Agronomists research factors that affect agricultural production, such as soil quality, plant growth, and weather patterns, and develop customized solutions to help farmers improve crop yields and environmental sustainability. They monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of various agricultural practices and collaborate with other experts in the industry to share knowledge and advance the field.

At a Glance

Imagine walking into a bright yellow field of chest-high canola bordered only by a bright blue summer sky. The afternoon sun is warm on your face as you shield your eyes to take a closer look at this crop. You are an agronomist, and your specialty is canola.

Today, you’re with a local farmer visiting his fields. He’s having a problem with his canola: areas of the field are failing. He's asked you for help in determining why this is happening and for advice on how to ensure this won’t happen next year when he re-seeds the field.

As an agronomist, you bridge the research community that studies crops like canola and the farming community. This means farmers turn to you when their canola begins to fail.

You will spend several hours examining the crop, looking for signs of what is killing the plants. Is it a disease, an insect, a weed, or a problem in the soil?

You carefully note your observations, which you will compare later to scientific journals and reference books. You will also discuss with your peers as you try to pinpoint the cause.

Luckily, you have seen something similar to this case before and suspect the culprit is a disease-specific to this variety of canola.

It’s too late for sections of this crop, but before seeding next spring, you will help this farmer select a different range of rapeseed resistant to this disease.

You will discuss a production package with the farmer that includes variety selection, tillage, seeding rate, optimum seeding date, fertilizer, pest control, and harvest.

You will take all the positive results from canola researchers and turn them into the package best suited for this farmer and his fields.

Job Duties

Job duties can vary from one position to the next, but in general, agronomists are involved in the following activities:

  • Communicate with the research community to learn the latest methods for controlling disease, weeds, and insects.
  • Advise farmers on cropping practices that will improve their economic returns and protect environmental sustainability.
  • Evaluate new crop cultivars and their potential in a grower’s cropping program.
  • Foster the use of best management practices for farming techniques, for example, growing crops and ground-cover plants to minimize soil erosion.
  • Monitor the effects of soil characteristics, water levels, and water drainage on plant growth and implement crop management practices in response to these factors to enhance production.
  • Work with producers to encourage soil testing and plant analysis to determine crop nutrient needs and match fertility programs with those needs.
  • Participate in technology transfer and training activities.
  • Prepare and conduct advisory information sessions and lectures for farmers and other relevant groups.
  • Evaluate crop performance as affected by weather, pests, and management practices, and on occasion, give evidence for insurance purposes.
  • Compile, categorize, calculate, tabulate, audit, or verify information or data.
  • Write computer code to analyze data.
  • Keep up to date with relevant research and apply new knowledge.
  • Analyze information and evaluate results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Work Environment

Agronomists can work in various locations, including offices, research centres, or processing and manufacturing facilities. They can also work in farm fields, ranch pastures, oil or gas sites, pipelines, or wooded areas. They may follow regular office hours but can often be doing fieldwork evenings and weekends. Agronomists’ workloads may vary depending on the season and their specialization.

The office:

  • Doing paperwork and analyzing data for reporting.
  • Communicating on the phone and in meetings with clients, government departments, colleagues, and experts in the field.
  • Researching new technology and new advancements in agriculture.
  • Participating in committees for policy development, regulation development, and research and educational program development.

The field:

  • Inspecting and testing crops and soils and problem-solving with producers.
  • Making presentations to farmers, agriculture businesses, etc., and participating in field tours and training sessions.

Responding to requests from clients

Where to Work

There are several places to find work as an agronomist. They include:

  • Crop consulting and farm management firms
  • Seed or horticulture companies
  • Agricultural chemical or fertilizer companies
  • Federal, provincial/territorial, or municipal government departments
  • Colleges and universities
  • Foreign aid agencies

Search for jobs on the ECO Canada Job Boad

Education and Skills


If you are considering a career as an agronomist, you should have a strong interest in:

  • Science (especially biology and chemistry)
  • Mathematics
  • Business, Administration, Finance, and IT
  • English Language Arts

If you are a post-secondary student considering a career as an agronomist, the following programs are most applicable:

  • Agronomy
  • Agriculture
  • Horticulture
  • Environmental Management
  • Botany
  • Applied Science
  • Social Sciences

The minimum education requirement is a bachelor’s degree, while some employers may prefer a master’s in science. Agronomists must be registered with a provincial regulatory body.

Our Environmental Professional (EP) designation can also help you progress in your chosen environmental career.


Technical Skills

  • Management
  • Familiarity with agriculture and logistics of farm operations
  • Operations and quality control analysis
  • Soil science
  • Territory management
  • Data, analytical, or scientific software (e.g., databases, programming, and CRM software)

Personal and Professional Skills

  • Problem-solving
  • Organization
  • Planning
  • Time management
  • Customer service
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Leadership

Environmental employers seek professionals who combine technical knowledge with personal and professional skills. Watch our free webinar “Essential Not Optional: Skills Needed to Succeed in Canada’s Environmental Industry” or take our Essential Skills courses.

Role Models

Don Wentz

Farming came naturally to me. I was raised on a mixed fourteen hundred and forty acre farm in Alberta. As I grew I began to share in the farm work and became a member of the local 4-H Grain Club. My education was directed toward the development of the practical agricultural skills required to own and operate the family farm. A diploma in agricultural mechanics was the first step. My education continued and I completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science while still being involved with the family farm. A couple of years later I joined Alberta Agriculture working in the area of irrigation management. I enjoy working with farmers. One of the farmers commented to me when I started this position "I hope you stay awhile, I’m getting sick and tired of training you guys”. I stuck with Alberta agriculture and went on to finish my Master's degree in Agriculture. This gave me valuable training in program management techniques that I would use extensively throughout my career. Self-study is a valuable way to learn the information you need to stay on top of changes in the agriculture industry. I read manuals and handbooks as well as Internet based documents. The Alberta Institute of Agrologists is another excellent way to access professional development opportunities and network at conferences and workshops. Part of my work is to give presentations to agricultural groups and if you have to present it, you have to know it. All of these ways help to keep me current in the dynamic field of agriculture. I recently retired from my position at Alberta Agriculture but I still work as a reduced tillage agronomist on a contract basis. There are lots of opportunities out there for skilled people to contribute to the agriculture industry. Equipment companies, for example, want representatives who know agriculture and can speak about their environmentally friendly tillage machinery. Farmers are encouraged to learn about environmental approaches to farming because it is good for the land and economically beneficial overtime. They are able to see increased yields as the soil improves and reduced costs due to less machinery use. The agronomist profession is never repetitious or boring. The outdoors, variety of work tasks and the wonderful people you meet every day contribute to this great occupation. If agronomy appeals to you, get the skills and education required and get in line for a job. There are many private companies looking for people to talk about their environmentally friendly products. Helping the environment is not a hard thing to sell to farmers. Most of my interaction is with farmers and other colleagues. During a typical 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. day I prepare and make presentations, do data processing and write reports. I also need the skills to operate farm machinery, survey, layout research plots and spray herbicides. A key function of my position is as a subject matter specialist speaker at seminars and conferences. Showing farmers environmentally friendly ways of farming is an interesting and enjoyable occupation. Helping farmers to grow alfalfa and grass in saline soil conditions is my greatest accomplishment. I was recognized by the Canadian Society of Agronomy in 2002 with a Distinguished Agronomist Award. The best reward for me though is knowing that my efforts are benefiting the environment and helping to sustain the farming culture I grew up with.

Your Impact

Agronomists are key players in promoting environmental sustainability in agriculture. Their work is centred on advising farmers and agriculture businesses on how to optimize their production practices to minimize environmental impacts while improving crop yields and profitability. Agronomists are involved in various aspects of agricultural production, from soil and crop management to water and pest management, and they use their expertise to develop customized solutions that are tailored to the needs of their clients.

One of the primary ways that agronomists promote environmental sustainability in agriculture is through soil management. They help farmers optimize soil fertility, structure, and nutrient balance to ensure healthy crops and minimize erosion, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Agronomists also advise farmers on practices such as crop rotation, cover cropping, and intercropping, which can improve soil health, reduce pest and disease pressure, and enhance biodiversity on farms.

Water management is another area where agronomists significantly contribute to environmental sustainability. They help farmers optimize irrigation systems, reduce water use, and prevent water pollution by implementing practices such as precision irrigation, mulching, and water-conserving crops. Agronomists also promote integrated pest management (IPM) practices that rely on natural pest control methods, such as crop diversity, biological control agents, and cultural practices, rather than chemical pesticides.

Finally, agronomists help farmers reduce their carbon footprint by optimizing farm energy use, promoting renewable energy sources, and reducing fossil fuel use in farming operations. By promoting sustainable practices that improve soil health, conserve water, reduce waste, and promote biodiversity, agronomists play a crucial role in addressing some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time, such as climate change, soil degradation, and biodiversity loss.

Occupational Classification

Agronomists are classified in the following occupational grouping:

NOC Code: 21112 – Agricultural representatives, consultants and specialists

What is an NOC Code?

The National Occupation Classification (NOC) provides a standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians in the labour market. It gives statisticians, labour market analysts, career counsellors, employers, and individual job seekers a consistent way to collect data and describe and understand the nature of work within different occupations.

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