Summary Report for:
19-4099.02 - Precision Agriculture Technicians
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.
Sample of reported job titles: Crop Specialist, Nutrient Management Specialist, Precision Agriculture Department Manager, Precision Agronomist, Precision Farming Coordinator
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings
- 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.
- Process and analyze data from harvester monitors to develop yield maps.
- Demonstrate the uses and applications of geospatial technology, such as Global Positioning System (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), automatic tractor guidance systems, variable rate chemical input applicators, surveying equipment, and computer mapping software.
- Program farm equipment, such as variable-rate planting equipment or pesticide sprayers, based on input from crop scouting and analysis of field condition variability.
- Analyze remote sensing imagery to identify relationships between soil quality, crop canopy densities, light reflectance, and weather history.
- Identify spatial coordinates, using remote sensing and Global Positioning System (GPS) data.
- Prepare reports summarizing field productivity and profitability in graphical or tabular form.
- Install, calibrate, or maintain sensors, mechanical controls, GPS-based vehicle guidance systems, or computer settings.
- Identify areas in need of pesticide treatment by analyzing geospatial data to determine insect movement and damage patterns.
- Contact equipment manufacturers for technical assistance, as needed.
- Advise farmers on upgrading Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment to take advantage of newly installed advanced satellite technology.
- Apply precision agriculture information to specifically reduce the negative environmental impacts of farming practices.
- Participate in efforts to advance precision agriculture technology, such as developing advanced weed identification or automated spot spraying systems.
- Provide advice on the development or application of better boomspray technology to limit the overapplication of chemicals and to reduce the migration of chemicals to areas other than the fields being treated.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Complex controlling devices — Automatic land leveling systems; Autosteering systems; Lightbar guidance systems
- Conductivity meters — Soil electrical conductivity measurement devices
- Desktop computers
- Fertilizer spreaders or distributors — Fertilizer spreading equipment
- Flow sensors — Yield monitor systems
- Global positioning system GPS receiver — Global positioning system GPS receivers
- Moisture meters — Moisture monitors
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Penetrometers — Tractor mounted soil probes
- Personal computers
- Portable data input terminals — Field personal computers PC
- Seed drills
- Seeder attachment — Air clutches
- Soil core sampling apparatus — Soil samplers
- Sprayers — Automatic boom control systems; Sprayer application equipment; Variable rate applicators
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — AGCO GTA Software Suite; Farm Works Site Pro; MapShots EASi Suite; SST Development Group SSToolbox
- Data base user interface and query software — Ag Leader Technology SMS Advanced; John Deere Apex Farm Management; Microsoft Access; Novariant AutoFarm AF Viewer
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Map creation software — ESRI ArcGIS software; ESRI ArcView; GeoAgro GIS; Trimble AgGPS MultiPlane (see all 6 examples)
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
- 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.
- Food Production — Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- 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.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- 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.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
Detailed Work Activities
- Record research or operational data.
- Prepare operational reports.
- Analyze geological or geographical data.
- Calibrate scientific or technical equipment.
- Maintain laboratory or technical equipment.
- Collect geographical or geological field data.
- Analyze environmental data.
- Advise others on matters of public policy.
- Advise others on the development or use of new technologies.
- Prepare maps.
- Conduct climatological research.
- Apply knowledge or research findings to address environmental problems.
- Develop agricultural methods.
- Research crop management methods.
- Electronic Mail — 68% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 50% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 50% responded “Some freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 57% responded “Some freedom.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 39% responded “Important results.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 46% responded “Very important.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 59% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 57% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 39% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 46% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 48% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Deal With External Customers — 43% responded “Very important.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 36% responded “Very important.”
- Time Pressure — 50% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- In an Open Vehicle or Equipment — 50% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 50% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Work Schedules — 50% responded “Irregular (changes with weather conditions, production demands, or contract duration).”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 46% responded “High responsibility.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 43% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 39% responded “Very important.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 50% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 43% responded “Very important.”
- Outdoors, Under Cover — 37% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 50% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 64% responded “About half the time.”
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: RIC
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wages data collected from Life, Physical, and Social Science Technicians, All Other.
Employment data collected from Life, Physical, and Social Science Technicians, All Other.
Industry data collected from Life, Physical, and Social Science Technicians, All Other.
|Median wages (2014)||$21.47 hourly, $44,650 annual|
|Employment (2012)||64,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Average (8% to 14%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||31,600|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.