7 Soft Skills Agriculturists Need to Succeed
and How to Improve Them
Biological expertise, commercial and market expertise, tech-related information, or a background in equipment and machinery are essential skills for being an agriculturist - and there is no doubt that these fundamental hard skills are essential for success and advancing in the industry.
However, there are additional abilities that aren't as frequently discussed in the agricultural sector that can help farmers progress even further.
These are known as soft skill or people skills.
What Are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are personality qualities and social abilities that define an individual's interactions with others. They are seen as an addition to hard skills in the job, which include knowledge and practical abilities.
Soft skills are more about a person's character and personality rather than their direct, applicable knowledge.
As a result, they cover the behavioral features that determine how well one gets along with others and are typically a defined aspect of an individual's personality - like emotional intelligence for instance.
Hard skills and all other aspects of a person must be strengthened by soft skills - however, no one is born with soft skills.
These skills can and must be grown, built, and improved. Just like knowing the mechanics of a financial graph or the biology of a crop, soft skills need to be grasped before being concentrated on.
With that said, what are the vital soft skills required for success in a career as an agriculturalist?
Interaction And Interpersonal Skills
Any business needs strong human relationships to succeed, and agriculture is no different.
As an agriculturalist, you should be able to interact and communicate with a variety of individuals who may have an impact on your operation - some of these individuals include - workers, vendors from whom you get your farming supplies, clients, fellow farmers, and, if any, investors.
To effectively convey knowledge to those you interact with, you should be a competent conversationalist.
Additionally, you must make time to hone your communication skills because you will spend most of your time alone with your livestock or plants. When it comes to speaking to others presently, this will be of tremendous use to you.
Just keep in mind that you need help. How you interact with individuals will have a big impact on how successful your farm is.
Other people are the ones who will provide work, help you get the needed goods, and ultimately purchase your goods.
Your responsibility as a farmer and agricultural professional is to face the day-to-day complications of running a business head-on and be able to process the information presented to you.
The agricultural sector requires the ability to make decisions regarding the best kinds of crop to grow, the best ways to allocate their budgets and whatnot.
For example, you would need to find a way to strike a balance between consumer needs and expectations.
To improve your critical thinking skills, you need to always investigate and test your assumptions. Find evidence that contradicts your presumptions to gain a better understanding of alternative viewpoints.
Further, dissect problems into smaller components, evaluate them on a micro vs. macro scale, and then piece them back together before determining your next course of action. This approach will help you to develop your problem solving and decision making skills.
As an agriculturist, you always have a positive attitude to situations. The concept of positive thinking holds that having an optimistic outlook may help you and the people around you.
There is no denying that working with or for a person who is upbeat, kind, and has a positive attitude is more enjoyable than working with somebody who constantly sees the negative side of things and is unpleasant.
So, always ensure you aren't cynical about situations - be realistic, not negative.
Farming, as was previously said, is a business. This means that it requires the same management as an enterprise, such as cash flow, documentation, equipment, personnel, everyday operations, etc. Thus, being well-organized becomes essential to maintaining the efficiency of all operations.
Even a straightforward agricultural operation might be difficult to run if you don't maintain orderly documentation or schedule your day's tasks. A good farmer should be able to easily identify all of the farm's documents and know where they are.
This covers all of the documentation related to finance, wages, certifications, labor agreements, farming supplies, servicing plans, and so on. This is a soft ability you must have if you desire to be a prosperous farmer, particularly if you're just starting out or farming on a micro level.
However, for commercial agriculture, you can undoubtedly opt to pay a specialist to handle all of your documentation and maintain order.
Adept Learner and Adaptive skill
Before starting a farm, it's crucial to have most of the information required, but you can't have it all. Since new agricultural techniques and technologies are developed every single day, farming includes a constant learning process.
This implies that as you proceed, you must constantly learn and try to understand anything new that is shown to you.
Undoubtedly, you'll come across novel and difficult areas of farming that you were unaware even existed. You risk falling behind the competition or failing if you aren't adaptable and flexible.
This industry will continue to evolve; thus, it doesn't need somebody who is so set in their ways and unable to adapt to new information. For a successful agricultural business, you must constantly learn new things.
As a farmer, your customers need to know you are dependable and deserving of respect. They need to know that you are reliable and able to meet their needs on time.
For example, if you are a farmer who produces corn, and your client is a factory involved in cereal production, they need to know that you would always deliver their product without any reasonable delays or excuses.
Being a team player means having the ability to collaborate with others to achieve a common objective.
As an agriculturalist, you serve as a part of the general production chain for most goods, meaning you basically provide the raw materials used for making most goods - for example, a farmer provides the cotton used in the textile industry.
So, being this important to most productive processes means that you need to always work and cooperate with other stakeholders involved in the process.
In fact, to be a successful agriculturalist, your clients and customers have to know that you prioritize their objectives - meaning, you respect their deadlines and are dedicated to helping them reach their goals.
About the Author
Cristina Par is a content specialist with a passion for writing articles that bridge the gap between brands and their audiences. She believes that high-quality content plus the right link building strategies can turn the tables for businesses small and large.