Career paths in agriculture
As the world population grows, the role of the agricultural sector will become even more prominent. There should be significant demand for agricultural professionals capable of meeting the challenges facing the world as it confronts climate change and food shortages. That makes now a perfect time for students to explore potential career paths in the agricultural sector.
Agricultural engineer: Agricultural engineers employ engineering principles to solve issues related to agricultural production. An agricultural engineer may design facilities or machinery or develop solutions to address problems related to irrigation and soil conservation, among other projects. Students interested in a career as an agricultural engineer can expect to study mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer engineering, and, of course, engineering analysis and design as they pursue their degrees.
Agronomist: Agronomists work with crops and soil management and may work as analysts, environmentalists or forecasters. Agronomists may be tasked with analyzing soil structure and chemistry and study how water is moving within soil. Students will study agriculture, biology, chemistry, and physics en route to earning a degree that will help them become an agronomist. Mathematics also will be part of their studies, and statistics courses will be part of those studies.
Biochemist: Biochemists study the chemical and physical principles of living things and biological processes. Within the agricultural sector, biochemists will contribute to the development of agricultural products, including those that will serve a medicinal function. Biochemistry, chemistry, biology, calculus, and physics will be part of students’ courseload as they pursue degrees that prepare them for a career as a biochemist.
Climatologist: Climatologists will figure prominently in the agricultural sector as the effects of climate change manifest themselves more readily over the next several decades. Climatologists study climate change, variability Continued on page 5 Map
Continued from page 4 and the biosphere. Climatologists offer insight about the effects of climate change on the growth and development of agricultural products, including fruits, grains and vegetables. The natural sciences feature prominently in climatologists’ educations, and students also will study meteorology as part of their coursework.
Food scientist: Food scientists study chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, and engineering so they can assist in the development of new food products. Food scientists may manage processing plants and some serve as researchers in an effort to solve problems related to food production.
Plant pathologist: Plant pathologists specialize in analyzing issues related to plant diseases. Research features prominently in plant pathologists’ work, and many work in university settings. Some plant pathologists work for companies attempting to develop pest-resistant plants. Advanced degrees are necessary to work as a plant pathologist, and students will study mycology, bacteriology, virology, and physiology, among other subjects, as they pursue their degrees.
The agricultural sector employs millions of people across the globe. Many of those people do interesting work as they attempt to address issues facing the agricultural sector.