Horticulturists are the agriculture specialists whose main concern is the growing of vegetables, fruits, ornamentals and other plants that can be used for landscaping. These can usually be seen in wine-growing regions, as they are also the ones best trained for growing nuts, berries and grapes. The working hours can be very tedious, since the plants need care every day.
People who choose to be in this business need to have a fascination and understanding of plants, since they will be working with these for extended periods of time. Being a farmer also means that one will be exposed to the elements like the sun, rain and wind, so there is a certain level of physical fitness and durability that is needed to last long as a horticulturist. A horticulturist would also likely be dealing with the running of a farm, so managerial skills like delegating tasks would be very valuable. One would also be expected to make a lot of business meetings with various, suppliers, sellers, and market middlemen as well as those who will be buying wholesale. Aside from managing the farm, the job also takes a lot of coordination with other people and companies that would be important in ensuring your success.
Education. Horticulture is a sub-specialty of agriculture, so you will have to take a degree course in agriculture first before moving forward. Many colleges and universities offer this course and would expose students to the basics of agricultural economics and farm administration. This course almost always includes field work, to fully understand the practice behind the theories.
After graduation, you may take a master's degree to specialize in Horticulture. A lot of farmers and horticulturists, however, learn this on the job.
Once you're working on your own farm, you have to make sure that you adhere to the standards set by the government. There are safety and quality standards set for food products, as well as safety standards for the working conditions for their employees.
With the changing trends nowadays, it is also important to have some level of familiarity and proficiency with the use of computers. This would come in very handy in accounting and keeping records on the farm. One must also be aware of the latest government bulletins, guidelines and regulations about the growing of different crops in the country.
Accreditation. Horticulturists can opt to become certified agricultural managers. This can done by seeking an accreditation from the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. The process involves a series of tests designed to see a farm manager's ability in actual farming, including the legal and business aspects of the profession. For one to take this certification, he or she must be a holder of a bachelor's degree as well as a certain number of years of experience in working on a farm.
If you have a green thumb and wish to be someone who makes a living growing crops and managing farms, maybe being a horticulturist is the right career for you.