Agriculture has come a long way since the early days when the only work you could do was to toil under the baking sun. Today’s agricultural field is diverse and exciting and comes with a wealth of career opportunities to be explored. And if you’re passionate about farming, and fascinated with how agriculture merges into business, then being an agricultural technician sounds like the perfect job for you.
Responsibilities of an agricultural technician
Agricultural technicians perform a vast variety of tasks, depending on the type of field that they choose to specialise in. But many of the roles they perform are the same, regardless of the sector they may decide to work in. These professionals work to help scientists achieve everyday objectives and support them during the course of their research.
So if you’re thinking of being an agricultural technician, then you’ll be expected to work as a valuable assistant under a scientist. This includes handling duties such as recording data accurately and readying specimens for examination. You will also be required to gather samples from both farm animals and plants when necessary. This means that you will be drawing blood from animals and gathering leaves from crops to be tested. Agricultural technician jobs also involve setting up laboratory spaces properly and maintaining them while conforming to the highest industry standards.
Because the job responsibilities of an agricultural technician are so varied, there will be many subjects you need to master, and also many different areas you can choose to specialise in. For instance, if you decide to follow a path in crops and food management, your priorities will revolve around managing crops and quality control. Your duties would include tasks such as performing tests on seeds to check for viability and testing the quality of finished food products. And in addition to preparing leaf samples, you will also monitor crops and help scientists create stronger plant varieties that are more resistant to diseases.
But if it’s a future working with animals that you envision, you can choose to specialise in livestock and farm animals. Here you’ll be expected to do a lot more than just prepare biological specimens and draw blood from test subjects. You will be using all of your knowledge on animal breeding, disease control and basic animal care to ensure that every farm animal is kept as healthy as possible.
The average workday of an agricultural technician
The typical workday of an agricultural technician is packed with different duties and many rewarding experiences. They are often tasked with training and monitoring new recruits to perform scientific and technical processes accurately. They also spend a chunk of their day overseeing the activities of the farm’s labourers.
Agricultural technicians spend a portion of their daily working hours on laboratory and field testing. These tests are performed using many complex scientific instruments such as spectrometers, centrifuges and pH meters. They also oversee any forestry and agricultural activities that happen anywhere on the farmlands.
Apart from the tasks mentioned above, agricultural technician jobs also come with a fair share of desk work. Most agricultural technicians participate in daily group discussions and communicate with clients via daily emails and telephone conversations. They also spend time creating reports, data summaries and research analyses. This can include preparing different charts and graphs to reflect new findings and test results. They are also expected to work efficiently to meet tight deadlines and make everyday farming decisions when needed.
Every once in a while, agricultural technicians carry out insect and plant disease surveys to identify the presence of diseases or problematic conditions in crops. They also carry out routine crop production tasks such as tilling, pruning, weeding, cultivating and harvesting crops.
Depending on what they specialise in, some agricultural technicians can even be required to record environmental information from field samples of air, water, soil and pests, in order to better shape the farm’s integrated pest management (ipi) methods.
Agricultural technicians engage in machinery jobs when the need calls for it. They must be able to operate all types of farm equipment including tractors, mowers, sprayers, trucks, balers, ploughs, combines and earthmoving machinery. They also spend time maintaining the farm’s tools, machinery and agricultural facilities to make sure that all farming activities are carried out safely.
Should you become an agricultural technician?
You can consider pursuing this career if you are someone who has a passion for working with plants, animals and farm instruments such as tools and machinery. You must like working in and observing the outdoors for long periods of time. It also helps if you’re a person who enjoys tackling problems and takes a practical approach to solving them. This career will demand a great deal of independent thought and study and will spur you to master resolving all types of problems mentally in a short time.
An agricultural technician typically works forty hours per week, though the work schedule can shift around with changes in the weather and demand for production. The amount of time they spend at their desks every day can vary depending on what they specialise in. However, most of them work outdoors at least once a week, and some even work in warehouses every once in a while.
How to become an agricultural technician
Individuals who follow this career path usually begin their journey with an associate’s degree in a life science. This can be in any relevant subject such as biology, chemistry, crop science or animal science. And if you’re hoping to start right after high school, you’ll need to be prepared to study an intense course load of both math and science.
Once you’re through, the next logical step is to work a farming job while following a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, animal science, crop science, biology or agricultural engineering. Working while studying will give you valuable on-hands experience and prepare you to better perform your roles as an agricultural technician. Certain degree programmes will even provide you with training depending on what areas you want to specialise in, and cover practical topics such as farm hygiene, proper sanitation and production processes.
You can also look for school programmes that offer internships and other opportunities to improve your chances of being hired. Certain technician positions even consider applicants with only a high school diploma, but these will usually require you to go through at least one years’ worth of on-the-job training.
If you're looking for work in the agricultural sector, Agricultural Recruitment Specialists can help you find the right niche in the UK, Europe and beyond. We can assist in finding which doors are open for you with your specific background and even advice on what you could do to improve your prospects.
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: www.agriRS.co.uk or call our team on: 01905 345 155 or email us at: info@agriRS.co.uk
Alternatively, if you are a client looking to expand your team, whilst using a professional recruitment / headhunting solution, then please call us today on 01905 345155 or email us at: info@agriRS.co.uk