Career Spotlight: Get Technical with a Career in Agricultural Biotechnology

Explore careers in agriculture biotechnology

If you’re interested in the latest, greatest technology in agriculture, you may find the perfect career for you in the biotechnology sector.

This career choice can involve researching and engineering crops, working to protect them from insects, diseases and viruses, as well as engineering livestock and poultry in order to produce leaner meat or help the animals resist diseases.

A career in this area could also include finding ways to grow plants larger, help them resist extreme weather or make them richer in nutrients.

Applying It to Agriculture

Agricultural biotechnology is a range of tools, including traditional breeding techniques, that alter organisms to make or modify products, improve plants or animals, or develop microorganisms for specific agricultural uses. Today, biotechnology is mostly used as a tool in genetic engineering.

Some biotechnology crops can be engineered to tolerate specific herbicides, which makes weed control simpler and more efficient. Other crops have been engineered to be resistant to specific plant diseases and insect pests, which can make pest control more reliable and effective, and/or can decrease the use of synthetic pesticides. These crop production options can help countries keep pace with demands for food while reducing production costs.

Many other types of crops are now in the research and development stages. Advances in biotechnology may provide consumers with foods that are nutritionally enriched or longer-lasting, or that contain lower levels of certain naturally occurring toxicants present in some food plants.

Biotechnology-derived crops face regulations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Careers of the Future

Biotechnology careers are becoming increasingly important in the field of agriculture as technology continues to advance and new products and crops are demanded by consumers.

As farmers try to grow more food with fewer resources and the public concern over food safety increases, biologists are exploring new avenues of research in biotechnology to develop plants and food crops that require less fertilizer, few pesticides and herbicides, and less water for growth.

As these technological advances increase, jobs in the field will increase as well.