Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources

Think about life without agriculture, food and natural resources. What would we eat? Who would create and maintain the parks that help us relax and enjoy nature? How would we know whether our drinking water is safe? This industry has a huge impact on our daily lives, and — like other industries — technology has brought about changes in the way it operates.

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) map natural resource areas to check forest health, evaluate soil erosion, and inventory wildlife populations. Large farms increasingly use GPS systems to help steer machinery more precisely and computer-based maps to prescribe amounts of fertilizer, seed, and chemicals for specific areas.

The Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster contains occupations that require all levels of training. Nonfarm animal caretaker and refuse and recyclable materials collector positions are among the fastest-growing occupations that require the least training in this cluster. Jobs that usually require associate and bachelor’s degrees such as environmental science and protection technicians, environmental engineers, and natural science managers are also projected to increase. Employers who often hire workers in this cluster include farmers; federal, state, and local governments; pest control businesses; and landscaping companies.


Core Skills

The following Core Skills are necessary for success in these occupations.

  • Science - Using scientific rules and strategies to solve problems
  • Operation & Control - Using equipment or systems
  • Equipment Maintenance - Planning and doing the basic maintenance on equipment
  • Repairing - Repairing machines or systems using the right tools
  • Equipment Selection - Deciding what kind of tools and equipment are needed to do a job
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working
  • Management of Material Resources - Managing equipment and materials
  • Troubleshooting - Figuring out what is causing equipment, machines, wiring, or computer programs to not work
  • Management of Financial Resources - Making spending decisions and keeping track of what is spent
  • Quality Control Analysis - Testing how well a product or service works


Fields of Study in Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources