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Agricultural engineering

 

Agricultural engineering is the engineering of agricultural production and processing. Agricultural engineering combines the disciplines of mechanical, civil, electrical, Food science and chemical engineering principles with a knowledge of agricultural principles according to technological principles. A key goal of this discipline is to improve the efficacy and sustainability of agricultural practices.

With the rise of tractors and machines in the industrial revolution, a new age in Agricultural Engineering began. Over the course of the industrial revolution, mechanical harvesters and planters would replace field hands in most of the food and cash crop industries. In the 20th century, with the rise in reliable engines in airplanes, cropdusters were implemented to disperse pesticides. The introduction of these engineering concepts into the field of agriculture allowed for an enormous boost in the productivity of crops, dubbed a "second agricultural revolution".

Agricultural engineers may perform tasks such as planning, supervising and managing the building of dairy effluent schemes, irrigation, drainage, flood water control systems, performing environmental impact assessments, agricultural product processing and interpret research results and implement relevant practices. A large percentage of agricultural engineers work in academia or for government agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture or state agricultural extension services. Some are consultants, employed by private engineering firms, while others work in industry, for manufacturers of agricultural machinery, equipment, processing technology, and structures for housing livestock and storing crops. Agricultural engineers work in production, sales, management, research and development, or applied science.

The American Society of Agricultural Engineers, now known as the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), was founded in 1907. It is a leading organization in the Agricultural Engineering field. The ASABE provides safety and regulatory standards for the agricultural industry. These standards and regulations are developed on an international scale and include topics on fertilizers, soil conditions, fisheries, biofuels, biogas, feed machinery, tractors, and machinery.

Many universities have graduate programs dedicated to the study of agricultural engineering and bioengineering. These programs are important to the continuation of education and advancement in the field.