Professionals of agricultural engineering apply their knowledge of engineering technology and biological science to farming. They design agricultural machinery, equipment, and structures; improve soil and water management methods; and study ways of improving the processing of agricultural products. Agricultural engineers may choose from a range of specializations, depending on their career interests, such as power systems and machinery design, structural and environmental engineering, and food and bioprocess engineering.
Agricultural engineering professionals are educated by their unique education to recognize the interrelationships between technology and living systems and to prepare them for different career opportunities in the fields of ecosystem conservation, food safety, bioenergy, and human health.
For agricultural engineers, top employers include:
- Services in agriculture
- Manufacturing firms
- The federal administration
- Universities and schools
The growing need for agricultural engineers has led to several factors:
- Agricultural engineers are at the forefront of finding ways to increase crop yields required to feed more and more individuals in a growing population.
- The high demand for crops for use as renewable energy sources inherently requires experience in agricultural engineering and technical knowledge.
- Conservation-agricultural engineers play a key role in the discovery of natural resource conservation methods and the development of more effective agricultural production.
Prospects for Agricultural Engineering
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) discusses the essential duty of biological and agricultural engineers to create viable, environmentally sustainable solutions to the problems of the population and resources that affect our present and future.
Agricultural engineering is important in the field of green energy for the identification and creation of alternative renewable energy sources, such as biomass, methane, and vegetable oil. Moreover, agricultural engineers are working on ways to make these renewable energy sources cleaner and more effective by designing strategies for energy conservation that not only minimize costs but also protect the environment.
Universities Offering Degrees
As ASABE suggests, students of undergraduate agricultural engineering should expect to take classes in basic engineering, agricultural and biological sciences, mathematics, economics, and humanities general education. In agricultural engineering, graduate programs usually include extensive course work and in-depth study in the discipline chosen by the student.
According to the BLS, in the U.S. the median national annual salary for agricultural engineers is $73,640. The 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Actual wages can vary greatly depending on field specialization, venue, years of experience, and some other variables. National long-term employment growth forecasts do not reflect economic or employment conditions at the local and/or short-term level and do not guarantee actual job growth.