Agricultural Technicians

Description

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.

Tasks

  • 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.

Knowledge

Philosophy and Theology
Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
Therapy and Counseling
Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

Skills

Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Operations Analysis
Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
Equipment Selection
Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.

Abilities

Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.

Interests

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.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

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.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
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.
Leadership
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Work Values

Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
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.
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.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Lay Titles

Acidity Tester
Agricultural Research Technician
Agricultural Research Technologist
Agricultural Researcher
Agricultural Specialist
Agricultural Technician
Agriculture Research Laboratory Assistant
Agriculture Technician
Agronomy Technician
Bacteriological Testing Coordinator
Biological Aide
Biotechnician
Blood Tester
Cattle Tester
Cotton Program Technician
County Extension Agent
Cow Tester
Culture Media Laboratory Assistant
Extension Associate
Feed Research Aide
Feed Research Technician
Field Service Poultry Technician
Food Science Technician
Fowl Blood Tester
Greenhouse Technician
Insect Control Aide
Laboratory Assistant
Laboratory Technician
Moisture Tester
Pest Management Technical Support Specialist
Plant Control Aide
Poultry Diagnostics Research Specialist
Regulatory Testing Coordinator
Research Associate
Research Technician
Seed Analysis Laboratory Assistant
Seed Analyst
Seed Expert
Seed Laboratory Assistant
Seed Specialist
Seed Tester
Sugarcane Research Technician
Technician
Weed Science Research Technician

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$16.38 hourly, $34,070 annual.
Employment (2008):
18,280 employees