Agricultural technologies programs teach people to buy, sell, and fix farm equipment. For example, students may learn to sell or repair special machines or types of computer software. Students learn to plan construction projects and use computer technology. They also learn about irrigation and erosion control.
In the past, when talking about farm machines, people would instantly think of giant machines such as combines and tractors. Today, agricultural technologies include computers and computerized machinery. Like nearly everything else in our country, agriculture has become high tech.
This program's activities all support agriculture as a business. Whether you begin by learning computer technology, diesel mechanics, purchasing, construction management, erosion control, or irrigation, your knowledge in one area provides foundation skills for another. In some specialties, you might set up and maintain computer systems for large agricultural operations. For example, you might use computers to track and run irrigation schedules. In others, you might use computers to keep track of equipment maintenance.
About 120 schools offer programs in agricultural technologies. One or two years of study with internship experience is usually enough formal preparation. This means that you get an associate degree or a certificate.
Generally, it takes four or five years of experience to become fully qualified as a farm equipment mechanic. Because farm machinery is complex, with electronic and hydraulic components, some classroom training is necessary. In addition, dealers and manufacturers often sponsor short intensives in the equipment that they sell or make.
Students who major in agricultural technologies may choose to focus on construction; equipment maintenance, purchasing, or repair; irrigation; or weed and pest control.