With a growing world population, the task of feeding everyone on the planet is getting bigger every day. Key to maintaining the nation’s food supply— agricultural and food scientists research ways to improve agricultural production and food products, while keeping conditions healthy and sustainable on farms, production facilities, and in the soil. Animal scientists research ways to improve the quality and productivity of farm animals for food production, through lowering animal death rates, increasing growth rates, and upgrading their environments. Food scientists and technologists study the basic elements of food. They analyze nutritional content, discover food sources, and develop ways to make processed foods safe and nutritious. Many create new food products, and research ideas to preserve and package food. Soil scientists examine the composition of soil, how it affects plant or crop growth, and how different soil treatments affect crop productivity. Plant scientists develop improvements to crop yields and ways to enhance plant production, including controlling weeds and pests. Agricultural and food scientists work in colleges and universities, food production companies, and in scientific research and development. They divide their time between laboratories, offices, and—when needed— visits to farms and processing plants. Work hours are typically full time, with standard hours. Agricultural and food scientists need at least a bachelor’s degree in their field, or a related science or engineering major. Many pursue graduate degrees.
What they do:
Conduct research in the genetics, nutrition, reproduction, growth, and development of domestic farm animals.
On the job, you would:
Study nutritional requirements of animals and nutritive values of animal feed materials.
Advise producers about improved products and techniques that could enhance their animal production efforts.
Develop improved practices in feeding, housing, sanitation, or parasite and disease control of animals.
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
manufacture and distribution of products
Education and Training
teaching and course design
using scientific rules and strategies to solve problems
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
communicate by speaking
communicate by writing
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
use rules to solve problems
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA sequence analysis software
Data base user interface and query software
Structured query language SQL
doctoral degree or master's degree usually needed
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.