With a growing world population, the task of feeding everyone on the planet is getting bigger every day. Key to maintaining the nation’s food supply— agricultural and food scientists research ways to improve agricultural production and food products, while keeping conditions healthy and sustainable on farms, production facilities, and in the soil. Animal scientists research ways to improve the quality and productivity of farm animals for food production, through lowering animal death rates, increasing growth rates, and upgrading their environments. Food scientists and technologists study the basic elements of food. They analyze nutritional content, discover food sources, and develop ways to make processed foods safe and nutritious. Many create new food products, and research ideas to preserve and package food. Soil scientists examine the composition of soil, how it affects plant or crop growth, and how different soil treatments affect crop productivity. Plant scientists develop improvements to crop yields and ways to enhance plant production, including controlling weeds and pests. Agricultural and food scientists work in colleges and universities, food production companies, and in scientific research and development. They divide their time between laboratories, offices, and—when needed— visits to farms and processing plants. Work hours are typically full time, with standard hours. Agricultural and food scientists need at least a bachelor’s degree in their field, or a related science or engineering major. Many pursue graduate degrees.
A program that focuses on application of microbiological theory and methods to the study of the organismic properties of soils, soil-plant and soil-animal interactions, and the biological components and effects of soil management strategies. Includes instruction in microbiology and related biological sciences, applicable animal and plant sciences, soil chemistry and physics as related to biological characteristics, and environmental science.