Field of Study: Agricultural Engineering
Agricultural engineering programs teach people ways to grow and produce food crops and other plants. Students learn about equipment and methods used to grow crops. They also learn ways to assess and improve food crop production.
Square tomatoes. . . Peanut butter slices wrapped in plastic. . . Automobile fuel made from plants. . . These are just a few of the unusual products that agricultural engineers have created in the past century. However, agricultural engineers develop much more useful products as well.
Farm products undergo many processes before they reach consumers. In agricultural engineering, you study problems related to these various processes. You learn how to apply principles of science and math to solving such problems. For example, you learn how to improve irrigation and farming tools so that crops can grow better. You study the various ways to store and ship farm products. You learn how to solve problems related to food and fiber processing and the extraction of chemicals.
You test new solutions in the laboratory or as simulations on computers. You also learn how to field-test them on the farm or in the factory. You learn how to evaluate data and present it to the people who will make decisions.
A bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering is a good preparation for this career. Usually it takes four or perhaps five years of full-time study beyond high school. About 55 colleges in the U.S. offer this program. You may also choose to take a five-year program that combines a bachelor's and master's degree.
In addition, traditional master's and doctorate degrees are offered in this field. In general, master's degrees take two years to complete, and doctorate degrees take another three to five.