Agriculture is the production of food and other goods by systematic and controlled growing of plants and living organisms. Agriculture industry plays a major role in the Indian economic scenario contributing around 20% of Gross Domestic product (GDP). Around 62% of the Indian population depend on it for their livelihood. The field of agriculture include farm management, horticulture, businesses and industries that manufacture agricultural machinery, industries that buy and process farm products, banking activities for financing and developing farms, research for improving quantity and quality of farm products and so on. Nowadays, the state of agriculture has improved a lot and has become highly scientific, sophisticated and mechanized. Only a small percentage in this field are engaged in traditional farming occupation. The vast majority work as either agricultural professionals/ scientists or in business related careers, such as marketing and merchandising.
The study of agriculture is termed as agricultural science. It is a multidisciplinary field which consists of a variety of scientific, technical and business subjects that promote the efficient production of quality food on the farm and in the agricultural-food industry linked to farming. Closely related to biological science, it uses the principles of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics to solve the problems related to agriculture. Agricultural science include research and development on production techniques; improving agricultural productivity in terms of quantity and quality; transformation of primary products into end consumer products and prevention and correction of adversities. Major areas of specialisation within agricultural science are food science, plant science, soil science and animal science.
Agricultural science professionals specialize in agricultural production and livestock. They play an important role in maintaining the nation's food supply. Some of the major tasks performed by them involves improving the quality and quantity of farming; improving crop yield with less labour; conservation of soil and water; controlling pests and weeds more safely and effectively etc. In short, Agricultural scientists engage in research to discover and promote effective, practical pathways to sustainable land use, food and fiber production and food harvesting.
Those who have a passion for research, development and improvement in the existing agricultural products can opt for agricultural science as their career. The courses offered by various agricultural universities are designed for students interested in production agriculture, farm management etc. which can produce trained professionals in this field. Several career opportunities exist in different areas of agricultural production, research and development, social services, business, education and the non-profit sector. Even though food production is the major phase of agricultural industry, textiles and fibers also makeup a large portion of agriculture.
Students who wish to pursue a career in agricultural science should possess a strong foundation in botany, physics, chemistry and mathematics. Various universities and colleges in India offers Under-graduate, Post-graduate, Diploma and Doctorate courses in agriculture science.
A bachelors degree is enough for the trade in product development or applied research in agriculture. For a career as an agricultural scientist, a master's degree is necessary and Ph.D in agriculture is needed for the post of a senior researcher and teaching profession. Those with post graduate diploma and degree in agriculture and related subjects can become an agriculture technologists.
Educational: The basic eligibility criteria for B.Sc Agriculture Science is 10+2 or equivalent with science subjects with a minimum 50% marks. Duration of the course is 4 years and the admission to most of the institutions is based on merit or performance in the entrance examination conducted by the concerned institute/ university or on the basis of marks obtained in the ICAR Examination.
B.Sc or B.Tech degree in relevant subject is needed for the 2 year Master's degree programmes. In M.Sc. Agriculture science several specialisations are offered in the branches like agronomy, plant physiology, nematology, seed technology, soil science and soil conservation, sericulture, animal husbandry and dairy, horticulture, water conservation, farming system management, agricultural botany, agricultural biotechnology, agricultural chemistry, agricultural Economics, agricultural marketing management and so on.
For the 3 years Ph.D, one needs to have post graduate degree like M.Sc or M.Tech in related field. Almost all the agricultural universities provide Ph.D degree in different disciplines. Several institutes offer P.G Diploma courses in agriculture and those having a bachelors degree with an extensive knowledge base in agricultural science can opt for these courses.
Selection : Admission to all the courses in Agricultural science are made through Entrance Examination. These exams are conducted by the concerned institute/ university.
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi conduct an entrance examination separately for graduate and postgraduate courses. Eligibility requirement for the exam is 12th pass in science / agriculture with 50% marks for graduate level courses, and 60% marks in B.Sc / B.Sc (Agriculture) for postgraduate level courses. Certain institutes admit students on the basis of the marks obtained in ICAR examination. ICAR also provide fellowship for all the students of postgraduate courses and for those students who've got Junior Research Fellowship during the entrance exam at the postgraduate level. Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Delhi; Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar; National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal and Central Institute on Fisheries Education, Mumbai are some of the major institutes that conducts their own entrance examination.
Personal Attributes: To be a successful agricultural professional, one must have a good knowledge in science, and be familiar with crops, pastures, soil types, agricultural and horticultural chemicals etc. They should have a keen and analytical mind, a high level of concentration, an aptitude for research, ability to work as part of a team, abundant physical stamina to put in long hours of work and patience. Other needed attributes are good observation skills, communication skill, organizing skills, written and oral skills, the ability to give presentations and knowledge of common business concepts. Computer knowledge is essential to analyze data and to control biological and chemical processing. This profession demands hard work and high level of patience along with many years of study.