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

  • Agronomist
  • Agronomy Consultant
  • County Extension Agent
  • Crop Specialist
  • Extension Precision Agriculture Specialist
  • GPS Field Data Collector (Global Positioning System Field Data Collector)
  • Nutrient Management Specialist
  • Precision Agriculture Department Manager
  • Precision Agriculture Specialist
  • Precision Agriculture Technician

What They Do

  • Collect information about soil or field attributes, yield data, or field boundaries, using field data recorders and basic geographic information systems (GIS).
  • Create, layer, and analyze maps showing precision agricultural data, such as crop yields, soil characteristics, input applications, terrain, drainage patterns, or field management history.
  • Document and maintain records of precision agriculture information.
  • Compile and analyze geospatial data to determine agricultural implications of factors such as soil quality, terrain, field productivity, fertilizers, and weather conditions.
  • Divide agricultural fields into georeferenced zones, based on soil characteristics and production potentials.
  • Develop soil sampling grids or identify sampling sites, using geospatial technology, for soil testing on characteristics such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium content, pH, and micronutrients.
  • Compare crop yield maps with maps of soil test data, chemical application patterns, or other information to develop site-specific crop management plans.
  • Apply knowledge of government regulations when making agricultural recommendations.
  • Draw or read maps, such as soil, contour, or plat maps.
  • Recommend best crop varieties or seeding rates for specific field areas, based on analysis of geospatial data.

Interests

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

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Realistic interests, but also prefer Investigative and Conventional 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

  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • 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.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • 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.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Education Required

Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

LMI Region

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in New Jersey was $53,180 with most people making between $33,710 and $71,890

Outlook

During 2008, this occupation employed approximately 1,450 people in New Jersey. It is projected that there will be 1,500 employed in 2018.

This occupation will have approximately 70 job openings annually.