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Agricultural/Food Scientist III


Senior agricultural/food scientist.  Works to ensure that agricultural establishments are productive and food is safe.  Works under general supervision.  Relies on significant experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals.  Defines goals for a given research project in conjunction with faculty and/or other staff.  A wide degree of creativity and latitude is expected.  Very familiar with a variety of the field’s concepts, practices, and procedures.  Analyzes existing methodologies, formulates hypotheses, modifies existing procedures, and develops novel procedures for biological and/or other supporting scientific disciplines.  Performs a variety of complicated tasks.  Typically reports to a supervisor or manager.  May coordinate, supervise, manage, and/or train others.  Spends less than 80% of work time on supervisory/managerial duties.

Animal Scientists.  Conduct research in the genetics, nutrition, reproduction, growth, and development of domestic farm animals.

Food Scientists & Technologists.  Use chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, sugar, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, preserve, store, and distribute food.

Soil & Plant Scientists.  Conduct research in breeding, physiology, production, yield, and management of crops and agricultural plants or trees, shrubs, and nursery stock, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, biological, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth.  May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.

Examples of Work

Job functions are specific duties that would be included in the essential functions of the job description.  These functions are not all-inclusive nor do they cover the full extent of the duties performed.

  • Study nutritional requirements of animals and nutritive values of animal feed materials
  • Study effects of management practices, processing methods, feed, or environmental conditions on quality and quantity of animal products, such as eggs and milk
  • Study the structure and composition of food, the changes foods undergo in storage and processing, and methods to improve aspects of foods, such as chemical composition, flavor, color, texture, nutritional value, and convenience
  • Study soil characteristics to classify soils on the basis of factors such as geographic location, landscape position, or soil properties
  • Identify or classify species of insects or allied forms; study insect distribution or habitat and recommend methods to prevent importation or spread of injurious species
  • Study ways to improve agricultural sustainability, such as the use of new methods of composting
  • Conduct research concerning animal nutrition, breeding, or management to improve products or processes; research and control animal selection and breeding practices to increase production efficiency and improve animal quality; determine genetic composition of animal populations and heritability of traits using principles of genetics; crossbreed animals with existing strains or cross strains to obtain new combinations of desirable characteristics
  • Conduct experiments to develop new or improved varieties of field crops, focusing on characteristics such as yield, quality, disease resistance, nutritional value, or adaptation to specific soils or climates
  • Conduct experiments investigating how soil forms, changes, or interacts with land-based ecosystems or living organisms; investigate responses of soils to specific management practices to determine the use capabilities of soils and the effects of alternative practices on soil productivity and the environment; investigate soil problems or poor water quality to determine sources and effects; perform chemical analyses of the microorganism content of soils to determine microbial reactions or chemical mineralogical relationships to plant growth
  • Conduct research to determine best methods of planting, spraying, cultivating, harvesting, storing, processing, or transporting horticultural products
  • Conduct experiments regarding causes of bee diseases or factors affecting yields of nectar or pollen
  • Conduct research into the use of plant species as green fuels or in the production of green fuels; research technical requirements or environmental impacts of urban green spaces, such as green roof installations
  • Inspect food processing areas to ensure compliance with government regulations and standards for sanitation, safety, quality, and waste management standards; evaluate food processing and storage operations and assist in the development of quality assurance programs for such operations
  • Check raw ingredients for maturity or stability for processing and finished products for safety, quality, and nutritional value
  • Test new products for flavor, texture, color, nutritional content, and adherence to government and industry standards
  • Search for substitutes for harmful or undesirable additives, such as nitrites.
  • Confer with process engineers, plant operators, flavor experts, and packaging and marketing specialists to resolve problems in product development
  • Consult with engineers or other technical personnel working on construction projects about the effects of soil problems and possible solutions to these problems
  • Stay up-to-date on new regulations and current events by reviewing scientific literature
  • Develop improved practices in feeding, housing, sanitation, or parasite and disease control of animals
  • Develop food standards and production specifications, safety and sanitary regulations, and waste management and water supply specifications
  • Develop new or improved ways of preserving, processing, packaging, storing, and delivering foods, using knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences
  • Develop new food items for production, based on consumer feedback
  • Develop methods of conserving or managing soil that can be applied by farmers or forestry companies
  • Develop new, improved, or  environmentally safe methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests
  • Develop improved measurement techniques, soil conservation methods, soil sampling devices, or related technology
  • Develop ways of altering soils to suit different types of plants
  • Communicate research findings or project results to the scientific community, other professionals, producers, and the public; demonstrate products to clients
  • Teach related courses, seminars, or workshops
  • Provide advice regarding the development of regulatory standards for land reclamation or soil conservation
  • Advise producers about improved products and techniques that could enhance their animal production efforts
  • Provide information or recommendations to farmers or other landowners regarding ways in which they can best use land, promote plant growth, or avoid or correct problems such as erosion
  • Survey undisturbed or disturbed lands for classification, inventory, mapping, environmental impact assessments, environmental protection planning, conservation planning, or reclamation planning
  • Identify degraded or contaminated soils and develop plans to improve their chemical, biological, or physical characteristics
  • Plan or supervise land conservation or reclamation programs for industrial development projects or waste management programs for composting or farming

Education and Experience

Doctoral degree in agricultural science, biology, or a closely related field and two years of experience in the field or a related area; or master’s degree in agricultural science, biology, or a closely related field and five years of experience in the field or in a related area; or bachelor’s degree in agricultural science, biology, or a closely related field and seven years of experience in the field or in a related area.

Licensure and Certification



This position may have supervisory responsibility.


To see common career pathways for each position at the University of Florida please visit the Career Paths section of the UFHR website.