Agricultural and Biological Engineering is the discipline of engineering that applies engineering principles and the fundamental concepts of biology to agricultural and biological systems and tools, ranging in scale from molecular to ecosystem level, for the safe, efficient and environmentally sensitive production, processing, and management of agricultural, biological, food, and natural resources systems.
--ASABE Board of Trustees, Agricultural and Biological Engineering within ASABE - Definition (see full document)
In the early twentieth century, even in industrialized countries, production of the world's food supply required the labor of at least half the population. Today, thanks in large part to advancements made by biological and agricultural engineers, developed countries can accomplish this using only a slim 2% of their populations. And engineering efforts have not been limited to food production: fiber, timber, and energy products, as well as the technologies, equipment, and precious natural resources required to produce them, have all benefited from the talents and vision of biological and agricultural engineers.
Now, new challenges present themselves. As world population swells, more food, energy, and goods are required. But our limited natural resources demand that we produce more with less, that higher productivity does not degrade our environment, and that we search for new ways to use agricultural products, byproducts, and wastes. Biological and agricultural engineers are responding with viable, environmentally sustainable solutions, the success of which is expanding career opportunities in renewable energy, food safety, bioprocesses and more.
Just What is Biological and Agricultural Engineering?
Biological and agricultural engineers ensure that we have the necessities of life: safe and plentiful food to eat, pure water to drink, clean fuel and energy sources, and a safe, healthy environment in which to live. More specifically, biological and agricultural engineering (BAE) is the application of engineering principles to any process associated with producing agriculturally based goods and management of our natural resources.
Biological and agricultural engineers. . .
- Devise practical, efficient solutions for producing, storing, transporting, processing, and packaging agricultural products
- Solve problems related to systems, processes, and machines that interact with humans, plants, animals, microorganisms, and biological materials.
- Develop solutions for responsible, alternative uses of agricultural products, byproducts and wastes and of our natural resources - soil, water, air, and energy.
And they do all this with a constant eye toward improved protection of people, animals, and the environment. Meet a few of these amazing individuals. Learn about careers.
Who Employs Biological and Agricultural Engineers?
Archer Daniels Midland
Briggs & Stratton
Florida Light & Power
Ford Motor Co
Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance
M & M Mars
USDA Agricultural Research Service
USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
US Department of Energy
US Environmental Protection Agency
Is this the career for you? Learn more.