Agriculture science is a vast field that covers broad spectrum of farming activities. Out of these, agronomy can be regarded as the ‘true’ agriculture. This is because of what a layman perceives from the word ‘agronomy’ and its application at the field level. This article will provide a brief introduction of agronomy along with scope of career in agronomy.
To get more deep insight of what is agronomy? Let’s do the word analysis of the term agronomy.
Agronomy is derived from a Greek word “Agro’ meaning field and “Nomo” meaning management. It is quite understandable now basically what agronomy is? For a new entrant in the field of agriculture science, agronomy is that part of science that deals with smart and integrated management of farming activities by following holistic approach to achieve highest production and yield.
In agronomy we deal with the practices & principles of water, soil & crop management and it focuses on the relation of plants with the soil and climate. It covers all aspects of farming like sowing, irrigation, soil, seed, fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide, weeding, harvesting, post-harvest treatment, packaging and all other crop management practices with the aim to increase productivity and yield of farm crops.
It should now be cleared that agronomy is itself a vast field of knowledge. Sometimes agronomy is confused with horticulture, another branch of agriculture science, due to many similarities. However one should know that if he/she needs literature in cereal crops, then agronomy books should be consulted. However, still there are certain crops that can confuse a layman or freshly enrolled graduate. For example, corn is an agronomic crop, however, sweet or young corn is also considered as horticultural crop. Similarly, if pineapple is grown for fruit purpose, then it is horticulture crop while if it is cultivated for fiber purpose, then it is an agronomic crop.
In this scenario, there should be mark difference between agronomic and horticultural crops. Usual way of classification depends on the area of cultivation. In agronomy, crops are cultivated on vast lands while horticulture is usually concern with the cultivation in gardens and orchards which are smaller is size. However, still there are disagreements over this approach. Few other approaches to classify these two are; in agronomic crops, the consumers are both humans and animals, while in horticulture, the consumers are human. Agronomic crops are harvested usually at maturity and horticulture crops are harvested at various stages. There is high aesthetic sense attached to horticultural crops as compare to agronomic crops. Also management practices are intensive in case of horticulture crops while extensive in agronomic crops.
Major Concern of an Agronomist
The agronomist, one who studies and have expertise in agronomy, has concerned with the restoration and conservation of soil fertility, use of optimal seed rate and preparation of seedbeds to enhance productivity, manage time and dates of sowing and harvesting of crops as per climatic conditions, test new varieties in fields, conservation of soil moisture, management of weeds are and all other agronomic practices that make the finite land and water resources we have in hand, more productive.
Career in Agronomy
The role of an agronomist is increasing; varying and becoming challenging as farming is now facing multidimensional challenges in the 21st century. Agronomy as a field is seeking skilled, passionate and hardworking job seekers to make it an exciting career with huge opportunities nationally and globally.
Like i said earlier, agronomy is a vast field than any other branch of agriculture. Job prospective is also wide. The condition is only one. You should be passionate to learn, use out of the box approach in the field, ready to accept innovation and advancement and incorporate all these factors in you as your skills.
After acquiring a professional degree in agronomy, the graduate has two choices to avail. Either he can start his own business and becomes an entrepreneur or get hired by government institutions or private giants, corporations etc.
Business Career in Agronomy
Like many other business, this business does not require large investment. You can be a consultant to farmer or a farming community. Large farmers always require expertise of a qualified agronomist to look after their business by providing services.
An agronomist can start an import export business of certified seeds, fertilizer, pesticides etc. He can become a wholesale distributor or can be a retailer of specific products. It is better to create a specific niche to deal in. This means, it is good to deal in limited products like seed or fertilizer rather than involving and expanding the business at once.
Another opportunity is to become distributor of an agronomic product. Many multinational companies seek expertise of agronomist to sale their products. An agronomist is in a good position to market the product by convincing the customer logically and scientifically.
Job Career in Agronomy
In the developing countries, where agriculture has central position in the economic structure, agronomists have bright scope in government jobs as well as in private sector. A graduate holding 4 years bachelor degree in agronomy gets fair chance to get hire. The major options are research, teaching and on-farm jobs. In research, they can experiment with new verities in labs to get better yield and improve quality. In teaching, colleges and universities hire agronomists. On-farm duties include experimenting new farming practices for better management. The salaries are competitive especially in private sector.
International Scope for an Agronomist
International scope for an agronomist is bright. In the Middle-Eastern countries, the demand of agronomists is on boom. They offer handsome salaries. Besides earning a good living, a benefit of working in Middle-Eastern countries is the scope of learning, an agronomist gets hand on. They have monetary resources, so these countries are ready to experiment on new ideas to have sustainable food supply. Other international job avenues include Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO), World Food Program (WFP), United Nations Development Program (UNDP) etc.
According to US Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS), an agronomist was earning $49,840 annually in 2016. Also according to US BLS, there is a projection of 5% increase jobs for agriculturists in US in the coming decade. For other countries, the projection is somewhat same as expansion and contraction in US economy has global impact. So international scope for an agronomist is not going to face recession in near future.
Last but not the least; being agronomist, you have a safe and sustainable profession waiting for you. The demand of food is constant or increasing with population explosion. In my opinion, agronomists have always a better outlook for jobs than other fields of agriculture.
Cite this Article in APA Style as:
[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, August 20). Introduction and Career in Agronomy [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/08/20/introduction-and-career-in-agronomy/ [/box]