Agricultural Engineer Job Description
An agricultural engineer is an engineer who applies engineering and technology to land cultivation, crop production or animal husbandry. Agricultural engineers work to make farming sustainable, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly by performing tasks such as planning and managing agricultural projects and designing and developing efficient agricultural systems, equipment and machinery.
An agricultural engineer should be creative, innovative, analytical, practical and methodical, and have the ability to communicate effectively to get a message across as intended. They should understand agricultural methods and systems and have good knowledge of engineering principles to effectively apply engineering to agriculture.
Pursue a career in agricultural engineering if you have aptitude for science and interest in engineering technology, and its application to agriculture and food processing.
What does an Agricultural Engineer do?
Agricultural engineers may do some or all of the following:
- conduct engineering surveys, field and soil investigations
- design and develop agricultural equipment and machinery
- use computer-aided design (CAD) software to design and model plans
- supervise the construction, installation, repair and replacement of agricultural systems
- review and test new designs and machines to ensure they are efficient
- plan and manage agricultural projects and give cost estimates
- instruct farmers on how to use agricultural equipment and machinery correctly and safely
- write technical reports and manuals
- stay up to date with developments in the field
- teach at colleges and universities
Where does an Agricultural Engineer work?
Agricultural engineers usually work normal office hours, but may be required to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. They work in factories, workshops, offices, and farms. They may travel to farming sites to supervise agricultural projects. Workshop and factory works may involve working in noisy and dirty environments and around heavy machinery or at heights.
What is Required to Become an Agricultural Engineer?
To become an agricultural engineer, you need to have a bachelor’s degree agricultural engineering or a related discipline.
The scope of agricultural engineering includes animal science, plant biology, and electrical, chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering.
Secondary school students interested in studying agricultural engineering should take should take preparatory subjects such as agriculture science, chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.
An agricultural engineer may specialize in any of the following fields:
- Farm machinery and power
- Soil and water conservation engineering
- Agricultural processing and food engineering
- Forestry engineering
- Land use planning
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Agricultural engineers need to have:
- creativity and innovation
- mechanical aptitude
- scientific aptitude
- physical strength and stamina
- good memory
- good eyesight
- good attention to detail
- good listening and communication skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- time management and organizational skills
- leadership skills
- math, computer and programming skills
- technical drawing skills
- the ability to work well independently and in a team
- the ability to design and conduct experiments
- the ability to work well under pressure
- the ability to use hand and power tools
- the ability to learn new skills and stay up-to-date with new developments in the field
- the ability to identify real world problems that can be solved by engineering principles and techniques
- the ability to apply the knowledge of science, mathematics and engineering to solve real word problems
- knowledge of electrical and electronics principles and systems
- knowledge of mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic principles and systems
- knowledge of agricultural resource conservation principles and practices
- knowledge of agricultural soils
- knowledge of the principles and methodologies of agricultural systems
Should I be an Agricultural Engineer?
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