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Develop techniques for improving crop production.

What does an Agronomist do?

Agronomy is the science concerned with creating new products out of plants, such as textiles, animal feed, and fuel. Did you ever see the movie “Back to the Future”? Doc may have been a mad scientist, but when he fueled the DeLorean with banana peels, he was an agronomist.

Agronomy encompasses a vast range of sciences, including biology, chemistry, ecology, earth science, and genetics. With so many options, agronomists typically specialize in one product or industry.

One common job involves working with farmers to produce better yields. As an agronomist you might specialize in crop rotation, irrigation, soil erosion, or drainage. In any of these areas, you perform research, develop new techniques, and advise farmers on your findings.

Plant breeding is another big field for agronomists. In this position, you break down the genetic components of plants in order to isolate specific traits. Then you create blends that solve problems, such as corn that requires less water, disease-resistant sprouts, or wheat that grows faster without sacrificing nutritional value. And while we’re discussing nutrition, you often work to genetically alter existing products into more nutrient-packed foods.

Other jobs in agronomy involve finding alternative uses for plants, studying the impact of agriculture on the environment, engineering techniques to turn food into energy, and discovering new methods of weed and pest control. Agronomists often work for the government (such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture), for seed companies, or as independent consultants.