The Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABEN) program prepares men and women for careers that require the application of physical, biological and engineering sciences to solve problems that involve living systems.

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABEN) bring together the knowledge of living systems, engineering technologies, and a social conscience to solve the tough problems facing our planet. Men and women in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering are professional engineers with commitments to the well-being of humans, animals, plants and ecosystems. They are highly-skilled in developing innovative approaches to solving problems affecting all types of living systems and in developing products from biological resources.

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers will be increasingly important to society as the world becomes more highly populated and our global ecosystem becomes more fragile. Wise decisions about appropriate technology and resource use will require a basic understanding of biological systems. The Agricultural and Biosystems Engineer is uniquely qualified to apply the knowledge of both biology and engineering to solve important societal problems.

The Agricultural Systems Management program emphasizes engineering technology and the management of physical and biological systems for agricultural production, handling and processing of agricultural commodities, and maintaining environmental quality. Agricultural Systems Management is the application of biological, physical, mechanical, and business knowledge to support and manage agricultural production systems, product processing systems, and related industries.

ASM graduates manage people, money, and machines. They excel at management, marketing, and customer service by applying their knowledge of agri-production and agri-processing technology, business management, communications and computer skills. Positions filled by ASM graduates are those that bridge the gap between engineers and the users of engineered systems. The program is designed for students whose interests lie in the application, operation, and management of the equipment (power & machinery), natural resources (soil & water), or commodity handling and processing elements of the agricultural industry. Students majoring in ASM often also obtain a minor in business or another discipline.

The Precision Agriculture program students complete technical courses in machine principles, data mapping, electrical systems and electronics, crop production principles, animal/livestock production principles, computer applications for precision agriculture, remote sensing, data management, site-specific agriculture, and information/decision support technology. The curriculum balances instruction in agricultural sciences principles with hands-on training and application of technology. NDSU's Precision Ag program allows students to focus on either crop or livestock precision ag.

PAG graduates go on to work at farm co-ops, equipment dealerships, and equipment manufacturers, along with working for companies like John Deere and Case New Holland.

The assets of physical systems used in the production and processing of agricultural products are estimated to be over $400 billion. The value of the manufactured inputs delivered annually to support production and on-farm processing is $22 billion. Thousands of companies and agencies perform a wide range of services in delivering these physically-oriented inputs to nearly two million farms and ranches and thousands of processing facilities which comprise the agricultural production and processing system. These companies and agencies require employees who can respond to changing customer needs.


The purpose of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at North Dakota State University is to serve as an academic, research, and extension unit engaged in the development and transfer of knowledge or information resulting in usable, economical, and sustainable technologies for enhanced production and utilization of agricultural, food, and other biological products and sustainable management of related environmental resources.

  • Teaching and Instructional Support: The Department's mission is to serve students and our profession by providing: a) high quality teaching programs in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and Agricultural Systems Management that prepare graduates for 21st century living and career opportunities; b) recruitment of new students; c) academic advisement and career counseling to students; d) job placement and follow-up for students; and e) advanced and continuing education for graduates.
  • Research: The Department's mission is to develop and adapt knowledge and technologies that focus on engineering and management of agricultural and biological systems and related environmental resources, and to ensure continued growth and development of faculty and the profession through the conduct of strong interdisciplinary research programs.
  • Extension: The Department's mission is to develop and deliver effective extension programs that help people improve their lives through the educational process that uses scientific and research-based knowledge focused on issues and needs.
  • To provide high quality educational programs in selected areas of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and Agricultural Systems Management.
  • To generate new knowledge in engineering and allied technologies for production agriculture, the food system, and related environmental resources. Research programs are focused in the areas: a) agri-production systems, b) biological materials handling and value-added processing, and c) agricultural hydrology and environmental resources management.
  • To transfer information and technology to the people of North Dakota, the nation, and the world through extension and outreach education in the areas: a) agri-production systems, b) post-harvest engineering, c) irrigation and water resources management, and d) agricultural safety.
  • To achieve and maintain effective constituent relationships.
Department History

Historical records indicate that E.S. Keene was appointed Agricultural Engineer with the Agricultural Experiment Station in 1892, two years after the North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC) was established. R.C. Miller organized the Agricultural Engineering Department as a degree granting department at NDSU (NDAC at the time) in 1924-25. The first BS degree in Agricultural Engineering was granted in 1931. The first MS degree in Agricultural Engineering was awarded in 1933. A program in Agricultural Mechanization (now Agricultural Systems Management) with a degree offered in the college of Agriculture was established in 1951. Please see following timeline for additional information.

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