Some of the specialties of BioResource & Agricultural Engineers are:
- Power and Machinery Engineering
- Information and Electrical Technologies Engineering
- Structures and Environment Engineering
- Water Engineering
- Environmental Quality Engineering
- Standards and Safety Engineering
- Energy Engineering
- Food and Process Engineering
Every day, the average human being performs thousands of activities that involve physical movement of objects. Many of these activities are or can be performed with the assistance of mechanical devices, and power that comes from sources other than the human body. The power and machinery engineer is looking for ways to accomplish these activities in an efficient, reliable manner and for a feasible cost. For innovative, mechanically sound, biologically sensitive machines, look to engineers with power and machinery design expertise.
Engineers with information and electrical technologies emphasis develop and work with sensors and control systems. Some of these devices identify biological warfare agents; others test food for unwanted bacteria or detect biochemicals in cows' milk to improve production. These ag, food, and bio engineers develop advanced farming systems to manage biological "living" organisms and also combine electronic and mechanical sensors with automated controls and robotics.
Some engineers in the structures and environment disciplines are currently developing systems to regenerate air and water for growing food in space. Other ag, food, and bio engineers with expertise in structures and environment work with greenhouses, animal housing, storage structures, waste handling facilities, or food processing plants. Still others develop uses for biological products as construction materials.
Water is the lifeblood for agriculture, the environment, industry, and urban landscape in California and the Western U.S. BRAE graduates who specialize in water are hired by consulting engineers, irrigation districts, irrigation dealerships, other private companies, and various government agencies. The job market for engineers who have water savvy has remained strong for decades, and employers often ask for Cal Poly BRAE graduates specifically. BRAE graduates study the theory and practical aspects of design/management of irrigation water usage in agriculture (irrigation system design, irrigation scheduling, salinity, drainage, wells, pumps, etc.). They also learn topics of hydraulics, hydrology, and irrigation district operations. With this foundation, they are uniquely well equipped to deal with improving water and power efficiency, while protecting the environment and helping farmers grow the maximum "crop per drop".
Ag, food, and bio engineers specializing in environmental quality understand how to manage agricultural and food processing wastes so that air, water, and soil are not polluted. They also specialize in the remediation of contaminated sites.
Complicated farm equipment can present unforeseen dangers. Stray voltage can find its way to water troughs, giving shocks to thirsty animals. Ag, food, and bio engineers develop industry standards so that equipment is safer for people and livestock.
What's a good use for pig manure? One ag engineer has developed an economical system that uses livestock wastes to fertilize hay that is then made into fuel. Ag and bio engineers with interests in energy develop environmentally sound alternatives to conventional energy sources.
How can you keep a ton of cake mix so well blended that each package can be made into a successful birthday cake? Turn to an ag, food, and bio engineer for help. Experts in food and process engineering work in all sectors of the food industry, from harvest to table, as well as in pharmaceuticals and waste treatment.