Agronomists and crop scientists study farm crops and develop strategies to improve crop yield and quality. They investigate safer and more effective methods of controlling pests and weeds, including using genetic engineering to develop pest-resistant crops. Crop advisors guide farmers on research findings that can help them improve profitability. Most crop advisors earned at least $44,000 per year as of 2010.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes crop advisors with all soil and plant scientists in its salary figures for this occupation. The average salary for them as of May 2010 was $30.09 per hour, or $62,600 per year. The middle 50 percent of crop advisors were making $21.34 to $35.88 per hour, or $44,390 to $74,630 per year. The bottom 10 percent had pay at or below $34,420 per year, and the top 10 percent were earning more than $101,000 per year.
Types of Employment
Salaries for crop advisors vary with type of employment. Those working for colleges, universities, and professional schools were earning $53,110 annually on average as of May 2010. Crop advisors employed with management, scientific and technical consulting services had an annual average salary of $54,050, and with scientific research and development services, $69,140. Those employed with the federal government earned more, at an average yearly salary of $77,510.
The top-paying state for crop advisors and other plant and soil scientists in 2010 was Maryland, where they earned $88,540 per year on average. Rounding out the top five states were West Virginia, with an average annual salary of $82,730, Connecticut at $77,140, Mississippi at $74,470 and California at $72,050.
High Employment Levels
Iowa and California had the largest number of plant and soil scientists in 2010, with an estimated 1,430 in each state. The average yearly salary was higher in California, at $72,050, compared with $66,190 in Iowa. Other states with large numbers of crop advisors and other plant and soil scientists were North Carolina, where their average salary was $64,130 per year, Illinois, with an average salary of $64,370, and Minnesota at $70,530 per year on average.