Does the idea of combining shared business acumen with specialist horticultural knowledge sound appealing to you? If so, then a career as a horticultural consultant could be the perfect path to go down. However, you may be wondering what this entails and what steps you need to take to secure a job like this. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
What does a horticultural consultant do?
A horticultural consultant will advise public sector organizations and commercial companies on elements relating to the maintenance and development of parklands, crops, gardens, and other public spaces. This does not only include technical advice, such as the use of certain products and pest control, like a cockroach inspection. It can also include advice of a business nature, i.e. finding effective solutions to issues and developing resources and products. Clients can include public gardens, botanical gardens, conservation, and leisure public bodies and organizations, tree and plant nurseries, commercial growers, and farmers.
As you may have already gathered, horticultural jobs are pretty varied. Some of your responsibilities are as follows:
- Visit clients on-site to identify the technical or business issues they are experiencing and investigate the causes of these issues
- Keep up-to-date with developments and specialist areas in land-based sectors
- Maintain essential administrative records
- Promote the consultancy with marketing activities
- Write technical manuals, specifications, and advisory leaflets
- Communicate with professional groups, colleagues, and clients, through operational and technical presentations and reports
- Provide your expert opinion on planning litigation and appeals
- Meet the legislative regulations for the client with regards to employment, hygiene, and quality
- Organize demonstrations, technical visits, and presentations
- Formulate solutions, as well as organizing and planning trials
- Design supply chain systems
- Plan planting programs and design layouts for tree planting programs or ornamental gardens
- Plan restoration programs, visit historical sites and research old documents and plans
- Conduct environmental assessments
- Analyze operational and horticultural costs
- Prepare new or modified business plans and operational strategies
- Analyze commercial horticultural operations to determine the yields and financial returns
Who will you be working for?
Horticulture consultants are in demand across numerous businesses and industries. Typical employers include:
- National park authorities
- Local authorities
- Horticultural consultancies
- Food companies
- Horticultural and farming co-operatives
- Conservation and environmental bodies
- Commercial companies that supply services, equipment and products to the industry
What skills do you need to be a horticultural consultant?
If you want to make it as a horticultural consultant, you are expected to have the following:
- A full driving license
- An awareness and interest in the sustainability and environment agenda
- Knowledge of practical solutions to issues concerning conservation and the environment
- Awareness of the issues encountered in the amenity and leisure industry and the commercial horticulture sector
- A practical approach to problem-solving
- Business awareness
- A high level of project management competence
- An ability to work to a deadline and to a budget
- Exceptional communication skills
- Selling ability
What qualifications do you need for horticultural jobs?
When it comes to agricultural jobs like this, it is not uncommon for people to specialise in a specific area of consultancy, rather than attempting to be a jack-of-all-trades. The main areas are as follows:
- Interior landscaping and landscaping
- Sports turf consultancy
- Technical consultancy in amenity horticulture
- Technical consultancy in commercial horticulture
- Business consultancy
Having a degree can certainly help you to propel your career in this sector. Degrees that are considered the most relevant are those in the following subjects: soil science, horticulture, environmental science, crop and plant science, agricultural engineering, and agriculture.