Employment of Agronomists is expected to grow 9 percent between 2006 and 2016. Past agricultural research has created higher yielding crops, crops with better resistance to pests and plant pathogens, and more effective fertilizers and pesticides. Research is still necessary, however, particularly as insects and diseases continue to adapt to pesticides and as soil fertility and water quality continue to need improvement.
Emerging biotechnologies will play an ever larger role in agricultural research. Scientists will be needed to apply these technologies to the creation of new plant products and other advances. Moreover, increasing demand is expected for biofuels and other agricultural products used in industrial processes. Agronomists will be needed to find ways to increase the output of crops used in these products. Agronomists will also be needed to balance increased agricultural output with protection and preservation of soil, water, and ecosystems. Agronomists encourage the practice of sustainable agriculture by developing and implementing plans to manage pests, crops, soil fertility and erosion, and animal waste in ways that reduce the use of harmful chemicals and do little damage to farms and the natural environment.
Iowa State University Agronomy graduates enter a wide variety of careers. Here are some examples of job titles held by our alumni: