Agricultural Engineer Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of an agricultural engineer. Feel free to use our job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as an agricultural engineer.
Who is an Agricultural Engineer?
Agricultural engineering may be traced back to the first use of primitive tools to till the land. Fundamental engineering disciplines underpin the actions of a prehistoric farmer as well as his complete livelihood which includes food, clothes, and shelter alongside man’s never-ending hunt for ways to improve various tillage and food production operations.
Agricultural engineering is a discipline of engineering that deals with farm machinery design, farm structure location and planning, farm drainage, soil management, and erosion control, water supply and irrigation, rural electricity, and farm product processing. Agricultural engineers use engineering technology and biological science understanding to solve challenges in agriculture involving power and machinery, electrification, structure, soil and water conservation, and agricultural product processing. Agricultural engineering, in some ways, may be traced all the way back to prehistoric times. Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, or Chemical Engineers were the first group of Engineers-in-Agriculture and foundation personnel when it was originally classified as a profession in 1896 at the University of Nebraska in the United States.
Agriculture and food production has risen to the top of the international, political, policy, and scientific agendas due to food shortages, high population growth, increased per capita food consumption, and environmental challenges. By 2050 the world’s population is expected to exceed 9 billion people with Asia, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for the majority of the rise (FAO Statistics, 2016).
One of the most significant difficulties of the millennium will be meeting the demand of this enormous population, which would necessitate a 60 percent increase in food production. As a result, agricultural engineers are playing an increasingly important role in growing biological discoveries that are tailored to farming methods such as on-farm energy production. Currently, agricultural engineers use agricultural wastes for yielding not only food but new by-products and this is a great milestone towards curbing the issue of food scarcity in the coming years. Agricultural engineers as well develop land preparation, planting, and harvesting equipment and processes. With new and current equipment they use automation, accuracy, and smart or “intelligent” technology. Sensors are combined with microcomputers, controllers, artificial intelligence, and other software to improve the economy’s efficiency, sustainability, and food, feed, fiber, and fuel for use in the economy. They also work to enhance methods for reducing crop loss due to field damage during handling, sorting, packaging, and processing. Food and fiber warehousing are key aspects of the agriculture sector, and agricultural engineers plan the heating, cooling, ventilation, post-harvest handling, logistics, and other aspects of food processing.
Agricultural Engineer Job Description
Below are the agricultural engineer job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write an agricultural engineer job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
Agricultural Engineer positions are concerned with the science of food and farming as well as how modern agricultural practices and products can help meet global and national food demands. While tasks vary considerably from job to job the following is a list of frequent responsibilities that you would encounter as an agricultural engineer:
- Plan the irrigation, drainage, and flood- and water-control systems of the land.
- Examine the latest findings on biological samples through research and literature analysis
- Undertake analysis, collect field and control samples of biological samples and non-living media for analysis.
- Engineer agricultural buildings and storage facilities to create the most efficient and cost-effective system possible.
- Ensure equipment and machinery for sowing, spraying, harvesting, and transporting agricultural products are designed.
- Ensure that equipment is designed in accordance with local codes and farming culture as well as taking into account the region’s resources.
- Supervise from seed to table all elements of agricultural product production and delivery.
- Prepare and presents technical reports by meeting with clients and communicating technical concepts to internal and external stakeholders
- Advocate for sustainable agriculture to interested parties on a local and national level.
- Find novel ways to cultivate, harvest and store food through research.
- Conduct research for novel structure and system design.
- Conduct field and laboratory research to establish environmentally friendly food-producing strategies.
- Help with project scheduling, budgeting, and communication.
- Prepare paperwork, data analysis, and report for external stakeholders.
- Create and puts into action construction and computerized management strategies.
- Manage projects, budget administration, and management
- Participate in long-term safety analyses
- Communicate with internal and external clients, stakeholders, and government departments
- Supervise the building of flood control and water management systems.
- Research and collect contextual information for case studies.
Qualifications of an Agricultural Engineer
Firstly, a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering ideally in agricultural or biological engineering is required for entry-level positions in the field of agricultural engineering. Such programs typically include science, mathematics, and engineering as well as incorporating classroom, laboratory and outdoor study. It is highly advised that as an aspirant in this profession of agricultural engineering you should as well participate in a cooperative program to obtain practical experience while studying in college.
Secondly, as an agricultural engineer who provides direct services to the public, you must hold a Professional Engineer’s license (PEs). In most cases obtaining a license necessitates the following requirements:
- An engineering degree from an ABET-accredited school (note: ABET accreditation is assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students).
- A passing grade on the FE test (Fundamentals of Engineering).
- At least four (4) years of relevant work experience
- A passing grade on the PE (Professional Engineering) test.
The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is available to college graduates immediately after graduation. Engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns are engineers who pass this exam (EIs). EITs and EIs can take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam to qualify for licensing after four years of work experience.
Thirdly, as an agricultural engineer, you are required to participate in professional development events in certain states in order to keep your license. Most states recognize licenses from other states as long as the criteria of that state meet or surpass their own.
Finally, a postgraduate qualification will as well improve your employability considerably, but you should look on the periphery and outside the immediate subject area. Academia may be one route available to you, but it is one of the lowest-paid roles with this type of qualification.
Analytical skills: As an agricultural engineer, you must assess the needs of complex systems involving people, crops, animals, machinery, and equipment as well as the environment.
Communication skills: As an agricultural engineer, you must be aware of the needs of clients, workers, and other project participants. You must also express your ideas regarding systems and solutions to any issues they are working on.
Mathematical abilities: As an agricultural engineer you are required to use calculators, trigonometry, and other complex mathematical disciplines for analysis, design, and troubleshooting.
Problem-solving abilities: Your primary responsibility as an agricultural engineer is to solve difficulties in agricultural output. Designing safer food processing equipment or decreasing erosion are examples of such goals and it is required that as an agricultural engineer you must use engineering ideas in a creative way to overcome these difficulties.
How to Become an Agricultural Engineer
The first step in picking a career is to be sure you’re willing to put in the effort. You don’t want to waste your time on something you’re not interested in. If you’re new to this site get acquainted with the following information about how to become an agricultural engineer:
- To become an agricultural engineer, employers generally require you to hold a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology-accredited engineering program (ABET). Typically, their coursework includes calculus, physics with calculus applications and biology. Agriculture-specific courses may include the following: Environmental micro-climatology, geology soil mechanics, ocean and atmospheric dynamics, hydrology, and soil physics.
- You need to also acquire a professional engineer’s license as this is sought by many employers. Even though it is not a major requirement having this license increases your chances of employability.
- As an agricultural engineer, you need to also join professional organizations such as the American Society of Biological and Agricultural Engineers (ASBAE).
- After gaining experience as an agricultural engineer you can then begin to take on greater responsibility on more difficult projects and by reason of that eventually, you can be recommended as a supervisor or engineering manager.
Where to Work
- As an agricultural engineer, you operate both indoors and outdoors. This is because your employment is frequently dependent on the weather or growth seasons and so you may work long hours to take advantage of the best opportunities.
- You can also work in agriculture-related industries, such as equipment manufacturers, seed producers, and food companies and distributors.
- To solve crop, land, and livestock challenges as an agricultural engineer you work directly with farmers and agricultural technicians to tackle management and technological challenges (note: large farm operations may consult or hire agricultural engineers).
- As an agricultural engineer, you are also employed by a variety of government institutions that manage agricultural entities.
Agricultural Engineer Salary Scale
Agricultural engineering is a highly skilled job, but salary can vary by state and by sector. In the United States, the average annual compensation for an agricultural engineer is around $80,720 per year.