12465 Warwick Boulevard,    Newport News, VA 23606  Phone: (757) 591-4500

Career Pathways: Excite. Explore. Engage.

Career Pathways: Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources

Careers in the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster involve improving the quality and safety of food, cultivating and preserving our natural resources, and caring for animals.

This career pathway is divided into seven pathways:

  • Agribusiness Systems
  • Animal Systems
  • Environmental Service Systems
  • Food Products & Processing Systems
  • Natural Resources Systems
  • Plant Systems
  • Power, Structural & Technical Systems

Agribusiness Systems

Agribusiness is the coordination of all activities that contribute to the production, processing, marketing, distribution, financing and development of agricultural commodities and resources. This includes food, fiber, wood products, natural resources, horticulture, and other plant and animal products and services. Agribusiness is a high-tech industry that uses satellite systems, computer databases and spreadsheets, biotechnology and many other innovations to increase efficiency and profitability.

Sample occupations include:

  • Agricultural Commodity Broker
  • Agricultural Economist
  • Agricultural Loan Officer
  • Agricultural Products Sales Representative
  • Farm Products Purchasing Agent and Buyer
  • Farm, Ranch Manager
  • Farmer/Rancher
  • Feed, Farm Supply Store Sales Manager
  • Sales Manager

Animal Systems

People who work in the Animal Systems pathway work to develop better, more efficient ways of producing and processing meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products. They study genetics, nutrition, reproduction, growth and development of domesticated farm animals. Some individuals inspect and grade livestock food products, purchase livestock or work in technical sales or marketing. Others advise agricultural producers on how to upgrade animal housing facilities properly, lower mortality rates, handle waste matter or increase production of animal products, such as milk or eggs. Animal care workers train, feed, water, groom, bathe and exercise animals. They also clean, disinfect and repair their cages.

Sample occupations include:

  • Agricultural Products Sales Representative
  • Animal Breeder, Husbandry
  • Animal Geneticist
  • Animal Nutritionist
  • Animal Scientist
  • Aquacultural Manager
  • Poultry Manager
  • Veterinarian
  • Veterinary Technician

Environmental Service Systems

People who work in the Environmental Service Systems pathway are involved in water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal and public health issues. Environmental engineers and technicians conduct hazardous-waste management studies, evaluate the significance of the hazard, offer analysis on treatment and containment, and develop regulations to prevent mishaps. They design municipal sewage and industrial wastewater systems. They analyze scientific data, research environmental projects and perform quality control checks.

Sample occupations include:

  • Agricultural Products Sales Representative
  • Environmental Compliance Inspector
  • Environmental Sampling and Analysis Technician
  • Hazardous Materials Handler
  • Recycling Coordinator
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Toxicologist
  • Turf Farmer
  • Water Conservationist

Food Products and Processing Systems

People who work in the Food Products and Processing Systems pathway discover new food sources, analyze food content and develop ways to process, preserve, package or store food according to industry and government regulations. They create new food products to meet consumer needs and inspect food-processing areas to ensure that sanitation, safety, quality and waste management standards are met.

Sample occupations include:

  • Biochemist
  • Food Scientist

Natural Resources Systems

People who work in the Natural Resources Systems pathway perform a variety of tasks from helping to develop, maintain, and manage the forest and natural environment to catching and trapping various types of marine life for human consumption, animal feed, bait and other uses. Forest and rangelands supply wood products, livestock forage, minerals and water; serve as sites for recreational activities; and provide habitats for wildlife. Conservation scientists and foresters manage, develop, use and help protect these and other natural resources.

Sample occupations include:

  • Ecologist
  • Fish and Game Officer
  • Fisheries Technician
  • Forest Manager, Forester
  • Forest Technician
  • Geological Technician
  • Logging Equipment Operator
  • Microbiologist
  • Outdoor Recreation Guide
  • Park Manager
  • Park Technician
  • Range Technician
  • Wildlife Manager

Plant Systems

People who work in the Plant Systems pathway study plants and their growth. This helps producers of food, feed and fiber crops continue to feed a growing population while conserving natural resources and maintaining the environment. Individuals in this pathway also develop ways to improve the nutritional value of crops and the quality of seeds. They use genetic engineering to develop crops resistant to pests and drought.

Sample occupations include:

  • Agricultural Products Sales Representative
  • Botanist
  • Certified Crop Advisor
  • Crop Grower
  • Custom Harvester
  • Farm, Ranch Manager
  • Farmer/Rancher
  • Floral Designer
  • Floral Shop Manager
  • Forest Geneticist
  • Golf Course Superintendent
  • Machine Setter, Operator
  • Nursery and Greenhouse Manager
  • Ornamental Horticulturist
  • Plant Breeder/ Geneticist
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Soil and Plant Scientist
  • Tree Surgeon
  • Turf Farmer

Power, Structural, and Technical Systems

People who work in the Power, Structural and Technical Systems pathway apply knowledge of engineering, hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics, power, structures, and controls to the field of agriculture. They design agricultural structures as well as machinery and equipment. They develop ways to conserve soil and water and to improve the processing of agricultural products.

Sample occupations include:

  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Agricultural Equipment Operator
  • Agricultural Equipment Parts Manager
  • Agricultural Equipment Parts Salesperson
  • Machinist
  • Parts Manager
  • Welder