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Agronomist jobs include a wide variety of careers that involve plants or things made from plants, such as food, fabrics, and biofuels. They often also deal with conservation and sustainability. Careers in these areas often overlap with farming in some way. Some agronomist jobs include research, crop production and management, soil and water conservation, and sustainable development. Many agronomists have degrees in agronomy, but degrees in a variety of agriculture-related fields can lead to a career in this field.
Most research-related agronomist jobs require a master's or doctorate degree in agronomy or a related field. Research may involve any agronomy-related area, including crop productivity, genetic engineering, and conservation practices. Bioenergy and sustainable agriculture are other common areas of research. Research agronomists often work in labs and, depending on what they are researching, they may also perform large amounts of fieldwork.
Crop production and management jobs can vary widely depending on the type of crop and the size of the operation. Agronomists most often work with field crops, such as cotton, wheat, corn, and soybeans. They may manage things such as crop planting and harvesting, and implementing more efficient farming practices. Another area of management agronomist jobs is recreational areas, such as golf courses, sports fields, and turfgrass management. These types of jobs often involve large amounts of time working outdoors.
Agronomists involved in soil and water conservation are often scientists or engineers. They may implement practices to control erosion, improve water quality, and manage stormwater runoff. Environmental engineers as well as agricultural scientists are often involved in these areas of agronomy. Depending on their specific duties, agronomists involved in conservation may spend large amounts of time in an office, outdoors, or both.
Sustainable development jobs interact with all areas of agronomy and agriculture. Agronomists working in sustainable development may be involved with projects ranging from large-scale, high-tech farming operations to small individual farms in developing nations. Whatever the size of the project, the goal of agronomists working in sustainable development is to help farmers implement practices that will ensure that their operation is remains economically and environmentally viable in the future.
Many agronomist jobs require some kind of college degree. While agronomy degrees can certainly lead to a career in agronomy, many other degrees can qualify a person for agronomist jobs as well. Some such degrees include soil and crop sciences, entomology, biology or microbiology, plant pathology, and environmental or agricultural engineering.