Agricultural Scientist Job Description
An agricultural scientist is a person who applies scientific knowledge to agriculture to improve agricultural methods and techniques. An agricultural scientist performs research to find ways of developing better animal or crop breeds, improving soil quality, or managing agricultural pests and diseases.
An agricultural scientist should be curious, innovative, methodical, analytical, practical, persistent and adaptable, and have the ability to handle and operate scientific equipment. They should also be able to communicate effectively and work well independently and in a team.
Pursue a career a career in agricultural science if have you have aptitude for science, and interest in the application of science and technology to crop or livestock production.
What does an Agricultural Scientist do?
Agricultural scientists may do some or all of the following:
- study existing agricultural systems to find ways of improving or modifying them
- develop new agricultural systems
- carry out research to soil properties and processes
- carry out research to find ways of managing agricultural pests and diseases
- perform agricultural experiments and analyze results
- operate scientific equipment such as microscopes
- develop better animal or crop breeds
- write research reports and give presentations
- teach at colleges and universities
Where does an Agricultural Scientist work?
Agricultural scientists usually work normal office hours, but may sometimes work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. They work indoors in offices, laboratories and classrooms, and outdoors on farms. They may travel for work or to attend conferences and seminars.
What is Required to Become an Agricultural Scientist?
To become an agricultural scientist, you need a bachelor's or master’s degree in agricultural science or a similar discipline. You will need to specialize in a field of agriculture to perform research as agricultural science is a broad discipline with many sub specialties.
The fields where an agricultural scientist can specialize include:
- Agronomy - the science of soil and plant
- Biochemistry - the scientific study of the chemical substances, processes, and reactions that occur in living organism.
- Zoology - the scientific study of animals
- Genetics – the study of hereditary makeup
- Soil science – the scientific study of soil
- Entomology - the study of insects
- Agricultural extension – the application of scientific research to agricultural practices by farmer education
- Agricultural meteorology – the study and application of meteorology to agricultural production and soil management
- Botany – the study of plants
- Dairy science – the application of scientific principles to the production and management of diary animals and products
- Animal science – the science and business of producing domestic livestock species
- Agricultural economy – the application of economic and financial principles to production and management of agriculture
- Agricultural engineering – the study and application of engineering to agriculture
- Pasture science- study of grazing
- Oenology – the scientific study of wine and making of wine
- Wildlife management – the study of the control and organization of wildlife population and habitant
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Agricultural scientists need to have:
- manual dexterity
- physical fitness
- accuracy and precision
- creativity and innovation
- good eyesight
- good memory
- good hand-eye coordination
- good attention to detail
- good listening and communication skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- time management and organizational skills
- observational skills
- math and computer skills
- the ability to conduct field and laboratory research
- the ability to work well independently and in a team
- the ability to work well under pressure and concentrate for long periods
- the ability to use scientific knowledge to solve problems
- knowledge of biology and chemistry
- knowledge of farm and horticulture systems and management
- knowledge of livestock production systems
- knowledge of agricultural enterprise and products
- knowledge of soil properties and processes
- knowledge of agricultural policies and laws
Should I be an Agricultural Scientist?
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- Animal Scientist
- Crop Scientist
- Food Scientist
- Soil Scientist
- Agricultural Economist
- Agricultural Engineer
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