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Career profile Grain Buyer

Also known as Buyer, Grain Buyer, Grain Merchandiser, Grain Origination Specialist, Purchasing Agent, Tobacco Buyer

Grain Buyer

Also known as Buyer, Grain Buyer, Grain Merchandiser

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$39,810 - $112,170 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Speaking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Mathematics
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Transportation
Core tasks
  • Purchase, for further processing or for resale, farm products, such as milk, grains, or Christmas trees.
  • Arrange for processing or resale of purchased products.
  • Negotiate contracts with farmers for the production or purchase of farm products.
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What does a Grain Buyer do?

Grain Buyers purchase farm products either for further processing or resale.

In addition, Grain Buyers

  • includes tree farm contractors, grain brokers and market operators, grain buyers, and tobacco buyers,
  • may negotiate contracts.

What kind of tasks does a Grain Buyer perform regularly?

Grain Buyers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Purchase, for further processing or for resale, farm products, such as milk, grains, or Christmas trees.
  • Arrange for processing or resale of purchased products.
  • Negotiate contracts with farmers for the production or purchase of farm products.
  • Arrange for transportation or storage of purchased products.
  • Maintain records of business transactions and product inventories, reporting data to companies or government agencies as necessary.
  • Review orders to determine product types and quantities required to meet demand.

The above responsibilities are specific to Grain Buyers. More generally, Grain Buyers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Communicating with People Outside the Organization
Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

What is a Grain Buyer salary?

The median salary for a Grain Buyer is $66,690, and the average salary is $72,370. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Grain Buyer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Grain Buyers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Grain Buyers earn less than $39,810 per year, 25% earn less than $50,840, 75% earn less than $88,600, and 90% earn less than $112,170.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Grain Buyers is expected to change by -5.4%, and there should be roughly 39,500 open positions for Grain Buyers every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$39,810 - $112,170
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Grain Buyers?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Grain Buyer are usually higher in their Enterprising, Conventional, and Realistic interests.

Grain Buyers typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Grain Buyers typically have very strong Conventional interests. 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.

Lastly, Grain Buyers typically have moderate Realistic interests. 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.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Grain Buyer tend to value Independence, Working Conditions, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Grain Buyers strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Grain Buyers moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Grain Buyers moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Grain Buyers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as stress tolerance, dependability, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Grain Buyers, ranked by importance:

Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Grain Buyers need?

Many Grain Buyers will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Grain Buyers usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Grain Buyers

  • 2.8% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 19.9% completed high school or secondary school
  • 24.1% completed some college coursework
  • 10.2% earned a Associate's degree
  • 34.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 8.0% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.8% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Grain Buyers

Grain Buyers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mathematics, customer and personal service, or transportation knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Grain Buyers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Economics and Accounting
Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking, and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
Sales and Marketing
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

Important Abilities needed by Grain Buyers

Grain Buyers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Grain Buyers need abilities such as oral expression, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Grain Buyers, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

Critical Skills needed by Grain Buyers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Grain Buyers frequently use skills like speaking, critical thinking, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Grain Buyers, ranked by their relative importance.

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.
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.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.