The Agriculture, Food and 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: 2012-2022
The Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Cluster, which employed approximately 165,500 Virginians in 2012, is expected to employ about the same number in 2022. Nationally, there is anticipated to be 4 percent growth among all occupations in this cluster by 2022, based on Trailblazers analysis of information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For more information on occupations in the Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Cluster, visit Trailblazers – Career and Technical Education in Virginia.
What They Make...
2013 Median Wage
2022 Projected Employment
Predominant Level of Education
Employed in Virginia
|Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers||$23,190||36,600||High School diploma||32,489|
|Farmworkers and Laborers, Crops||$21,130||20,130||High School diploma||24,131|
|Landscaping Supervisors||$43,650||7,368||High School diploma & work experience||6,452|
|Veterinary Assistants||$25,660||4,611||Some College; Associate degree||3,531|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists||$73,780||3,899||Bachelor's degree or more||3,416|
|Farmworkers, Animals||$25,170||3,662||High School diploma||3,912|
|Water Treatment Plant Operators||$37,810||3,615||High School diploma & training; Certification||3,179|
|Veterinarians||$89,550||3,254||Bachelor's degree or more||2,406|
|Environmental Engineers||$96,350||2,926||Bachelor's degree or more||2,482|
|Veterinary Technologists and Technicians||$36,940||2,230||Some College; Associate degree||1,424|
|Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Supervisors||$41,700||1,849||High School diploma & work experience||1,991|
|Biological Technicians||$38,450||1,329||Bachelor's degree or more||1,086|
|Natural Sciences Managers||$126,240||1,305||Bachelor's degree or more & work experience||1,279|
|Environmental Science Technicians||$43,230||807||Bachelor's degree or more & training; Certification||693|
|Geoscientists||$89,450||616||Bachelor's degree or more||545|
|Environmental Engineering Technicians||$42,130||537||Some College; Associate degree||440|
|Conservation Scientists||$60,340||491||Bachelor's degree or more||432|
|Forest and Conservation Technicians||$36,710||379||Bachelor's degree or more||359|
|Agricultural and Food Science Technicians||$34,380||226||Bachelor's degree or more||237|
|Soil and Plant Scientists||$53,910||192||Bachelor's degree or more||193|
Wage data: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Virginia.
Employment projections data: Virginia Employment Commission, Virginia Occupational Employment Projections 2012-2022.
Predominant education level: Trailblazers through the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.
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)
Report: Education, Employment and Earnings: Analyzing Data from Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
Cluster Analysis Document for Virginia
- 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? - 2015 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.