Precision Agriculture Technicians

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Soil Fertility Specialist
  • Research Agricultural Engineer
  • Regional Agronomist
  • Precision Farming Specialist
  • Precision Farming Coordinator
  • Precision Crop Manager
  • Precision Agronomist
  • Precision Agriculture Technician
  • Precision Agriculture Specialist
  • Physical Scientist
show all

What They Do

  • Participate in efforts to advance precision agriculture technology, such as developing advanced weed identification or automated spot spraying systems.
  • Advise farmers on upgrading Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment to take advantage of newly installed advanced satellite technology.
  • Identify areas in need of pesticide treatment by analyzing geospatial data to determine insect movement and damage patterns.
  • 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.
  • Analyze remote sensing imagery to identify relationships between soil quality, crop canopy densities, light reflectance, and weather history.
  • Divide agricultural fields into georeferenced zones, based on soil characteristics and production potentials.
  • Recommend best crop varieties or seeding rates for specific field areas, based on analysis of geospatial data.
  • Compare crop yield maps with maps of soil test data, chemical application patterns, or other information to develop site-specific crop management plans.
  • Prepare reports in graphical or tabular form, summarizing field productivity or profitability.
  • Draw or read maps, such as soil, contour, or plat maps.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: IA.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Artistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Working Conditions, but also value Independence and Achievement in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • 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.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Wages

In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $46,490 with most people making between $27,650 and $71,300

Outlook

0.66%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 2,110 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 2,250 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 14 openings due to growth and about 86 replacement openings for approximately 100 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education