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Career Profile: Agricultural Inspectors

Inspect agricultural commodities, processing equipment, and facilities, and fish and logging operations, to ensure compliance with regulations and laws governing health, quality, and safety.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 14,100 people employed as agricultural inspectors in the United States. The median annual salary is $45,140. Entry level employees earn approximately $29,990 per year and senior employees earn approximately $69,450 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Monitor the operations and sanitary conditions of slaughtering or meat processing plants.
  • Take emergency actions, such as closing production facilities, if product safety is compromised.
  • Verify that transportation and handling procedures meet regulatory requirements.
  • Inspect the cleanliness and practices of establishment employees.
  • Examine, weigh, and measure commodities, such as poultry, eggs, meat, or seafood to certify qualities, grades, and weights.
  • Inspect or test horticultural products or livestock to detect harmful diseases, chemical residues, or infestations and to determine the quality of products or animals.
  • Inspect food products and processing procedures to determine whether products are safe to eat.
  • Interpret and enforce government acts and regulations and explain required standards to agricultural workers.
  • Set standards for the production of meat or poultry products or for food ingredients, additives, or compounds used to prepare or package products.
  • Inspect agricultural commodities or related operations, as well as fish or logging operations, for compliance with laws and regulations governing health, quality, and safety.
  • Label and seal graded products and issue official grading certificates.
  • Monitor the grading performed by company employees to verify conformance to standards.
  • Set labeling standards and approve labels for meat or poultry products.
  • Write reports of findings and recommendations and advise farmers, growers, or processors of corrective action to be taken.
  • Direct or monitor the quarantine and treatment or destruction of plants or plant products.
  • Collect samples from animals, plants, or products and route them to laboratories for microbiological assessment, ingredient verification, or other testing.
  • Review and monitor foreign product inspection systems in countries of origin to ensure equivalence to the U.S. system.
  • Inquire about pesticides or chemicals to which animals may have been exposed.
  • Provide consultative services in areas such as equipment or product evaluation, plant construction or layout, or food safety systems.
  • Testify in legal proceedings.
  • Compare product recipes with government-approved formulas or recipes to determine acceptability.
  • Advise farmers or growers of development programs or new equipment or techniques to aid in quality production.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
14,100
Annual Openings:
2,500
Increase in Openings by 2031:
1%
Annual Salary Range:
$29,990 - $69,450
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree