|MadSci Network: Agricultural Sciences|
Hi Trina, You've been sent to the right person to answer your question, having only last year finished a big job search that had me interviewing for government, industry and University positions. If you have a bachlors degree in Agriculture you can start at $20-25,000/year. If you have a Masters degree in Agriculture you can start at $25-30,000/year. I think you want to know what a PhD agricultural scientist might possibly earn so I will concentrate on that. A federal government agricultural scientist will now start at GS-12 and get close to $50,000/year. An older established government scientist can get up to the $80,000/year range. University agricultural scientists can start at $45,000 to 55,000 depending on the size of the University. Depending on how the person does at the University, an older university scientist probably will make about $70,000. The thing is when you work for a university you can make lots of money on the side. A good friend of mine (university agricultural scientist) got to be an expert witness on a big case between some farmers and chemical company. They paid him $200/hour to study the issues and testify at the court. He made enough money that year to build a new house. Government scientists can't be paid to do this and scientists who work for companies have to give the money to the company. Agricultural Scientists who work for companies can start at $60,000 and the sky is the limit as to how much they can make over time. If they move up the corporate ladder or invent something sellable they can become very rich. If they don't do well or the company has problems, they can be fired very easily. It is harder to fire University scientists (the University has one shot after 6 years - called the tenure process). Government scientists are very hard to fire. Also you can try to start your own crop advisory company, it's difficult to be successful, but those who are do quite well. It is very risky, once your reputation falls apart, you are out of work. So that's the range. Many people with PhD's in agriculture however are having trouble finding permanent positions and end up taking Post docs which only pay about $25-30,000/year for a couple of years. Many with degrees never find a good job in agricultural science and end up doing something else.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Agricultural Sciences.