Career Development

What Does an Agricultural Technician Do?

Find out what an agricultural technician does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an agricultural technician.

Agricultural technicians are responsible for the day-to-day management of farms and ranches. They help farmers and ranchers with everything from planting crops to harvesting livestock, and they may also assist in managing equipment or other resources.

Agricultural technicians work closely with farmers and ranchers to ensure that their operations run smoothly. This often involves performing a variety of tasks on a daily basis, including monitoring crop growth, testing soil quality, and providing advice on how to best manage the farm’s resources.

Agricultural Technician Job Duties

Agricultural technicians have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Monitoring crop growth to identify potential problems with insects, disease, or weeds
  • Providing technical support to farmers and other agricultural professionals in their fields
  • Performing soil tests to determine nutrient levels and pH levels in order to help farmers make informed decisions about which fertilizers to use on their crops
  • Conducting research on agricultural topics such as plant genetics, soil composition, and pest control methods
  • Evaluating livestock health to identify any signs of illness or injury
  • Maintaining records of animal births and deaths in order to track herd size and performance over time
  • Managing the day-to-day operations of a farm, including feeding animals, maintaining equipment, and planting crops
  • Conducting research on the development of new products, processes, or methods of farming
  • Identifying and treating plant and animal diseases and infestations, such as fungi, bacteria, worms, or insects

Agricultural Technician Salary & Outlook

Agricultural technicians’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $55,000 ($26.44/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $86,500 ($41.59/hour)

The employment of agricultural technicians is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

As farms become larger and more specialized, there will be a greater need for technicians to do some of the less-skilled work currently done by farmers and ranchers. In addition, the use of technology in agriculture is expected to increase the demand for these workers. However, the loss of traditional farmlands to urbanization may limit the overall growth of this occupation.

Related: Agricultural Technician Interview Questions and Answers

Agricultural Technician Job Requirements

Agricultural technicians typically need to have the following background:

Education: Most agricultural technicians have at least a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science, agriculture education or a related field. Some agricultural technicians choose to earn a master’s degree in agricultural science or agriculture education to advance their careers or increase their earning potential.

Training & Experience: Agricultural technicians receive most of their training through formal education. They may also receive on-the-job training to learn the specific processes and procedures of their employer.

Certifications & Licenses: Some states require agricultural technicians to obtain a license from the Department of Agriculture. Requirements vary, so you should check the requirements in your state.

Agricultural Technician Skills

Agricultural technicians need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Agricultural technicians use technical skills to operate and repair machinery, conduct research and record data. They use their technical skills to identify problems, develop solutions and evaluate the success of their work. They use their technical skills to read and interpret data and records to identify trends and make informed decisions.

Communication skills: Agricultural technicians often work in teams with other technicians, farmers and other agricultural professionals. Effective communication skills can help you work with others to solve problems and find solutions to challenges. Strong communication skills can also help you explain complex agricultural topics to non-agricultural professionals.

Problem-solving skills: Agricultural technicians often work with machinery and other complex systems, so they must be able to identify and solve problems. They may be required to identify the source of a problem, research potential solutions and implement the most effective solution.

Mechanical aptitude: Agricultural technicians use mechanical aptitude to troubleshoot and repair machinery, vehicles and other equipment. They also use mechanical aptitude to build and design agricultural structures and systems. This is an important skill for an agricultural technician to have because they often work with machinery and other equipment that can break down.

Attention to detail: Agricultural technicians work with a variety of tools and equipment, and they must be able to identify the correct tool for the job. They also work with a variety of chemicals and fertilizers, and attention to detail is necessary to ensure they use the correct chemicals for the crops they’re treating. Attention to detail is also necessary when recording data and maintaining records.

Agricultural Technician Work Environment

Agricultural technicians work in a variety of settings, including farms, greenhouses, nurseries, and laboratories. They may work outdoors in all types of weather conditions, or they may work indoors in climate-controlled environments. They typically work regular hours, although they may work longer hours during planting and harvesting seasons. Agricultural technicians who work in research laboratories may work more regular hours. Agricultural technicians may be exposed to hazardous materials and equipment, so they must follow safety procedures and wear protective clothing when necessary.

Agricultural Technician Trends

Here are three trends influencing how agricultural technicians work. Agricultural technicians will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of Robots in Agriculture

As agriculture becomes more automated, the need for agricultural technicians will decrease. This is because robots can perform many of the same tasks that technicians do, such as planting and harvesting crops.

However, agricultural technicians can still be valuable assets to farms by providing support and training for the robots. They can also help to develop new technologies that will further automate agriculture.

The Importance of Sustainability

Agricultural technicians are increasingly important in the world of agriculture, as they are responsible for ensuring that farms are sustainable. This means that they need to be familiar with a variety of different methods for farming, such as organic or hydroponic methods.

In addition, agricultural technicians need to be able to manage resources effectively so that farms can produce enough food without wasting any. They also need to be able to communicate with farmers about what works and what doesn’t work in order to improve efficiency.

More Focus on Food Safety

As the public becomes more aware of the dangers of contaminated food, there has been a growing demand for agricultural technicians who specialize in food safety.

Agricultural technicians who are knowledgeable about food safety can help to ensure that the food that we eat is safe to consume. They can do this by inspecting crops before they are harvested, testing products for bacteria, and educating farmers about best practices.

How to Become an Agricultural Technician

Agricultural technicians have a lot of options when it comes to their career path. They can specialize in a particular area, such as crop production or livestock management, or they can choose to become generalists and work in many different areas of agriculture.

No matter what direction they choose, agricultural technicians should keep up-to-date on the latest technologies and methods used in agriculture. This can be done by attending workshops and training sessions, reading industry publications, and networking with other professionals.

Advancement Prospects

Agricultural technicians may advance to supervisory or managerial positions overseeing a team of technicians or a specific agricultural operation. With experience, agricultural technicians may also become independent consultants, providing their services to farmers on a contract basis. Some agricultural technicians may also choose to start their own agricultural businesses.

Agricultural Technician Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re committed to developing and perfecting sustainable agricultural practices that improve yields while also being gentle on the environment. We’re looking for an agricultural technician to join our team and help us in this mission. The ideal candidate will have experience in agricultural research and development, as well as a strong understanding of environmental science. They will be responsible for conducting experiments, collecting data, and developing new methods of sustainable agriculture. They will also be expected to contribute to the development of educational materials for our team and the public.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Assist farmers and agricultural scientists in conducting experiments
  • Help set up equipment for experiments and collect data during trials
  • Calibrate and maintain equipment
  • Keep detailed records of experimental conditions and results
  • Analyze data and prepare reports
  • Assist in developing new methods and techniques
  • Train and supervise farm workers
  • Select and breed animals
  • Manage pastures
  • Irrigate crops
  • Apply pesticides and herbicides
  • Harvest crops

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in agricultural science, horticulture, or related field
  • 2+ years experience working in an agricultural production setting
  • Experience with common agricultural equipment and machinery
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds and work long hours, including weekends and holidays
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Strong attention to detail

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in agricultural science, horticulture, or related field
  • 4+ years experience working in an agricultural production setting
  • Experience with precision agriculture tools and techniques
  • Experience developing and implementing agricultural research trials
  • Familiarity with statistical analysis software


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