Example Career: Precision Agriculture Technicians
Apply geospatial technologies, including geographic information systems (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS), to agricultural production or management activities, such as pest scouting, site-specific pesticide application, yield mapping, or variable-rate irrigation. May use computers to develop or analyze maps or remote sensing images to compare physical topography with data on soils, fertilizer, pests, or weather.
What Job Titles Precision Agriculture Technicians Might Have
- Independent Crop Consultant
- Precision Agriculture Specialist
- Precision Agronomist
- Regional Agronomist
What Precision Agriculture Technicians Do
- Collect information about soil or field attributes, yield data, or field boundaries, using field data recorders and basic geographic information systems (GIS).
- Use geospatial technology to develop soil sampling grids or identify sampling sites for testing characteristics such as nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium content, pH, or micronutrients.
- Demonstrate the applications of geospatial technology, such as GPS, GIS, automatic tractor guidance systems, variable rate chemical input applicators, surveying equipment, or computer mapping software.
- Document and maintain records of precision agriculture information.
- Identify spatial coordinates, using remote sensing and Global Positioning System (GPS) data.
- Apply precision agriculture information to specifically reduce the negative environmental impacts of farming practices.
- Create, layer, and analyze maps showing precision agricultural data, such as crop yields, soil characteristics, input applications, terrain, drainage patterns, or field management history.
- Analyze data from harvester monitors to develop yield maps.
- Install, calibrate, or maintain sensors, mechanical controls, GPS-based vehicle guidance systems, or computer settings.
- Analyze geospatial data to determine agricultural implications of factors such as soil quality, terrain, field productivity, fertilizers, or weather conditions.
- Contact equipment manufacturers for technical assistance, as needed.
- Program farm equipment, such as variable-rate planting equipment or pesticide sprayers, based on input from crop scouting and analysis of field condition variability.
- Draw or read maps, such as soil, contour, or plat maps.
- Prepare reports in graphical or tabular form, summarizing field productivity or profitability.
- Compare crop yield maps with maps of soil test data, chemical application patterns, or other information to develop site-specific crop management plans.
- Recommend best crop varieties or seeding rates for specific field areas, based on analysis of geospatial data.
- Divide agricultural fields into georeferenced zones, based on soil characteristics and production potentials.
- Analyze remote sensing imagery to identify relationships between soil quality, crop canopy densities, light reflectance, and weather history.
- Provide advice on the development or application of better boom-spray technology to limit the overapplication of chemicals and to reduce the migration of chemicals beyond the fields being treated.
- Identify areas in need of pesticide treatment by analyzing geospatial data to determine insect movement and damage patterns.
- Advise farmers on upgrading Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment to take advantage of newly installed advanced satellite technology.
What Precision Agriculture Technicians Should Be Good At
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
What Precision Agriculture Technicians Should Be Interested In
- Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
What Precision Agriculture Technicians Need to Learn
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Food Production - Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
- Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.