Agricultural engineers typically do the following:
- Design agricultural machinery components and equipment, using computer-aided design (CAD) technology
- Test agricultural machinery and equipment to ensure that they perform adequately
- Design food-processing plants and supervise manufacturing operations
- Plan and direct construction of rural electric-power distribution systems
- Design structures to store and process crops
- Design housing and environments to maximize animalsí comfort, health, and productivity
- Provide advice on water quality and issues related to managing pollution, controlling rivers, and protecting and using other water resources
- Design and supervise environmental and land reclamation projects in agriculture and related industries
- Discuss plans with clients, contractors, consultants, and other engineers so that the plans can be evaluated and any necessary changes made
Agricultural engineers apply technological advances to farming. For example, they design farming equipment that uses the Global Positioning System. They help agronomists create biological applications for developing crops with new, sturdier traits. And they help with pollution control at larger farms and with water resource matters. These engineers are also heavily involved in efforts to produce new forms of biomass, including algae, for power generation.
Some engineers specialize in areas such as power systems and machinery design, structural and environmental engineering, and food and bioprocess engineering. Agricultural engineers often work in research and development, production, sales, or management.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition