Engineering Spotlight: Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering (ABE) Back »

What does an Agricultural & Biosystems Engineer do?

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) utilizes science to develop solutions that improve conditions allowing the agriculture industry to meet humanity’s most fundamental needs: safe and abundant food, clean water, fiber, timber, and renewable fuels.

ABE has a variety of specialty areas to focus on the growing needs of society. Here are a few highlighted specialty areas:

  • Natural Resources: These engineers work to better understand the complexity of our natural environment so that it can be used efficiently without degradation. These engineers work improve soil and water as well as to understand our climate.
  • Power Systems and Machinery Design: These engineers work to improve and enhance equipment to adapt to changing needs as well as to make it more efficient and less demanding of natural resources. This equipment is utilized for food production, landscape maintenance, and a variety of specialized tasks.
  • Structures & Environment: These engineers specialize in structures and environment design of animal housing, storage structure, and greenhouses. They work to develop ventilation systems, temperature and humidity controls, and structural strength to improve conditions for animals and plants.
  • Food & Bioprocess Engineers: These engineers work to efficiently use our natural resources to produce a variety of products used within society. They work with food, fiber, timber, fuels, pharmaceuticals and many other products. They understand microbiology and manufacturing methods and utilize them to improve food safety and develop economically responsible industry solutions for producing it.
  • Information & Electrical Technologies: These engineers develop the technologies utilized by other specialty areas to design machinery, test soil and food quality, and ensure safety. Some of the technologies the work with include Geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), machine vision, sensors, bioinformatics, and spectroscopy.

Where do they work?

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers can be found in a variety of different places including in the field, in laboratories, in classrooms, or in manufacturing facilities. Anywhere technology intersects the natural world, you'll find biological and agricultural engineers at work, developing new and more sustainable ways of providing the world with the necessities of life.

Who are they?

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers come from a variety of different backgrounds and from numerous locations across the globe. Let’s take a moment to meet some from right here in South Dakota:

More Information

For more information on Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering explore:


Information adapted from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

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