Agronomy Jobs and information

Agronomy offers students a rich history and tradition in the discovery and dissemination of information needed to make informed decisions about the environment and agriculture. The goal of an Agronomist is to develop sound approaches from information gathered on how to solve problems as they relate to agriculture.

What is Agronomy

The challenge for the agronomist is to understand, manage and protect earth’s vital resources as well as using science and natural resources to sustain food supply and environmental issues. The interesting thing about Agronomy is that just about everyone is aware of it, yet most people have no idea what it is called. Agronomy is the science, economics, and application of soil and plant production with a strong emphasis in land management. More and more people are going back to farming and agriculture, thus studying Agronomy in school to earn the appropriate degree. Typically, the field of Agronomy focuses on agriculture and its processes. Primarily agronomists would work in areas such as:

  • Environmental Soil and Landscape Processes
  • Plant Genetics and Breeding
  • Soil and Crop Management
  • Cropping Systems and Plant Nutrition
  • Genetic Improvement on Economic Crops
  • Turf and Urban Interface

  • Each of the above six fields include subfields of the following:
    • Agro-Micrometeorology (study of solar radiation and their components in relation to crop and tree canopies)
    • Crop Management (study of individual crop management such as canola, corn, soybean, alfalfa, etc)
    • Crop Physiology (study of understanding the influence of genotype and environment on processes influencing crop plant performance)
    • Soil Fertility (study of understanding soil nutrient availability and crop nutrient)
    • Soil Physical Properties (study of fluid flow and chemical transport in relation to natural resource management, site remediation, and surface and groundwater quality)
    • Spatial Technologies (study of gathering, analyzing, storing, and delivering information obtained from natural resource areas and agricultural fields)

Qualifications in Agronomy

For individuals interested in studying Agronomy through a university degree, they will be required to learn most of aspects of agronomy, which could vary depending on the electives chosen area in the area they would be interested. Because of the diversity of this field, there are many different aspects of agronomy that they will learn and specialize in, some of which include:

  • Principles of Agronomy
  • Fundamentals of Soil Science
  • Grain, Range, and Forage Crop Management
  • Crop Structure
  • Physical Properties of Soil
  • Principles of Weed Science
  • Soil Genesis and Classification
  • Soil Conservation and Management
  • Crop and Seed Identification
  • World Food Issues
  • Soil and Plant Growth
  • Systems Analysis (soil and crop)
  • Soil Microbiology

  • In addition to agricultural subjects above, students may be required to take one or two semesters of each of the following subjects:
    • Computer Applications in Agronomy
    • Organic chemistry
    • Chemistry
    • Botany
    • Biology

Job areas in Agronomy

As an agronomist there is a variety of different areas to focus on, some of these areas include:

Crop science
The Crop science area primarily deals with the genetics, breeding, physiology, and management of field crops, while also dealing with the production of quality seed and nutritional value of crops.

Soil and water science
Agronomists solve potential problems with water pollution, conversation, soil erosion, soil and land are some of the issues that are to be addressed in this area.

Range management
In this area the agronomists apply ecological principles in managing grasslands including recreation and wildlife.

Crop consulting
Crop consulting integrates a broad spectrum of crop growth and protection strategies. An Agronomist consultant provides crop growth and protection strategies particular in seed, fertility and weed management.

Other areas include:

  • Environmental Science
  • Soil Science
  • Weed Science
  • Jobs in Agronomy Industry

    Agronomists find a variety of positions available in agriculture products management, crop consulting, sales, government agencies, farming and research. Another alternative for students is to work in research/teaching at university level which will usually require a masters or PHD. However With a degree in Agronomy, an individual would find they would find employment in a vast range of industries including:

    Approximately 30% of all Agronomist work in the business of agribusiness, which involves specific services areas such as crop consultation, professional farm management, management training with banks, seed companies, and local cooperatives, as well as marketing associated with fertilizer, chemicals, and seeds.

    Seed Industry
    Then another 21% of students with a degree in Agronomy will go into the seed industry, typically choosing research or production.

    Continuing Education
    Another 21% of graduates make the decision to further their education where they will complete specialized courses to become a highly skilled agronomist or scientist, usually working in research and development within the private sector or with universities.

    Careers in farming are also quite popular, attracting approximately 10% of individuals with Agronomy degrees.

    Medicine and Law
    Another group of graduates chooses to go on to schools for human medicine, veterinary medicine, or law.

    A very small percentage (between 3% and 5%) chooses to go to work for the government, working for agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources or the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

    Finally, other fields that are considered for employment include Grain Laboratory Technician, Seed Analyst, Soil Classifier, Research Assistant, and Soil/Water Conservationist.