What do Agricultural Technicians do?

Set up or maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals. Prepare specimens or record data to assist scientists in biology or related life science experiments.

  • Receive and prepare laboratory samples for analysis, following proper protocols to ensure that they will be stored, prepared, and disposed of efficiently and effectively.
  • Record data pertaining to experimentation, research, or animal care.
  • Plant seeds in specified areas, and count the resulting plants to determine the percentage of seeds that germinated.
  • Collect samples from crops or animals so testing can be performed.
  • Measure or weigh ingredients used in testing or for purposes such as animal feed.
  • Prepare data summaries, reports, or analyses that include results, charts, or graphs to document research findings and results.
  • Set up laboratory or field equipment, and prepare sites for testing.
  • Operate laboratory equipment such as spectrometers, nitrogen determination apparatus, air samplers, centrifuges, and potential hydrogen (pH) meters to perform tests.
  • Adjust testing equipment, and prepare culture media, following standard procedures.
  • Examine animals and specimens to determine the presence of diseases or other problems.
  • Perform general nursery duties, such as propagating standard varieties of plant materials, collecting and germinating seeds, maintaining cuttings of plants, or controlling environmental conditions.
  • Perform crop production duties, such as tilling, hoeing, pruning, weeding, or harvesting crops.
  • Maintain or repair agricultural facilities, equipment, or tools to ensure operational readiness, safety, and cleanliness.
  • Supervise or train agricultural technicians or farm laborers.
  • Operate farm machinery, including tractors, plows, mowers, combines, balers, sprayers, earthmoving equipment, or trucks.
  • Supervise pest or weed control operations including locating and identifying pests or weeds, selecting chemicals and application methods, scheduling application, and training operators.
  • Measure and mark plot areas, and plow, disc, level, and otherwise prepare land for cultivated crops, orchards and vineyards.
  • Transplant trees, vegetables, or horticultural plants.
  • Conduct insect or plant disease surveys.
  • Devise cultural methods or environmental controls for plants for which guidelines are sketchy or nonexistent.
  • Prepare or present agricultural demonstrations.
  • Respond to inquiries and requests from the public that do not require specialized scientific knowledge or expertise.
  • Assess comparative soil erosion from various planting or tillage systems, such as conservation tillage with mulch or ridge till systems, no-till systems, or conventional tillage systems with or without moldboard plows.
  • Conduct studies of nitrogen or alternative fertilizer application methods, quantities, or timing to ensure satisfaction of crop needs and minimization of leaching, runoff, or denitrification.
  • Record environmental data from field samples of soil, air, water, or pests to monitor the effectiveness of integrated pest management (IPM) practices.

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Necessary Skills

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking
  • Writing
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Monitoring

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