulations in the agriculture industry. These may include laws governing product quality, safe processing practices, consumer safety and health. You may be responsible for inspections of beef, poultry, fish, grains and fertilizer. Some inspectors specialize in more narrowly defined niches, such as beehive inspection.

Your job will involve traveling to food processing plants, farms and other agricultural businesses to perform inspections. You'll be looking for violations such as pest infestations, diseased animals and inaccurately weighed products. Maintaining expertise in current laws and regulations is an important component of agricultural inspection. In some cases, enforcement of laws and regulations may be necessary; you may need to shut down facilities with major violations.

What Salary Is Possible?

As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for agricultural inspectors was $41,860 in 2009 (www.bls.gov). The vast majority of these inspectors worked in government positions, including roughly 5,000 at the federal level, 4,500 at the state level and 600 at the local level. On average, federal inspectors earned an annual mean wage of $45,500 in 2009, as reported by the BLS. The highest wages during this time were offered by private wholesalers, where inspectors earned an annual mean wage of $62,040.

What Type of Training Will I Need?

Many agricultural inspectors receive on-the-job training. As you prepare to look for a job, there may not be a degree field or prior work experience that potential employers will be seeking. Some employers could expect you to have work experience in a similar field, such as food processing. In other cases, you might need a college degree.

Earning a bachelor's degree in agricultural business or animal science could prepare you for work as an agricultural inspector. In an agricultural business program, your studies can cover a variety of topics related to the agriculture industry, including commodities marketing, agricultural law and agricultural economics. Animal science programs might include coursework in livestock production and dairy business management.

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