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Agricultural Engineering: One of the most diverse careers paths in farming

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When you hear the words ‘agricultural engineering’, your first impression is often of someone working directly with farming machinery, out in the fields or in farm buildings to help support farmers in their day-to-day work. But as the world of agriculture has innovated and changed, so have the jobs available to budding engineers considering what field to go into. An agricultural engineer is no longer just the technician on the ground floor; they can be the forefront of innovation in countless areas, from working in labs to research centres, working with energy companies to biologists to improve and enhance the way farming is done.

Think agricultural engineering sounds more interesting than you first thought? You’re not alone. Here are just some of the career paths available to those considering engineering as a future career, or those who are qualifying from university with engineering qualifications in the next couple of years:

Machinery and Structural Design

We often think of farming as something that goes on across acres of open-sky fields, but modern-day agriculture is a different thing entirely when it comes to the machinery and structural design requirements placed on engineers in the field. With planters and other farm equipment larger and more advanced than ever, and automated machinery making the leap from research into real-world application, the need to meet the mechanical advancements of agriculture in the modern day is vast.

Mechanical and structural engineering is a must to ensure farming businesses can run smoothly, and they provide much-needed boosts to productivity and quality on the average farm. While these kinds of agricultural engineer jobs can involve working in the mud and dirt yourself, more often they include top-level design and development of machinery to make it built for purpose. From energy-efficient buildings to high-yield, low-space structure designs, there is plenty to see and do for engineers entering the world of machinery and structural design.

Resource and Waste Management

Resource management is an absolutely vital addition to modern farming, providing a way for businesses to get the most out of the land they use, improve the yield from their crops and their animals and optimise the process overall. Engineers are uniquely placed to provide valuable insight into this role, with a good understanding of both science and mathematics required to improve efficiency and allocate land correctly, while also reducing the need for extraneous farming and chemicals to reduce the human resource required.

Likewise, waste management is an essential part of today’s agricultural industry, ensuring that animal waste and chemical runoff is well-managed and compliant with local laws and requirements. Environment engineers, in particular, are well-placed for this line of work, allowing for the creation of more environmentally-friendly solutions without reducing efficiency on farms.

Agricultural Technology

In every industry, the advancement of technology is required to get ahead. Agricultural technology is a particularly fascinating industry for engineers, thanks to the wide variety of different sub-careers available. Anything from bioengineering through to the manipulation of soil and fertilisers and the creation of advanced GPS systems for farming allows for a better, more productive industry overall. Agricultural technology is vast, and as such, there’s room for any engineer looking to discover a rapidly-growing, continually evolving field.

For engineers who enjoy variety and like having a niche to specialise in, agricultural technology offers something unique. In fact, the precision agriculture industry has grown tenfold over the past few years, putting additional demand for engineers to optimise technologies while reducing costs. Whether your forte is working with programmers and other engineers, or you prefer to work on the front lines discovering and innovating new ways to use technology, there’s a career for you here.

Energy and Green Power

While it may seem like an entirely separate industry, energy and green power intersects with modern agriculture in some very significant ways. Firstly, many in-land sources of power, such as solar and wind farms, originate on farmland, and many agricultural businesses make use of green power as an effective and cost-reducing way to power the growth of crops and the care of their livestock. Working in green energy is a rapidly-expanding industry, and agriculture is just one of the fields standing to benefit.

For agricultural engineers, working with solar panels and wind generators may not sound like a standard part of the job; but in the modern-day, and with some companies offering energy exclusively to the farming industry, it’s more common than you might think. These skills are not only vital but also transferrable to other energy positions if you prefer to be a little more flexible in the roles you’d like to work in later in life.

Research and Development

The opportunity to invest and develop new technologies is exciting in just about any industry and agriculture is no exception. The forefront of new machinery, technologies and even the implementation of existing technology is all part of research and development. For an engineer, this could mean working directly with roboticists in the development of new automation for the farming industry. Or working with AI to create more sophisticated mobile technology to support farmers.

Whatever your area of research and development, for an agricultural engineer this field is one that’s only getting more important day after day. As more money and innovation is pumped into agriculture, improving efficiency and creating brand-new ways to farm, research and development is an excellent career to land in. For engineers unsure about what they want to do in the future, R&D provides countless chances to be a part of something new and exciting.

If agricultural engineering sounds like the career for you, or you’re interested in the other possible jobs available for those looking to work in farming, then Agricultural Recruitment Specialists offers the opportunity to find something that suits you. Whether working in horticulture sounds like your ideal job, or the equestrian field is something that interests you, our job listings can help you discover a profession that’s right for your qualifications, skills and passions.

See our full range of job vacancies, take a look at our listings today.

Agricultural Recruitment Specialists are worldwide recruitment experts in agricultural, food, farming and rural recruitment and have a variety of executive and management positions available within agriculture, horticulture and the food and rural sectors throughout the UK and the rest of the world. To find out more about our agricultural job vacancies and discuss your future career, contact our team of agricultural recruitment professionals. You can visit our website here: or call our team on: 01905 345 155 or email us at:

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