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Career Definition of Precision Agriculture Technicians
Precision agriculture technicians specialize in utilizing technology, such as global positioning systems (GPS), to improve agricultural activities like pesticide application or irrigation. They may work for agricultural production companies or research centers that are part of educational institutions. Precision agriculture technicians can work in an office or laboratory.
Job duties for precision agriculture technicians may include utilizing geospatial technology to develop soil sample grids; developing and evaluating materials illustrating soil characteristics or drainage patterns; and studying harvester monitor information to create yield maps. Precision agriculture technicians may maintain and repair mechanical controls or sensors, as well as GPS vehicle guidance systems. They may also interface with equipment companies whenever technical assistance is needed.
Precision agriculture technicians can utilize data from crop scouting to program farm equipment like pesticide sprayers. These technicians may provide recommendations based on their findings on the best crop selections for particular areas. They may also examine remote sensing imagery to determine correlations between factors like crop canopy densities and weather patterns. Precision agriculture technicians could provide guidance on greener ways to treat fields and create contour or plat maps. These technicians may create georeferenced zones for fields based on soil type and production capabilities.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Excellent technical abilities, strong communication skills, and effective project management abilities|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$46,040 (for all Life, Physical & Social Science Technicians)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||10% (for all Life, Physical & Social Science Technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Individuals will need a bachelor's degree in agronomy, agricultural business, or a related field to work as a precision agricultural technician. A strong background in data management may be beneficial. Interested individuals can seek membership in a professional organization like the International Society of Precision Agriculture. The organization offers members networking and publishing opportunities.
Excellent technical abilities will be an essential asset for precision agricultural technicians, as their job duties are centered on technology. Relevant technical skills or knowledge may include AGCO GTA Software Suite, John Deere Apex Farm Management, Trimble AgGPS MultiPlane, and Microsoft Office. Precision agriculture technicians should have strong communication skills in order to interact with producers, vendors, or colleagues. These technicians should also have effective project management abilities to oversee the creation and execution of solutions for agricultural equipment.
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect statistics on precision agriculture technicians; however, they reported a 10% growth for life, physical, and social science technicians, all other, during 2016-2026. This job growth is faster than average for all occupations. The BLS reported a 2016 median annual salary of $46,040 for life, physical, and social science technicians.
Individuals considering a career as a precision agriculture technician might also be interested in one of the related careers profiled below. These options offer candidates the opportunity to utilize their skills in other environmental positions.