The Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources cluster is about the production, processing, marketing, distribution, financing and development of agricultural commodities and resources including food, fiber, wood products, natural resources, horticulture, and other plant and animal products/resources. The increased emphasis on producing clean energy is creating new opportunities for farmers to grow plants and grains that can be used in biofuels. Farm advisors apply research to solve problems and issues related to agriculture and agriculture-related processes. Agriculture is the largest industry in Virginia, providing more than 357,000 jobs, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Employment Projections: 2010-2020
The Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources career cluster is expected to add only a marginal number of new jobs over the next decade. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates, this cluster employed 4.6 million workers in 2010. The BLS projects the addition of about 250,000 new jobs by 2020, expecting that the cluster will grow more slowly than average at about 5%.
The report Employment Projections for Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, 2010-2020 includes data on occupations growing faster that the nation average, pathways employment overview, occupations with the most job openings, and employment projections.
What They Make...
Occupations in this cluster and what they make in Virginia
|Occupation||Employed in VA||Typical salary 1||Typical entry-level Education|
|Farm and home management advisers||80||$26K–$74K||Master's degree|
|Environmental engineering techs||430||$29K–$77K||Associate's degree|
|Environmental scientists||3,150||$39K–$110K||Bachelor's degree|
|Farm workers (animal)||1,290||$17K–$36K||Less than high school|
|Landscapers, groundskeepers||23,880||$17K–$38K||Less than high school|
|Logging equipment operators||920||$21K–$47K||High school diploma|
|Natural science managers||1,190||$65K-–187K+||Bachelor's degree|
|Nonfarm animal caretakers||5,560||$16K–$33K||Less than high school|
|Pest control workers||2,150||$20K–$48K||High school diploma|
|Tree trimmers and pruners||630||$20K–$51K||High school diploma|
|Veterinary assistants||3,500||$17K–$36K||High school diploma|
|Veterinary techs||1,410||$21K–$44K||Associate's degree|
|Zoologists and wildlife biologists||270||$37K–$95K||Bachelor's degree|
110th to 90th percentile
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Cluster Planning
A resource for counselors, administrators, and educators
CTE Administrative Planning Guide (APG) – includes information to help local school divisions plan and schedule instructional programs. The APG is organized by career clusters, with a complete listing of courses, concentration sequences, and credentials available to students as they plan for career entry and continuing education. Users may access course information by cluster or by searching for specific courses or certifications.
A resource for students and counselors
Career Planning Guide – includes an easy way for students and counselors to look for courses to further career goals. One can search for occupations, browse by Career Clusters or favorite academic subjects.
Development InformationInformation and tips for instructional leaders, administrators, counselors and teachers/faculty for creating a career pathway academic and career plan of study.
- Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Cluster Information
- Checklist for Developing Career Clusters Plans of Study (Word)
Sample Academic and Career Plans of StudySchool divisions are asked to develop sample plans of study based on the courses offered within their schools, the employment needs of the region, and the post-high school educational opportunities needed for these careers. Once these sample plans are developed, they can be customized to the needs of individual students so that all students have the opportunity to have an individualized academic and career plan of study.Sample Pathway Plans of Study for Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources:
- Agribusiness Systems (Word)
- Animal Systems (Word)
- Environmental Service Systems (Word)
- Food Products & Processing Systems (Word)
- Natural Resources Systems (Word)
- Plant Systems (Word)
- Power, Structural & Technical Systems (Word)
- Blank Plan of Study (with fields) (Word)
- American Society of Agronomy
- American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers
- American Veterinary Medical Association
The Career Clusters logo and its extensions are the property of the National Career Technical Foundation, as managed by NASDCTEc. Some content on this page is from the publication, R U College & Career Ready? - 2014 Edition; and is used here with permission from the Virginia Business Publications LLC and Trailblazers in the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.