Wake up. Dress. Grab coffee. Drive to school. Throughout the course of a morning routine, many probably do not stop to think about how agronomy impacts our lives. From the fibers in our clothes to the coffee beans in our morning drinks, agronomy is ingrained throughout our daily lives. And it’s an increasingly important and popular career choice.
Agronomy is the science of soil and crop management. However, finding the balance between increased production and protecting the environment is the true calling of many who pursue this field. According to Iowa State University, employment of agronomists is expected to grow nearly 10 percent by 2016.
“Every year we have more job openings than professionals available,” says Eric Welsh, the program manager of marketing and business relations for the American Society of Agronomy. “As the field of agronomy becomes more and more specialized, the demand for skilled people grows.”
However, you are not limited to being an agronomist if you are interested in being involved in this field. Careers in this industry are broad and all encompassing. Here are five popular agronomy careers to consider:
Agronomist: The main objective of an agronomist is to experiment and plan studies to improve crop yields. Agronomists discern the best ways to plant, harvest and cultivate plants, regardless of the climate. A passion for mathematics and analytical skills are needed to complete this work.
Extension Agent: An extension agent walks the line between teacher and county agricultural agent. An extension agent works to educate people on a variety of topics including agronomy. This job calls for a high level of program planning and communication skills.
Lab Technician: One important person when it comes to research and development is the lab technician. Lab technicians are responsible for carrying out experiments and processes in specific fields such as grain processing, soil analysis and weed growth. Inquisitiveness and attention to detail are necessary traits of a lab technician.
Soil and Water Conservationist: A soil and water conservationist creates guidelines to prevent erosion and develops practices for sustainable land use. People in this career perform land surveys, design conservation plans and monitor conditions. This career requires a strategic thinker and someone with strong management skills.
Turfgrass Specialist: Golf courses, athletic fields, landscaping companies, botanical gardens. All of these things have one person in common: a turfgrass specialist. A turfgrass specialist supervises and coordinates activities related to landscaping and groundskeeping including fertilizer and herbicide application, irrigation installation, and weed control. The ability to work outside in many different conditions and to think creatively are desired traits to enter this field.
– Beverley Flatt