Agronomist Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of an agronomist. 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 agronomist.
Who is an Agronomist?
Agronomists can be described as scientists who have been trained in the care and research of crops. Agronomists critically analyze crops to identify ways to improve quality, grow plants, and fight disease. They also act as intercessors between farmers and agricultural researchers.
They also act as liaisons during discussions on crop development, harvesting, and distribution. Researchers are met by agronomists to discuss the results of agricultural experiments and tests. They then take the information to farmers to help them apply it.
Agronomists are interested in the numerous methodologies by which plants can be grown, modified, and used to our advantage. Although there are different areas of expertise, most agronomists focus on improving the quality and quantity of plants that are produced, especially for food stores. Agronomists spend most of their time performing experiments on plants to increase their longevity, growth, and yield. The objective is to produce the best crops possible, free from disease.
Agronomist Job Description
Below are the agronomist job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write an agronomist job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
- Performing research and literature reviews related to current discoveries in this field
- Communicating for the most up-to-date information on agricultural methods. This is done with the research community
- Talking to farmers about cropping practices that will increase their economic return.
- Comparing new crop cultivars against a set of criteria to determine their economic and practical potential, and their limitations.
- Encouraging the use of best farming practices and management principles
- Collecting field and control samples of non-living media and biological samples to perform analysis
- Monitoring the effects of soil characteristics, water level, and drainage on plant growth
- Engaging in crop management practices that are responsive to increasing production
- Advocating for soil testing and plant analysis to determine the crop’s nutrient requirements
- Creating and implementing fertilizer programs to meet the fertilizer needs of the crop or the land,
- Participating in training activities
- Conducting and preparing information sessions and lectures for farmers, and other interested groups.
- Conducting crop experiments in a laboratory to evaluate crop performance and how it is affected by weather, pests, and management practices.
- Talking to farmers about farm improvements
- Developing new ideas for plant development and collaborating with other researchers
- Finding ways to protect plants from extreme weather and climatic conditions
- Talking to farmers and regulators about practices that promote environmental sustainability
- Traveling all over the country to meet farm owners and visit their farms.
- Exposing your research at conferences, or publish it in a journal
- Applying engineering methods to conserve and recycle water and other resources
- Providing improved planting, cultivation, harvesting, and problem-solving tactics for clients
- Researching and promoting agriculture strategies to counter the impacts of climate, weather, soil, and pest damage.
- Visiting fields to collect soil, seed, and plant samples.
- Testing samples for nutritional deficiencies, diseases, and other changes.
- Assisting with plant selection, testing, and sourcing.
- Producing reports and presenting the results to clients or management.
- Conducting training on products or techniques through educational presentations
- Assisting in the management of teams of scientists during field visits and laboratory work.
- Developing planting and irrigation plans, budgets, and timelines.
- Evaluating the farm’s crop production
- Assessing and improving the quality of seeds
- Carrying out laboratory testing of soil, seeds, and crop samples
- Engaging in the quality control of seed quality and soil standards
- Keeping records about research, testing, results, and other information.
- Analyzing and presenting data
- Creating a safe and positive work environment
- Developing project scopes, budgets, benchmarks, and schedules
- Understanding federal regulations and protocols for different projects
- Supervising the calibration and testing of instruments and equipment
- Overseeing recordkeeping
- Creating business proposals for funding purposes
- Assuring field data organization and quality assurance
- Participating in tasks such as report preparation, submittal, and peer-reviewing
- Collaborating with site stakeholders
- Supervising multiple field crews in fieldwork (surveys, site recording, testing, and monitoring, as well as data integrity).
- Communicating with external and internal stakeholders via field status reports and presentations of team findings
- Evaluating new technology and advancements in agriculture research
- Participating in committees for regulatory and policy development
- Participation in committees for the educational program and research development
There are some important requirements that you must meet before you can pursue a career as an agronomist. Agronomists must have a formal education in agriculture. A majority of agronomists opt to obtain a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from an accredited college. Many programs offer courses in agronomy or agronomic analysis. A master’s degree is usually required for agronomists who want to be specialized in research.
Agronomists need to be physically capable of traveling and inspecting farms in different climates and environments. This includes the ability to bend, kneel, and lift lighter loads. Also, agronomists must be skilled at communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.
- A Trend Expert
We see how different trends can impact consumer demand and production practices. Understanding the trends of the crop is crucial for an agronomist to be successful in the future. You can even become an expert in niches that are taking hold. Today, sustainability is a popular topic. Although the definition is different for each person, it will be crucial to become an agronomic leader of the future. Understanding environmental regulations and laws across borders are essential.
- Data Analysis
In the future, there will be many tools to help you analyze your data. Many tools exist today. However, being able to combine data and draw insight from it across multiple datasets is a skill that will make an agronomist valuable amongst technology that can crunch numbers within fractions of what our human brains can do. A background in statistics, Excel, and Python understanding (probably another thing down the road) and drawing practical insights from the data are all valuable. You should also be able to visualize the data and present it in a meaningful manner using charts or graphs.
- Technology Expertise
An agronomist needs to be able to comprehend technology in detail and all the different products available. Today’s agronomist must be able to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and fit’s of different products and practices. Agronomists will need to make recommendations about the use of technology for their career and when to use them. Agronomists will need to be able to use multiple tools, platforms, and algorithms to understand how to apply the correct fungicide to the right crop. This may require some basic engineering knowledge, once you consider all the various robotics and equipment involved. To be able to make the best tech recommendations, the agronomist should have a background in computer science or engineering.
- Knowledge of foundational science and products
Agronomists need to have a deep understanding of biology, plants, and soil. To be an effective agronomist, you will need to be more than a technical person. The cross-functional skill set that is rooted in foundational agronomic sciences will allow for better technology decisions to use data analysis and other related topics. New products will be common in the future, regardless of whether they are microbial or RNAi (or any similar tech), and will be used regularly. Although this applies to most crop input products, I think it is important to understand the second and third-order consequences of product usage and product combination use before making any recommendation. After evaluating the efficacy of a product, it is advisable to consider how it impacts the soil’s health.
- Communication Skills (In-Person and Written)
As society shifts to a more efficient and faster pace-oriented environment, those who can communicate effectively and concisely in person will be given priority by companies, farmers, and the entire industry. Understanding how to communicate effectively in writing will also be a crucial skill in a society that communicates via a medium (social media, wearable technology, etc.) and, most likely through the use of robots/Artificial intelligence.
These five skills that have been explained above are essential today and will be even more so in the future. The status quo is being challenged and critical thinking will become more important than ever. Critical thinking agronomists are the ones who will drive the future of agriculture. The future might bring us many problems. It will be difficult to be able to see the problem clearly and make a decision if these skills are not imbibed in agronomists. This is especially important to note all the factors that will need to be considered. Integrative thinking is the most important, as it allows multiple technologies to work together in harmony.
How to Become an Agronomist
A bachelor’s degree is required for anyone who wishes to be an agronomist. This is a position that studies crops to improve quality and efficiency. Many regions offer graduate education. They may also be eligible to apply for certification through professional organizations. Certification is required for certain jobs. Advanced qualifications can help people get more work, negotiate better wages, and gain professional benefits such as conferences and continuing education.
Students in high school who are interested in a career as agronomists can start early by taking math and science classes. They can also check to see if courses can be taken at their local college. High school students can take entry-level classes at many colleges, which can give them a great start if they want to be an agronomist. You may be able to complete some prerequisite courses and also take some basic agricultural education to learn more about agronomy as well as the available different types of work.
Students must complete the requirements to graduate with an agriculture degree. They may also want to take electives that are focused on agronomy while in college. Internships and research opportunities are also available for those who want to be agronomists. These internships can give students valuable experience that will help them get started in a career. There are many internships available both by government agencies and private companies. Many agricultural colleges have researchers who need student assistants.
A bachelor’s degree is not required to be an agronomist. You can also learn on the job. However, some employers may be interested in masters’ degrees, particularly if they are planning to work in research. An advanced degree opens up opportunities to design and conduct research. This is a great option for those who are worried about how they will support themselves after graduation.
For professional certification, you must complete education requirements and must have worked as an agronomist for at least two years. Agronomists can apply to take the exam and become a member of a professional organization. This will lead to more job opportunities. To keep up with the latest developments in the field, and to retain their certifications, individuals must take different educational classes. People can contact the organization to learn what they need to do to regain their membership if their certifications are lost.
Where to Work
Agronomists can work in different environments, depending on their specific job. Agronomists may work in greenhouses or farms to observe and test plant life. Some jobs require them to travel to farms and food processing plants, potentially exposing themselves to heavy machinery and outdoor hazards.
Agronomists may work in many different settings depending on the field they are studying. Agronomists spend most of their time in a laboratory or on a farm. Agronomists have access to a variety of scientific tools, equipment, soil samples, and live plants for their experiments. While working in a laboratory, agronomists often wear protective coats and gloves.
Agronomists visit farms in casual clothes, which include hats and sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun. They inspect plants in greenhouses, orchards, and fields. They may also visit farms regularly and meet farmers from other states or countries. An agronomist might be invited to present their research at an academic or scientific conference after conducting both theoretical and practical research.
Agronomist Salary Scale
In the United States, the median salary for Agronomists is $68,830. The lowest-ranking agronomists make less than $40,520 while the highest-ranking agronomists can make more than $125,000. *
Higher education and experience can lead to job advancement, usually in a supervisory or administrative capacity. This will also result in salary increments. Certified agronomists are opportune to collect higher salaries.