Agricultural Technician

Agricultural technicians assist the agriculturists in their work and help with the collection of information. They also give practical advice and information to the farming industry.


Agricultural technicians assist agriculturists and farmers with a variety of tasks related to different aspects of agriculture. These include planning, research and the application of agricultural knowledge. They help farmers to make the best use of their land without damaging it and may suggest terracing land in the event of erosion or growing hedges to act as windbreaks.

They set up or maintain laboratory equipment such as spectrometers, nitrogen determination apparatus, air samplers, centrifuges and pH meters to perform tests, and collect samples from crops or animals so testing can be performed.  They prepare specimens or record data to assist scientists in biology or related life science experiments, and examine animals and specimens to determine the presence of diseases or other problems. They maintain or repair agricultural facilities, equipment or tools to ensure operational readiness, safety and cleanliness.

They serve as technical advisers on soil and water conservation committees, and prepare data summaries, reports or analyses that include the results, charts or graphs to document research findings and results. They assist veterinary surgeons and farmers in the treatment of diseases and the general handling of animals. They also instruct on the classification and grading of skins, wool and mohair.

There are three main kinds of agricultural technicians:

Agricultural resource technicians: they work together with the agricultural resource officer and are involved in the classification, description and plotting of a region’s natural resources.

Agricultural extension technicians: they assist the agricultural extension officer, collecting agricultural information to determine the needs for agricultural extension. This information is then used to plan agricultural extension activities. They are also involved in the classification of agricultural resources and the planning of farms. They advise farmers on specific farming methods.

Agricultural research technicians: they help the agricultural researcher with their research but can also undertake their own research project in one of the following fields: Botany, Agricultural Microbiology, Analytical Chemistry, Zoology, Veterinary Science, Food Technology, Agricultural Meteorology and Soil Science.

Some engineering technicians, namely civil, mechanical, electrical / electronic and civil agricultural engineering technicians, are also involved in the agricultural industry. They use their knowledge of engineering to solve problems with regard to irrigation schemes, soil conservation, agricultural structures, agricultural mechanisation and the use of electronics and electricity.


Employment

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
  • Directorate of Agricultural Development
  • Department of Constitutional Development
  • veterinary and botanical laboratories
  • various research stations
  • self-employment, as consultant to farmers and agricultural co-operations


Getting Started

  • visit a farm and ask to observe the farmer at work
  • read farmer magazines to see whether you are really interested in agriculture
  • make an appointment with an agricultural technician and ask to observe them at work


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