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Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom

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Careers in Agricultural Research

Soil Scientist

Job Description

A soil scientist evaluates and interprets soils and soil-related data for the purpose of understanding soil resources as they contribute to not only agricultural production, but as they affect environmental quality and as they are managed for protection of human health and the environment.

Soil scientists are engaged in a variety of professional activities that involve direct applications of soil science knowledge. This work is often conducted in coordination with non-soil science professionals. Typically, the areas of activity include:

  • Research of soil systems and soil management by public and private research institutions for the enhancement of soils knowledge.
  • Management of soils for land enhancement such as in landscape design, mine reclamation, and site restoration.
  • Evaluation and investigation of soils as they relate to natural resource management, including forest soils, wetlands, environmental endangerment assessments, ecological evaluations, and archeological sites.
  • Assessment and investigation of soils for application of wastes in a variety of forms, including non-hazardous process wastes (residue and sludge management), and more distinct engineering and suitability of sites for on-site disposal of residential waste.
  • Suitability studies for a variety of land development uses, including soil stability, moisture retention or drainage, sustainability, and environmental impact.
  • Assessment and investigation of environmental hazards, including hazardous waste sites that involve soil investigation techniques, evaluation of chemical fate and transport phenomena, and suitable remediation alternatives.
  • Regulation of the use of land and soil resources by private and public interests (government agencies).
  • Management of soils for agricultural purposes, forest products and erosion control. Management includes modification of nutrient and water availability to plants.
Skills
  • The soil scientist understands the soil environment, including soil morphology and soil forming factors, soil chemistry, soil physics, and soil biology, and the dynamic interaction of these areas
Preparation

The university degree should be in soil science, or closely related field (i.e., natural resources, environmental science, earth science, etc.)

Source: University of Wyoming