Agricultural scientist

Agricultural scientists

Description

An agricultural scientist, also known as an agriscientist or agricultural researcher, is a professional dedicated to advancing agricultural knowledge and practices. These scientists contribute to developing sustainable and efficient agricultural systems, addressing challenges related to crop production, soil health, pest management, and overall food security.

Agricultural scientists typically perform the following tasks:

  • Plan and design experiments to address specific questions or challenges in agriculture, considering factors such as crop yield, soil health, water usage, and environmental sustainability.
  • Conduct field trials to test new agricultural technologies, crop varieties, and farming practices, collecting data on performance and outcomes.
  • Engage in genetic research to develop improved crop varieties with desirable traits, such as resistance to pests, diseases, or environmental stress.
  • Analyze and interpret data using statistical methods, drawing conclusions, and making recommendations based on research findings.
  • Assess soil fertility, nutrient levels, and crop health, providing recommendations for optimal cultivation practices.
  • Contribute to developing sustainable farming practices, including organic farming, conservation tillage, and agroecology.
  • Research and develop integrated pest management strategies, including the use of biological controls, to minimize the impact of pests and diseases on crops.
  • Evaluate the environmental impact of agricultural practices and propose strategies to mitigate negative effects.
  • Investigate and promote the adoption of new technologies, such as precision farming, drones, and sensor technologies, to enhance agricultural efficiency.
  • Communicate research findings to farmers, policymakers, and the public through publications, presentations, and educational programs.
  • Provide input and recommendations to policymakers on agricultural policies, regulations, and research priorities.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to agricultural scientist:

agricultural biotechnology research scientist
agricultural development consultant
research scientist, agriculture
researcher in agriculture science
agricultural research scientist
agriculture researcher
agricultural quality scientist
bio-technical research scientist in agriculture
agricultural development specialist

Working conditions

Agricultural scientists work in diverse settings, including research institutions, universities, government agencies, and private companies. Fieldwork, laboratory work, and collaboration with farmers and industry professionals are common aspects of the job. The role may involve occasional travel to field sites and conferences.

Minimum qualifications

To become an agricultural scientist, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, agronomy, crop science, or a related field is typically required. Many agricultural scientists pursue advanced degrees (master’s or Ph.D.) for specialized research positions or academic roles. Practical experience gained through internships, research projects, or work in agricultural settings is valuable. Continuous learning and staying updated on advancements in agricultural science through conferences, publications, and professional networks contribute to the success of agricultural scientists. Strong analytical and research skills, along with effective communication, are essential for conveying research findings to various stakeholders.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Agricultural scientist is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Agricultural scientist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to agricultural scientist.

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environmental programme coordinator
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hydrologist

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of agricultural scientist.

  • Environmental policy: Local, national and international policies dealing with the promotion of environmental sustainability and the development of projects which reduce negative environmental impact and improve the state of the environment.
  • Project management principles: Different elements and phases of project management.
  • Environmental legislation in agriculture and forestry: Awareness of environmental legislation, policies, principles relevant for agriculture and forestry. Awareness of the impact of local agricultural practices and practices on the environment. Means to adjust the production to new environmental regulations and policies.
  • Project management: Understand project management and the activities that comprise this area. Know the variables implied in project management such as time, resources, requirements, deadlines, and responding to unexpected events.
  • Livestock farming systems: The allocation of farming resources in relation to livestock farming and husbandry systems.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of agricultural scientist.

  • Provide advice to farmers: Provide technical and economic advice in order to optimise the quality and production of agricultural products.
  • Educate on recycling regulations: Educate organisations and individuals on the correct procedures and legislation concerning the recycling of different types of waste in different types of containers, waste collection procedures, and on the sanctions following non-compliance to legislation.
  • Provide advice to hatcheries: Provide recommendations for the installation and well functioning of hatcheries.
  • Advise on soil and water protection: Advise on the effects of soil and water management practices in controlling pollutant loss, nitrate leaching and reduce soil erosion.
  • Perform scientific research: Gain, correct or improve knowledge about phenomena by using scientific methods and techniques, based on empirical or measurable observations.
  • Advise on efficiency improvements: Analyse information and details of processes and products in order to advise on possible efficiency improvements that could be implemented and would signify a better use of resources.
  • Provide livestock advice and guidance: Through observation and analysis on the farm, propose options, possible solutions, types and levels of advice required based on the customer’s needs and by using appropriate techniques and methods.
  • Create soil and plant improvement programmes: Develop and advise on implementation of soil health and plant nutrition programs.
  • Make improvements to work activities: Make recommendations for improvements to work activities
  • Monitor the farm environmental management plan: Identify environmental designations and directives that relate to a given farm and incorporate their requirements into the farm planning process. Monitor the implementation of the farm environmental management plan and review timescales.
  • Research livestock production: Collect and use the livestock production facts and the results of analysis as an input to scientific research. Research and keep up to date with any relevant developments in livestock production review and gather information to inform business decisions
  • Report pollution incidents: Examine the extent of the damage and consequences when an incident causes pollution, and report it to the relevant institution following pollution reporting procedures.
  • Report on environmental issues: Compile environmental reports and communicate on issues. Inform the public or any interested parties in a given context on relevant recent developments in the environment, forecasts on the future of the environment, and any problems and possible solutions.
  • Perform market research: Gather, assess and represent data about target market and customers in order to facilitate strategic development and feasibility studies. Identify market trends.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of agricultural scientist. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Organic farming: Principles, techniques and regulations of organic farming. Organic farming or ecological agriculture is an agricultural production method that strongly emphasizes environmental protection and ecological balance.
  • Consultation methods: Techniques used to facilitate clear and open communication and the provision of advice between individuals, communities or the government, such as discussion groups or one-on-one interviews.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of agricultural scientist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Ensure compliance with environmental legislation: Monitor activities and perform tasks ensuring compliance with standards involving environmental protection and sustainability, and amend activities in the case of changes in environmental legislation. Ensure that the processes are compliant with environmental regulations and best practices.
  • Lead a team: Lead, supervise and motivate a group of people, in order to meet the expected results within a given timeline and with the foreseen resources in mind.
  • Comply with legal regulations: Ensure you are properly informed of the legal regulations that govern a specific activity and adhere to its rules, policies and laws.
  • Advise on irrigation projects: Advise on the construction of irrigation projects. Review contractor orders to ensure the compatibility of the design with installation concepts and pre-existent grounds master plan. Monitor the contractor’s work.
  • Comply with farm regulations: Ensure that farm activities comply with regulations.
  • Manage fisheries projects: Consult with contractors from both the governmental and private sectors in fisheries projects such as restoration efforts. Go over the proposed plans and provide expertise. Prepare applications for fisheries program grants. Provide technical assistance to civic fisheries projects. Study the impact of environmental changes on waters. Resolve complaints from the public. Prepare prescriptions to identify fisheries problems and recommend solutions.
  • Evaluate employees work: Evaluate the need for labour for the work ahead. Evaluate the performance of the team of workers and inform superiors. Encourage and support the employees in learning, teach them techniques and check the application to ensure product quality and labour productivity.
  • Apply precision farming: Using modern technologies and equipment with high precision positioning systems, geo-mapping and /or automated steering systems for agricultural activities.
  • Inspect project regulations: Inspect projects for regulation and specification compliance. Formulate recommendations to existing specifications and plans.
  • Train staff on recycling programs: Train employees on the type of recycling methods and programs available for a company and all its procedures and policies that should be considered.
  • Assess the necessity of new farming technologies: Evaluate the development of new technologies and ideas and make decisions about their use and appropriateness to a given farming situation.
  • Train employees: Lead and guide employees through a process in which they are taught the necessary skills for the perspective job. Organise activities aimed at introducing the work and systems or improving the performance of individuals and groups in organisational settings.

ISCO group and title

2132 – Farming, forestry and fisheries advisers


References
  1. Agricultural scientist – ESCO
  2. Agricultural scientists: Requirements – Vault
  3. Agricultural Scientist: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Education Requirements – Learn.org
  4. Featured image: Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash
Last updated on January 14, 2024