The Vertical Farming Job Market
Over the past decade, the growth of the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) movement is nothing short of spectacular. This industry expansion has given rise to exciting new vertical farming jobs.
The rise of vertical farming has come about due to a confluence of energies with consumer demand for fresh produce and advancements in horticulture technology. In assessing career opportunities in the CEA space, the M&F Talent recruitment team has paid careful attention to such critical market stimulators.
As the vertical farming industry has grown, our recruiters have seen job creation for Horticulturists, Engineers, Scientists, and Operations Managers – to name a few. This talent pool represents an eclectic mix of personalities in a line of work that blends and borrows between the natural world and modern technology.
Market Demand & Technological Innovation
The vertical farming industry has by stimulated consumer demand for fresh produce and advancements in hydroponics equipment.
Over the past decade, the restaurant and grocery industries have seen a major push for farm-to-table and organic produce. To this end, a more health-conscious population wants to know where their food was grown. Similarly, these people want to know their food was grown in sanitary conditions with organic inputs. Finally, many individuals are interested in supporting local farms, as opposed to getting their produce from overseas. This demand for fresh, organic produce has stimulated the rise of vertical farming operations throughout the world. To this end, industry leaders such as Plenty now employ over 300 employees to run their vertical farms. Plenty has also raised a whopping $540 million in funding.
Only recently has horticulture technology advanced to the point of actually making indoor farms profitable. This business opportunity gives rise to career opportunities in the CEA space. LED lighting is the most influential new technology in the vertical farming industry. The most defining characteristic of vertical farms is their efficient use of space. To this end, crops are often grown on tight shelves that rise upwards “vertically.” Crops such as greens are grown on these shelves, each featuring its own LED light source.
LED lights run extremely efficiently and produce very little heat. Due to these factors, vertical farms can pack their shelves tight with crops without overheating the operation. Similarly, the energy efficiency of LED lights actually makes indoor cultivation profitable through the drastic reduction of power bills.
As we can see, market demand and technological innovation have stimulated growth in the vertical farming sector. This growth has stimulated job creation in the CEA industry. Here are some popular positions that are offered in vertical farms:
Types of Vertical Farming Jobs
Mechanical Engineers at vertical farms work to design, install, and maintain the mechanical systems of an indoor garden. These systems generally function to maintain the environment in which plants thrive. They include HVAC, air filters, CO2 systems, horticultural lighting, irrigation systems, and more. Mechanical Engineers can expect to make $80k – $90k per year working for a vertical farming company.
Cultivation jobs at vertical farms represent science-based skill-sets in the CEA space. To this end, these individuals generally have college degrees in Biology, Horticulture, or Agronomy. On the job, Head Growers develop (IPM) platforms and hydroponic fertilizer feeding programs. Beyond that, they manage crop production schedules and oversee large employee teams. Depending on the job, Head Growers can make between $75k – $100k per year.
Green House Technicians work directly with crops to help ensure health and productivity. Generally speaking, these are entry-level roles where people can begin to learn the basics of vertical farming. Greenhouse Technician jobs don’t require a college degree, although some recent graduates will work in these roles. Greenhouse Technicians can expect to make between $25k – $40k per year.
Operations Managers work to ensure that all elements of CEA farms are working properly. To this end, they must make sure that cultivation teams, facilities departments, sales teams, and marketing departments work in unison to realize business goals. Therefore, Operations Managers must be highly organized, multi-talented, and great communicators. These positions often pay between $75k – $100k per year.
Summary: Vertical Farming Jobs
As the leading recruiting agency in the vertical farming industry, M&F Talent pays close attention to market behavior and hiring trends. Looking at CEA as a whole, we feel this space is going to continue to create jobs well into the future. As the vertical farming industry matures, it will be shaped by consumer demand and technological advancement, each playing its role to push the industry forward. Whether you are a Systems Engineer or Hydroponic Grower, the vertical farming space will continue to offer fruitful and rewarding job opportunities.
Interested in a job in vertical farming or urban agriculture? Please email us at email@example.com