A precision agriculture technician uses technology in a variety of ways to make growing crops more precise. They use data analysis, through many technologies and maps, to improve the efficiency and precision of agricultural growth pertaining to items such as soil, irrigation, fertilization, and pest control. By using the application of precision agriculture, these technicians can help reduce negative impacts of agriculture on the environment.
How to Become a Precision Agriculture Technician
To become a precision agriculture technician, most job positions require a bachelor’s degree. According to O*NET OnLine, almost 60% have a bachelor’s degree with a little over 10% having continued their education to earn a master’s degree. Though most jobs require a bachelor’s, 11% of technicians surveyed held an associate’s degree.
This career field also requires a variety of skills and knowledge that you would gain through experience, on-the-job training, or by attending a trade program at a college. Before becoming a technician, many work in the field for several years in order to receive the job training needed to perform this occupation.
You should have training and knowledge of several specific technologies, to include geographical information systems (GIS), Global Positions System (GPS), map creation software, surveying equipment, automated spot spraying systems, and tractor guidance systems.
Job Description of a Precision Agriculture Technician
These technicians uses technologies such as GIS and GPS to collect and analyze data in order to optimize and/or improve agricultural production. They maintain and install sensors, such as GPS systems for farming vehicles. Precision agriculture is done by analyzing soil samples, determining types of pests and their movements, making more efficient fertilization and irrigation of crops to lesson waste and to produce the best yielding crops for fields.
They analyze and create maps that show the how much each crop is producing. Precision agriculture technicians create soil sample grids that show specific characteristics. These maps and grids allow them to make recommendations as to which crops will have the best productivity in specific fields. They also collect and analyze data, to reduce “the negative impacts of weather” that could effect the yielding of crops. Precision Agriculture Technicians also analyze drainage and topography and this allows for more efficient in irrigation.
Through these analysis, these techs can help the farmer find ways to more accurately spray pesticides in the areas needed and reduce the overuse of chemicals. They use weed identification and inform and/or train farmers in the latest technologies, such as spot spraying systems that allow for more precise use of pesticides.
The precision agriculture technician career is considered a green occupation due to its application of precision agriculture in order to according to onetonline.org “specifically reduce the negative environmental impacts of farming practices.” They should have skills in active listening, critical thinking, decision making, and systems analysis. They should also be proficient with computers and solving problems. They should be knowledgeable on the latest farming technologies.
The American Association of Geographers (opens in a new tab) mentions that those in their career field may also hold the following career titles: crop specialist, nutrient management specialist, precision agriculture department manager, precision agronomist, and precision farming coordinator.
National Center for O*NET Development. 19-4099.02. O*NET OnLine.