Job Responsibilities of an Agronomist
The job responsibilities of an agronomist are much diversified. In a broader spectrum, their chief responsibility is agriculture research. In other words, an agronomist studies soil, water, plant kingdom and contributes to better and increased food supply to people.
Ever since its emergence, the concept of agronomy has been evolving and encompasses vast areas like the study of crops and the cropping system, weed science, seed science, the economics and engineering of agriculture, nutrition and soil conservation. All areas combined contribute to the growth of conditions that lead to the maximized production of crops.
Agronomists are specialists who are aware that farming may not always be successful despite being given optimum growing conditions. Factors like lack of water supply, dry farming land and infertile soil can hamper agricultural production. Accordingly, an agronomist is responsible for developing habitat-specific agricultural techniques to promote the growth of agriculture even in areas with extreme weather conditions.
Agronomists also concentrate on growing plants without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Some agronomists confine themselves to laboratories carrying out experiments with different pesticides and fertilizers for the purpose of testing on plants.
Some agronomists advise the farmers on agricultural techniques and ways for improvement, based on their own research and studies. Thus, agronomists function as consultants sharing their expertise in bringing about agriculture development and proper soil management for maximum crop growth potential. In addition to advising farmers, agronomists also render assistance to urban planners and designers who need help in matters of land use and soil management.
When it comes to the skill set of agronomists, it is important to have an interest in working with soil, plants and agriculture in general. In addition, agronomists must possess strong communication skills both in terms of speaking and listening to others. A desire to learn and an equivalent urge to contribute to the cause of agriculture research and production can take the agriculture industry to greater heights of success.
Considering the future of agriculture industry, it is imperative for agronomists to have excellent research skills. The farmers are constantly challenged by ongoing technological advancements and hence fail to understand the underlying problems with not having improved technology. Agronomists bridge this gap with their investigative skills and develop new methods of translating the technological findings into agricultural practices. Thus, analytical thinking is another skill an agronomist should have. Last, but not the least, an agronomist should be a skillful team player. Agronomists require working in teams of people who specialize in different areas.
Needless to say, one must pursue the discipline of agriculture in order to be an agronomist. A natural inclination towards science is imperative. An agronomist must have a strong command in mathematics as well. In addition, agronomists need to know various disciplines related to crops such as genetics, biochemistry, plant physiology, entomology and soil fertility to name a few. Agronomists must have a Master's degree in agriculture, forestry, biology, environmental or earth sciences specializing in soil science.
Based on skills and experience, the salary structure varies. Salary increases take place with additional responsibilities and academic degrees. While at the entry level, an agronomist might be paid approximately $28,750. The average salary can be as high as $48,670. It must also be noted that an agronomist can get a maximum salary of $85,460.
Keeping in mind worldwide soil erosion and destruction, the role of agronomists is becoming all the more important in the preservation of the earth and its environment. Along with the farmers, technology, scientists and agronomists can ensure a potent cure for soil destruction, thus making the agriculture industry prosper in leaps and bounds! The field is expected to grow since all people need food in order to survive. Farmers need new methods and information to grow crops more efficiently and fulfill demand for fresh food.