Let's Explore Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources!

Welcome to the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Pathway

Explore careers that focus on the environment, food production, and the responsible use of natural resources. This pathway prepares students for diverse roles from farming to conservation, equipping them with the skills necessary to sustain and enhance our natural world.

Careers Within the Industry

From cultivating crops to conserving natural habitats, careers in Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources offer a wide array of opportunities to make a significant impact on our environment and food systems. Here are some exciting career paths you can explore:

Agricultural Equipment Operators

Agricultural Equipment Operators are responsible for operating machinery used in planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops. They ensure the efficient functioning of equipment, perform routine maintenance, and may assist in soil preparation and irrigation.

Farmers, Ranchers, and other Agricultural Managers

These professionals manage the daily operations of farms, ranches, greenhouses, and other agricultural establishments. They oversee crop production, livestock management, and business aspects such as budgeting, marketing, and personnel management.

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists study animals and wildlife, their behaviors, diseases, genetics, and interactions with ecosystems. They conduct research, analyze data, and work on conservation efforts to protect endangered species and habitats.

Foresters

Foresters manage forests, ensuring their health, sustainability, and economic value. They develop plans for forest conservation, oversee timber harvesting, and work to protect wildlife habitats and water quality within forested areas.

Fish and Game Wardens

Fish and Game Wardens enforce laws and regulations related to wildlife, hunting, fishing, and boating. They patrol assigned areas, investigate violations, and work to conserve wildlife and natural resources.

Food Scientists and Technologists

Food Scientists and Technologists apply scientific principles to the processing, packaging, and distribution of food. They work to improve food safety, quality, and nutritional value, and may develop new food products and preservation methods.

Conservation Scientists

Conservation Scientists work to manage natural resources sustainably. They advise farmers, ranchers, and government agencies on best practices for land use, soil conservation, and water management to protect and improve the environment.

Soil and Plant Scientists

Soil and Plant Scientists study the composition of soil and its effects on plant growth. They conduct research to develop better farming practices, improve crop yields, and ensure sustainable land use. Their work is crucial for food security and environmental health.

Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources Careers in Action

Brandon Larrabee is a geographic information systems specialist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Larrabee works to create digital representations of geographic areas to help with land restoration projects and environmental analysis.

Cassandra Fleckenstein is a wildland firefighter, instructor, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officer in Vale, Oregon. Fleckenstein’s job covers a lot of ground, from responding to dispatch fire calls to training all-women firefighting recruits. It’s demanding, but rewarding work.

Mahima White is a fisheries biologist working to protect native fish populations across Oregon. White developed a passion for animal welfare at an early age. She grew up in a household surrounded by animals, and with the encouragement from teachers at McMinville High School, she pursued her own independent project studying zebrafish. White soon realized she was on a path toward a career in biology. 

Is This Career Path Right for You?

If you enjoy working with nature, solving problems, and taking a hands-on approach to projects, a career in Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources might be perfect for you. This pathway is ideal for those who are planners, self-reliant, physically active, and creative problem solvers who love learning how things grow and thrive. Consider taking classes in agriculture sciences, chemistry, environmental science, forestry, and natural resources to get started.

Essential Interests:

  • Enjoy learning how things grow and stay alive
  • Interested in planning, budgeting, and keeping records
  • Passionate about solving problems and talking to others

Essential Skills:

  • Strong planning and organizational skills
  • Ability to work independently and be self-reliant
  • Physical stamina and a love for being physically active
  • Creativity in problem-solving and innovative thinking

Essential Knowledge:

  • Understanding of agriculture sciences and natural resources
  • Knowledge of chemistry and environmental science
  • Familiarity with forestry and conservation practices
  • Skills in managing and optimizing natural resources

Career Planning Action Plan​

Get prepared for a career in agriculture, food, and natural resources:

STEP 1: start by taking classes in any of the following subject areas:

  • Agricultural Science: covers the basics of agriculture, including plant and animal science.
  • Environmental Science: focuses on the study of the environment and solutions to environmental problems.
  • Biology: provides a foundational understanding of living organisms and ecosystems.
  • Chemistry: essential for understanding the chemical processes that affect soil, water, and plant life.
  • Forestry: teaches students about forest ecosystems, management, and conservation techniques.
  • Horticulture/Botany: focuses on the science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants.

STEP 2: explore and plan your career path:

  • Meet with your advisor to discuss your interests.
  • Identify relevant classes and dual-credit opportunities.
  • Explore community activities for skill-building.
  • Research jobs on the Quality Info Website.

STEP 3: assess and refine your career goals:

  • Create a career and college plan with your advisor.
  • Complete the interest profile, skills assessment, and reality check on the Oregon CIS Website.
  • Watch Career Journey Videos to gain insights from industry professionals.

Meet Sassy, Your Career Exploration Guide

Sassy helps Oregon middle and high school students explore career and trade pathways.

Oregon Industry Overview

Career Planning

High-demand Jobs in Oregon

Here are three careers in high demand right now in Oregon.

Crop and Greenhouse Workers

Education: Less than High School to High School Diploma

Annual Average Wage: $32,006

Duties: Manually plant, cultivate, and harvest vegetables, fruits, nuts, horticultural specialties, and field crops.

Why it's in demand: With the increasing need for fresh produce and horticultural products, there is a growing demand for skilled workers who can efficiently manage crop production and greenhouse operations.

Forest and Conservation Technicians

Education: High School Diploma to Associate's Degree

Annual Average Wage: $45,285

Duties: Provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, forests, or related natural resources.

Why it's in demand: As environmental conservation becomes a priority, the demand for technicians who can support sustainable land and resource management practices continues to rise.

Agricultural Managers

Education: High School Diploma to Bachelor’s Degree

Annual Average Wage: $73,551

Duties: Plan, direct, or coordinate the management or operation of farms, ranches, greenhouses, aquacultural operations, nurseries, and timber tracts.

Why it's in demand: The agricultural industry is vital for food production, and effective management is essential to optimize operations, increase productivity, and ensure sustainability.

Essential Student Links for Further Exploration

Career OneStop

Career OneStop Take this 30-question interest assessment to help you match your interests with exciting careers.

Link to Interest Assessment | Career OneStop
Career Journeys

Career Journeys Watch young Oregonians in high-demand trades share their career journeys and give you a window into their workday.

Watch the Career Journeys Stories
Oregon Career Pathways

Oregon Career Pathways: Explore career pathways through the Oregon Employment Department to understand the education and training needed for different occupations. Learn which jobs are in highest demand and what they pay.

Oregon Career Pathways
Oregon Department of Education Career Exploration

Community & Workforce Training: The Business and Management Career Learning Area focuses on the business and entrepreneurial needs of Oregon’s students as they prepare to enter and succeed in the world of business. The careers in this area span virtually every industry in the world.

Oregon Department of Education Business and Management Page
The Oregon Career Information System (CIS)

The Oregon Career Information System (CIS): provides a system of occupational and educational information to help Oregonians learn about the world of work and education. We work with schools, colleges, social agencies, and businesses who provide career guidance and employee development services. They use CIS products with their students, clients, customers, and employees to assist them with the process of career planning or career transition.

The Oregon Career Information System (CIS)

Connect with the CCL Team to discuss Career Pathways Using the Form Below: