A determining factor in choosing a major and a future career path in college can be the expected salary upon graduation, new data from 16 universities show students have another reason to enroll in ag school.

Starting salaries for ag grads do more than just pay the billsThe annual data of 16 universities, primarily in the Midwest, shows college students graduating with agricultural majors in Dec. 2012 and May 2013 are making five percent more money than starting salaries of students in the previous year.

Salaries for most agricultural fields increased by five percent according to Mike Gaul, the Career Services Director for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at Iowa State, however it is likely that hiring freezes are the reason one field was lower. According to Gaul, environmental sciences, fisheries, forestry and wildlife biology graduates are marking seven percent less than the previous year’s graduates.

On average, graduates of technical and biosystems engineer, industrial technology and packaging services made the highest starting salary ($50,732). Environmental sciences, fisheries, forestry and wildlife biology graduates were averaging the lowest starting salary at $30,447.

The highest beginning salary was collected by sales representatives and production managers, both starting out at $100,000. The lowest salary was in environmental education and horticulture as a service worker making $10,000 annually.

The data is compiled by Iowa State University, but includes salary information collected by career services for students from Clemson to Colorado State.

See the report for full salaries and employers.