Agricultural Engineering is an area of engineering that deals with the design, construction and improvement of farming equipment and machinery.
In broader terms, it applies engineering science disciplines and technology practices to the efficient production and processing of food, fiber feed and fuels. This course was birthed after merging the principles of animal biology, mechanical, civil, electrical and plant biology, and chemical engineering.
A number of times, this course is mistaken for an Agricultural course when it is an Engineering course. Agricultural Engineering is a technological field that offers bright career prospects and opportunity in any country around the world, and in various sectors.
RELEVANT SKILLS OF AN AGRICULTURAL ENGINEER
- Quality Control Analysis Skills Service Orientation Skills Instructing Skills: Social Perceptiveness Technology Design skills Operations Analysis Skills Learning Strategies Skills Negotiation Skills Persuasion Skills Mathematical Skills Systems Analysis Skills Systems Evaluation Skills Scientific Skills
- Monitoring Skills: Ability to identify, analyze and solve problems Judgment and Decision Making
Great career opportunities are available for qualified agricultural engineers. This can be in government and public sector organizations, agribusiness firms, research organizations and laboratories, banks and financial corporations, food processing and retail industry, central and state government organizations and private firms.
With this, a person with a degree in Agricultural engineering degree can work as:
- Agricultural Engineer
- Agricultural Specialist
- Agricultural Crop Engineer Agricultural Inspector
- Farm Shop Manager Plant Physiologist
- Environmental Controls Engineer Food Supervisor
- Soil Scientist Agronomist
- Survey Research Agricultural Engineer Microbiologist
1. AGRICULTURAL ENGINEER
Being a degree holder in Agricultural engineering, you can decide to practice as an Agricultural Engineer. As such, your duty is basically to integrate technology with farming. Agricultural Engineers design new and improved farming equipment that may work more efficiently, or perform new tasks. They design and build agricultural infrastructure such as water reservoirs, dams, warehouses and other structures. They may also help engineer solutions for pollution and control at large farms. The Agricultural Engineers who are interested in sustainability may also provide advice on water quality and water pollution control issues.
Agricultural engineers work both indoors and outdoors. They spend time in offices creating plans and managing projects, and in agricultural settings inspecting sites, monitoring equipment, and overseeing reclamation and water management projects.
2. AGRICULTURAL INSPECTOR
Agricultural inspectors make sure that businesses comply with federal and state laws and regulations that govern the health, quality, and safety of meat, egg products, poultry, fruit, and vegetables. They also inspect food- and meat-processing plants to ensure that the facilities meet quality standards.
In order to determine whether a business is meeting quality and safety standards, an inspector makes numerous visits and makes thorough inspections of the product and its surroundings.
One of the main responsibilities of an agricultural inspector is to ensure the health and quality of livestock is up to standard. This is another career you can venture into with a degree in Agricultural Engineering.
3. AGRICULTURAL RESEARCHER
Agricultural research has occurred continuously since humans began shifting food acquisition methods from hunter-gatherer to agrarian. The early goal of agricultural research was mainly that of better methods of producing food. As humans and agriculture progressed, research widened to control of diseases and pests, productive fields, better cultivars, improvement of food crops, animal rearing facilities, and basic biological understanding of plants and animals.
Back then, the studies were on trial and error. That notwithstanding, that was how Advanced Agricultural research came into existence.
4. AGRICULTURAL CONSULTANTS
With a degree in Agricultural Engineering, you can decide to become an Agricultural consultant. Responsibilities include offering advice, guidance and support to farmers. They can offer guidance on the financial and business side of running a farm, or they can offer technical expertise which will help them to improve their land management, reduce their emissions and refine their operational processes. As an Agricultural consultant, you can be self employed with different clients.
5. FOOD PACKERS AND PACKAGERS
Before agricultural products can reach their ultimate destination, they must be packaged safely and appropriately for shipment. This is what food packers and packagers do. Contemporary packing operations are usually done with sophisticated package processing equipment that takes skill and experience to operate.
These highly skilled Agricultural workers drive, operate, and maintain the equipment used to plant and harvest crops, such as tractors, ploughers, mowers, conveyors, manure spreaders, shredders, power washers and harvesters. With your degree , you can also fit into this field.
6. ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL ENGINEER
An environmental control engineer is a type of engineer who specializes in designing, evaluating and creating environmental control systems. Such systems include those that control air, temperature, water and waste in environments like buildings, aircraft, etc. They may also work on big projects, such as water distribution and treatment plants.
Common duties of environmental control engineers include system drafting,needing identification and evaluation, design, product creation and testing, product consulting, quality assurance, etc.
A major educational requirement for this career is a bachelor’s degree in Engineering and other basic skills. This means you’re 100 percent qualified to opt for this with your degree in Agricultural Engineering.
Having a degree in Agricultural Engineering does not in any way hinder you from being a crop scientist.
An Agronomist needs to possess Mathematics, analytical and excellent writing abilities. These are major skills possessed by Agricultural Engineers.
As a crop scientist, you will specialize in producing and improving food crops through conducting experiments and developing methods of production. The main focus is to increase the quality and amount of food produced for a nation.
8. AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT OFFICER
An agricultural development officer has the opportunity to do good work all around the world. Wherever you work, your goal will be to develop and increase agricultural activity and income in that particular area. Your duties will include forming long-term agricultural plans and making important decisions in regards to the distribution of agricultural resources. You may find gainful employment through various government agencies too.
If you’re a person who is passionate about lecturing, there is nothing to worry about. Having a degree in Agricultural Engineering is just a step to becoming a lecturer. After your first degree, all you need to do is go for your post graduate studies. Depending on the level your wish to get in your lecturing career, you can also consider getting to the PhD level. The higher the better.
You can equally teach in colleges and technical schools at both higher and lower levels So, your degree is no excuse.
Becoming your own boss as a manager in a farm or other small businesses isn’t such a bad idea. With your degree and all the knowledge, you can decide to set up an agro- business.You can equally decide to set up an Agricultural Machinery firm. This is the advantage of the course. You’re exposed to both Agricultural and Engineering practices. a business can be capital intensive but not all agribusinesses require much startup capital. For instance, those into snail farming, you don’t spend much to start.
11. PLANT ENGINEER
As an Agricultural Engineering degree holder, you can work as a plant engineer. Plant engineers work for difference organizations. The duties of a plant Engineer typically involves the following:
Equipment Maintenance: A plant engineer may be involved in monitoring and maintaining plant equipment and machinery to ensure its smooth running. At an entry-level, plant engineers are basically responsible for fixing any mechanical faults with the equipment.
Ensure the Facility Complies with Regulations: Plant engineers are responsible for ensuring the facility complies with the relevant regulations and that regular check-ups are carried out to verify that machinery is safe.
Train Plant Personnel: Senior plant engineers train and assist plant personnel in carrying out safety and quality control measures so that all team members comply with the appropriate regulations.
Develop Operational Plans: Plant engineers also develop operational plans for projects at different facilities. Such includes construction, renovation, maintenance, and machine installation.
There has always been a conflicting argument each time Agricultural Engineering is compared with other Engineering fields like Civil and Mechanical Engineering. Though Agricultural Engineering is closely related to Mechanical Engineering, many in the Engineering field see Agricultural Engineering as a very irrelevant field in Engineering. So, as an Agricultural degree holder, you need not to be discouraged by the misconception
Over the years, the increase in job opportunities for those in the Agricultural field has increased drastically because Agriculture is more Mechanicanised than ever. Currently, the demand for Agricultural Engineers is high. This has led agricultural firms, government services, and consulting agencies to seek after graduates in Agricultural Engineering. Thus, an Agricultural Engineering degree will provide you with opportunities around the world in large corporations and small businesses.
There are different opportunities and things to venture into with an Agricultural Engineering degree. With your degree, you stand a chance to build a career in any of the options above and others including careers in water quality, food processing, structural design, environmental systems, erosion control, materials handling, Agricultural power and equipment design and a lot more.
You stand a better chance to work in a Government Institution. However, your academic advancement and experience determines to a large extent your earnings as an Agricultural Engineer.