Careers in Agricultural and Rural Policy

Careers in Agricultural and Rural Policy

Students will develop the necessary skills to become effective leaders in agriculture-related companies, non-profit associations and organizations, and state and local government agencies that work on issues related to agriculture, food and community. Internships are an important part of the major.

Policy-related jobs are expected to grow 6 to 9 percent over the next decade, faster than other jobs nationally.1 Starting pay with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural policy-related fields range from $58,850 to $64,650.2 For students with exceptional academics and internships, starting pay can be as high as $77,500. After 5 years of experience or a graduate degree, pay typically ranges from $92,150 to $108,900.

Based on alumni surveys, Agricultural and Rural Policy Studies graduate work as:

  • Policy and legislative advisors, lobbyists
  • Agriculture and farmer relations specialists
  • Government affairs specialists
  • Public information or communications specialists
  • Research analysts in the social sciences
  • Agricultural and environmental educators
  • Community and economic developers
  • City clerks and city managers
  • Jobs in agriculture marketing and sales
  • Attending law school or graduate school

Most alumni are employed by agricultural businesses and cooperatives (farmer relations, government affairs, lobbyist, public information), non-profit organizations and government (policy analyst, legislative advisor, lobbyist, research analyst, public information, economic/community developer), and to a lesser extent by electric utilities and civil engineering firms (who employ government affairs, communications, and community development specialists).

1 Based on US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook for 2019-2029
2 Based on federal government pay ranges for USDA policy analyst positions in Des Moines IA, step 1 pay bands of GS-10/11/12 and GS-13/14/15.