This year’s job market is the hottest yet for new Ph.D.’s in agricultural sciences specializing in engineering, economics, and biotechnology-related fields, according to the department chairmen polled by The Scientist.

“The market has been very good for several years, and I don’t think we’ve seen the peak at all yet,” says Gerald Isaacs, chairman of agricultural engineering at the University of Florida.

The same story comes from the West Coast. “Ask people what they have to pay for an agricultural engineer and they’ll go ‘gulp,’ “says Michael Burke, an associate dean in Oregon State University’s Agricultural Sciences program. “In other areas, we’d expect to be able to hire a new Ph.D. for $35,000. In agricultural engineering, we’re getting turned down in the $41,000-to-$42,000 annual salary range.”

Isaacs agrees, estimating the going rate for a new Ph.D. in agricultural engineering at $40,000 to $45,000 at a university. Offers from industry have...

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