The field of agriculture is quite broad and diverse thereby requiring people from different disciplines to collaborate towards a better and efficient agricultural process.
Agricultural engineers are key players in designing instruments which make farming less stressful to farmers in rural and underdeveloped areas. Most times their work requires a bit of research and fieldwork to understand certain patterns that might be observed with farming.
Job Profile of an Agricultural Engineer
Agricultural Engineering is an aspect of engineering which focuses on design, construction and maintenance of farming equipment and machinery. They help to improve farming processes by incorporating technology in solving agricultural challenges faced by farmers.
This could be in the form of creating a piece of equipment that works faster and more efficiently, exploring possible materials from non-food sources that can be used as biofuels, proferring better strategies in the construction of reservoirs, warehouses and other farm structures.
Typically, as they advance in their career, there is a need for specializing in certain areas which may include;
- product design and development of agricultural equipment
- design of structures for farming or livestock
- advice on pollution control
- land reclamation project specialization
- Biofuels e.t.c
The nature of your work as an engineer requires you to work both in and out of the office. there would be days where you have to offer consultation services to clients with appropriate presentation tools available in the office while there are other days where there might be a need for site inspections which might require travelling long distances. collaborations with people in the agricultural sector e.g horticulturalists, agronomists, animal scientists, and geneticists are important in solving certain problems encountered.
Read also: Job Description for Agricultural Consultant
Job Description for Agricultural Engineers
- Data analysis and interpretation
- Routine inspection visits to farms
- Evaluation of lands (texture and suitability)
- Writing of reports and making a detailed presentation with relevant information
- Giving recent and relevant knowledge in the field of agriculture to clients
- Attending conferences and seminars to gain more insight into new techniques.
- Design agricultural machinery components and equipment, using computer-related design technology.
- Conduct educational programs that provide farmers or farm cooperative members with information that can help them improve agricultural productivity.
- Supervise food processing or manufacturing plant operations
- Planning projects, administering and managing budgets
- Conducting research in the field and lab to develop practices for food production that protect the environment
Skills Needed for an Agricultural Engineer
An Agricultural Engineer should possess some of the listed skills to fit into the position;
- Presentation Skills
- Problem-solving and analytical Skills
- Critical thinking abilities
- Project management Skills
- Administrative skills
- Up-to-date knowledge of technicalities in the agricultural industry
- Knowledge Microsoft Office tools (Excel, Word etc.)
- IT Skills
- leadership and team-work skills
Typical Employers of Agricultural Engineers
Some of the areas you can work in as an agricultural engineer include:
- Ministry of agriculture
- Research organisation
- Agricultural based consulting firms
- Farming co-operatives
- International organisations(WHO, UN)
- Food manufacturing companies
- Agricultural machinery manufacturing
Qualification for Agricultural Engineer
To become an agricultural engineer, you would need to have an undergraduate degree in agricultural sciences, Agric engineering or Agric economics. Taking a course in business administration, project management or a postgraduate degree in agricultural engineering would be useful when making an advancement into management positions.
Furthermore, relevant years of work experience especially on the field or with research should be obtained while working within different organisations. you should also look into obtaining a license that would allow you practise in any region you are looking to work in.