Precision Agriculture Technicians
Apply geospatial technologies, including geographic information systems (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS), to agricultural production or management activities, such as pest scouting, site-specific pesticide application, yield mapping, or variable-rate irrigation. May use computers to develop or analyze maps or remote sensing images to compare physical topography with data on soils, fertilizer, pests, or weather.
Sample of reported job titles: Crop Specialist, Independent Crop Consultant, Nutrient Management Specialist, Precision Agriculture Specialist (Precision Ag Specialist), Precision Farming Coordinator, Soil Fertility Specialist
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Collect information about soil or field attributes, yield data, or field boundaries, using field data recorders and basic geographic information systems (GIS).
- Use geospatial technology to develop soil sampling grids or identify sampling sites for testing characteristics such as nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium content, pH, or micronutrients.
- Demonstrate the applications of geospatial technology, such as Global Positioning System (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), automatic tractor guidance systems, variable rate chemical input applicators, surveying equipment, or computer mapping software.
- Document and maintain records of precision agriculture information.
- Identify spatial coordinates, using remote sensing and Global Positioning System (GPS) data.
- Apply precision agriculture information to specifically reduce the negative environmental impacts of farming practices.
- Create, layer, and analyze maps showing precision agricultural data, such as crop yields, soil characteristics, input applications, terrain, drainage patterns, or field management history.
- Analyze data from harvester monitors to develop yield maps.
- Install, calibrate, or maintain sensors, mechanical controls, GPS-based vehicle guidance systems, or computer settings.
- Analyze geospatial data to determine agricultural implications of factors such as soil quality, terrain, field productivity, fertilizers, or weather conditions.
- Contact equipment manufacturers for technical assistance, as needed.
- Program farm equipment, such as variable-rate planting equipment or pesticide sprayers, based on input from crop scouting and analysis of field condition variability.
- Draw or read maps, such as soil, contour, or plat maps.
- Prepare reports in graphical or tabular form, summarizing field productivity or profitability.
- Compare crop yield maps with maps of soil test data, chemical application patterns, or other information to develop site-specific crop management plans.
- Recommend best crop varieties or seeding rates for specific field areas, based on analysis of geospatial data.
- Divide agricultural fields into georeferenced zones, based on soil characteristics and production potentials.
- Analyze remote sensing imagery to identify relationships between soil quality, crop canopy densities, light reflectance, and weather history.
- Provide advice on the development or application of better boom-spray technology to limit the overapplication of chemicals and to reduce the migration of chemicals beyond the fields being treated.
- Identify areas in need of pesticide treatment by analyzing geospatial data to determine insect movement and damage patterns.
- Advise farmers on upgrading Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment to take advantage of newly installed advanced satellite technology.
- Participate in efforts to advance precision agriculture technology, such as developing advanced weed identification or automated spot spraying systems.
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- Analytical or scientific software — AGCO GTA Software Suite; Farm Works Site Pro; MapShots EASi Suite; SST Development Group SSToolbox
- Data base user interface and query software — Ag Leader Technology SMS Advanced; John Deere Apex Farm Management; Microsoft Access ; Novariant AutoFarm AF Viewer
- Geographic information system — ESRI ArcGIS software ; ESRI ArcPad; ESRI ArcView
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Map creation software — GeoAgro GIS; Trimble AgGPS EZ-Map; Trimble AgGPS MultiPlane
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Food Production — Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
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- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
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- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
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- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Collect geographical or geological field data.
- Analyze environmental data.
- Analyze geological or geographical data.
- Record research or operational data.
- Apply knowledge or research findings to address environmental problems.
- Prepare maps.
- Calibrate scientific or technical equipment.
- Maintain laboratory or technical equipment.
- Prepare operational reports.
- Research crop management methods.
- Advise others on the development or use of new technologies.
- Conduct climatological research.
- Develop agricultural methods.
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- Electronic Mail — 89% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 81% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 52% responded “Some freedom.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 48% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 44% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 59% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 38% responded “Every day.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 52% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 41% responded “Very important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 52% responded “Some freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 33% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 56% responded “Important results.”
- Deal With External Customers — 41% responded “Very important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 50% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Time Pressure — 41% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 38% responded “Very important.”
- In an Open Vehicle or Equipment — 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 26% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Outdoors, Under Cover — 48% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 46% responded “High responsibility.”
- Level of Competition — 56% responded “Moderately competitive.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 30% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 41% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Work Schedules — 69% responded “Irregular (changes with weather conditions, production demands, or contract duration).”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 33% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 52% responded “About half the time.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 35% responded “Limited responsibility.”
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|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor’s degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
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Interest code: RIC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
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- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
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- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
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Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Agricultural and Food Science Technicians.
Employment data for Agricultural and Food Science Technicians.
Industry data for Agricultural and Food Science Technicians.
|Median wages (2020)||$20.18 hourly, $41,970 annual|
|Employment (2020)||26,600 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Average (5% to 10%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||3,700|
|Top industries (2020)||
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists
- American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
- American Society of Agronomy
- American Society of Animal Science
- Institute of Food Technologists
- National Association of County Agricultural Agents
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Agricultural and food science technicians
- PrecisionAg Institute
- Soil and Water Conservation Society
- Soil Science Society of America
- Weed Science Society of America
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