Career summary

Details for Agricultural Inspectors


Description

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

Tasks

  • 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 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.
  • 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.

Interests

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Knowledge

  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Food Production - Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

Related careers

  • Farm and Home Management Advisors
  • Farmers and Ranchers
  • First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Agricultural Crop and Horticultural Workers
  • First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Aquacultural Workers
  • Fishers and Related Fishing Workers
  • Food Scientists and Technologists
  • Purchasing Agents and Buyers, Farm Products
  • Soil and Plant Scientists