Plant Scientist/Field Agronomist

Plant scientists, also called field agronomists, study plants to help producers of food, animal feed and fiber grow plants that are healthy and more efficient. They plan, budget, perform, document and analyze research trials and similar projects as they relate to agronomic crops (staple food crops that are produced on a large scale). They evaluate products, collect data on performance and develop solutions to problems using quantitative (expressible in terms of quantity/numbers) results.

What Responsibilities Will I Have?

  • Research and study the chemical composition, structure and properties of plants
  • Make agronomic-related decisions regarding production activities
  • Develop, conduct and evaluate tolerance for species at seedling stage of growth
  • Understand the farmland (ground conditions, farming challenges and pest issues) and how it effects plant growth
  • Evaluate products, collect data and make recommendations to management
  • Initiate and implement research and development programs for plant research
  • Investigate applying a wide variety of scientific principles to potential inventions
  • Prepare documented proposals and successfully establish research trials
  • Manage trial establishment and collection of data
  • Analyze collected research data using statistical software
  • Budget for research work and provide management reporting
  • Submit research to academic journals and publishers
  • Present presentations on research findings and new techniques at conferences and to farmers

Recommended High School Courses:

  • agricultural education
  • statistics
  • business
  • mathematics
  • focus on science such as earth science, biology, botany, chemistry, plant science and biology

Education/Training Required:

A bachelor’s degree in chemistry, crop science, soil science, biology or a related field, such as horticulture, plant physiology or environmental science, is required to become a plant scientist/field agronomist. A master’s or doctorate degree is required for research, administrative and management positions. Experience is always preferred for higher-level positions.

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