Agricultural engineers lead the development of sustainable agricultural systems and food production by applying engineering principles, designs, and technologies to improve food security, protect the environment, and sustain life.
We are faced with many challenges in producing sufficient high-quality food to feed a growing world population while sustaining our natural resources. Agricultural engineers are uniquely equipped to address these challenges with their comprehensive knowledge of fundamental engineering principles, understanding of agriculture, and critical and innovative thinking. Students can further specialize their degree through one of three tracks: machinery systems; soil and water; or structures and facilities. Students in agricultural engineering apply knowledge and skills from other engineering fields, such as electrical, mechanical, civil engineering, and computer science to agriculture to improve food production, protect the environment, and sustain life.
Soil and Water
Students who focus on soil and water study drainage, irrigation, surface water and watertable control, agricultural constructed wetlands, effective and efficient water use, water quality, pollution abatement, and the enhancement of the environment. You will also learn about soil-water-plant relationships, and water quality and quantity in crop and livestock systems. Students who focus in this area are hired by municipalities, construction companies, petroleum and chemical companies, agricultural consulting firms, and government agencies.
Structures and Facilities
Students interested in the design and development of structures and related equipment for plant, animal, and biomass production learn to design and analyze energy- efficient and environmental control systems. Students study computer-controlled environments, irrigation systems, and solar energy applications. Agricultural engineers who focus on this area design, manufacture, and construct agricultural facilities.
In this area, students learn to design machinery to increase agricultural production with less labor and energy, while emphasizing safety and environmental benefits. Students study mechanical systems for producing crops, material handling and transportation, precision agriculture, GPS/GIS applications, computerized controls, lasers, digital imaging, and robotics. Students who focus in this area are highly versatile, working for agricultural equipment companies and non-agricultural industries involving machine design and engineering skills for mechanical applications.