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Building Knowledge for Contemporary Agriculture

Professions and Science

Many professions and many scientific disciplines are required to make the best possible use of the agri-resource base.

If Canadians – and our export markets – are to be able to derive food, bio-products such as renewable fuels and bio-materials, and environmental goods and services from agriculture, people with professional expertise and science from a broad array of disciplines are urgently needed – from agrologists, bioengineers, crop protection scientists to zoonotic disease specialists.  They may be soil or animal scientists, agronomists, food scientists, economists, geographers, farmers, geneticists, engineers, health professionals, public policy analysts, government regulators or business managers or owners.  They may work in government, business, not-for-profits or academia.  Collectively, they invest their intellectual capital to satisfy individual and societal demands of contemporary agriculture, for example from improving yields to discovering and extracting new value streams from agri-based products.

They all share a common science-based concern on how to increase the sustainable output from the agri-resource base and how to ensure that the end-products derived from that resource meet consumer and societal needs. Now and into the future.  Goods and services that are green, safe, and healthy. Products that make our lives richer.

This page will provide a growing inventory of the sciences and professions that make possible the profitable and sustainable use of the agri-resource base for food, fuel, fibre, pharmaceuticals and environmental goods and services. This is the intellectual capital without which we cannot make the best use of the agri-resource base upon which we and future generations rely.

  • Agricultural Economics

    Agricultural Economics is the science and art required to identify, define, and analyze economic problems affecting the performance of the industry sectors that rely upon the agri-resource base for feedstocks (i.e. food, fibre, fuel and other agri-based bio-products and services including environmental goods and services.) Agricultual economics is applied, at both the micro and macro levels, to research, analysis and decision-making in academia, industry, and government. The discipline of agricultural economics (including, among other areas of specialty, agricultural marketing and trade, agricultural policy, agribusiness management, agricultural development, and resource economics) is necessary for government, business and academe to contribute to the efficient, sustainable and profitable use of the agri-resource base for the benefit of this and future generations.

    Resource links:
    Canadian Agricultural Economics Society

  • Agrology

    Professional Agrologists choose a variety of career paths. They work in research as scientists or lab technologists, in education as professors and trainers, in industry consulting and sales positions, with financial institutions as bank managers, credit advisors or market analysts, as farmers, and even as politicians.

    The Profession of Agrology is regulated in Canada by provincial legislation. Each provincial institute of agrologists, and l’ordre des agronomes du Québec, are charged with regulating the profession of agrology. The legislation governing agrology in Canada varies from province to province and each institute has their own membership criteria, fees and standards.

    For information about the specific requirements in each province please refer to the appropriate provincial institute of agrology:

    Alberta Institute of Agrologists
    British Columbia Institute of Agrologists
    Manitoba Institute of Agrologists
    Newfoundland and Labrador Institute of Agrologists
    New Brunswick Institute of Agrologists
    Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists
    Ontario Institute of Agrologists
    Prince Edward Island Institute of Agrologists
    L’Order des agronomes du Québec
    Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists

  • Agronomy

    The science of agronomy describes the input-output relationships that pertain to crop management. Agronomy examines how to use natural resources efficiently, sustainably and profitably to produce food, feed, fibre and fuel. Agronomy has a focus on crops such as grains, forages and energy crops and environmental stewardship. A highly integrative discipline, agronomy encompasses genetics (classical and engineered), plant and crop physiology, crop ecology, aspects of soil productivity, crop pathology, entomology, soil fertility, plant nutrition and weed science, amongst others.

    Agronomists provide much of the intellectual capital so critical to the sustainable and profitable use of the agri-resource base. By applying their knowledge of the science, technology and art of the production of crop plants, especially the the interaction of plants with their physical and biological environement, agronomists make possible the production of food, bio-fuels and other bio-products as well as the delivery of environmental goods and services. They may work as field agents, farm advisors, government specialists, and researchers.

    Resource Links:
    Canadian Society of Agronomy
    Plant Canada
    Canadian Journal of Plant Science

  • Soil Science

    Soil Science explores the nature, properties and use of soil to capture its value and to understand better its critical role as a foundation of life. People who study soil seek to comprehend fundamental global surface processes on multiple scales that impact ecosystems functioning and environmental health.

    Soil scientists provide farmers and agribusiness representatives with educational and diagnostic service programs, using the latest in instrumental analysis, data manipulation, and research information, to improve soil and crop management.

    Important crop production research is dependent upon soil science to improve input efficiency and thus to assure competitiveness in today’s farm markets. Scientists conduct research on such practical subjects as liming and nutrient availability use, soil compaction-nutrient interactions, and efficient use of manure and legume nitrogen contributions in various crop rotations.

    Soil scientists also provide extension leadership in application of soil chemistry, physics, biology and pedology principles to economic and environmentally sound land use and conduct outreach to the extended community to provide all generations with an appreciation of soil as a natural resource.

    Soil science is an interdisciplinary science that includes increasing our knowledge of:

    • Chemistry of soil organic matter
    • Solute transport processes in soils
    • Chemistry of soil surfaces and soil solution
    • Biotic regulation of soil processes
    • Soil biology
    • Environmental Biogeochemistry

    Resource Links:
    Canadian Society of Soil Science
    Canadian Journal of Soil Science

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