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Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Occupational Pathway

Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources Occupational Pathway

Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) pathway involves careers in the planning, implementation, production, management, and processing of agricultural commodities and services. This Youth Apprenticeship occupational area focuses on four pathways within the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources industry:

Agricultural duties vary widely from raising plants and livestock to operating large equipment to caring for companion animals. Natural Resources jobs involve working directly with the natural environment including air, water, and land.

Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Pathways

Students can choose between four different occupational areas with options to specific pathways.

Animal Pathway

Careers in the Animal Systems pathway vary from breeding, raising, and processing animals and animal products to the care and feeding of all sorts of animals. There are four pathways to choose from:

Plant Pathway

Students who work in the Plant Systems pathway study all types of plants and their growth. They are the producers of the food, feed, fiber, and landscaping crops meant to support a growing population, while conserving natural resources and maintaining the environment. There are five pathways to choose from:

Environmental Systems Pathway

The Environmental Systems pathway includes occupations involved in water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and public health issues. There is one pathway to choose from:

Power, Structural, and Technical Systems Pathway

Agricultural and farm equipment mechanics are responsible for the maintenance, repair, and installation of machines that increase the efficiency of farming activities, such as planting, harvesting, and irrigating crops. Agricultural mechanics also service and repair smaller lawn and garden equipment operated by suburban homeowners. Another occupation in this pathway is a parts specialist who uses sales and customer service skills to assist internal and external clients with parts management, marketing, and equipment maintenance. There is one pathway to choose from:


Animal Pathway:

  • Agricultural Educator
  • Animal Caretaker
  • Animal Nutritionist
  • Aqua-culturalist
  • Artificial Insemination Technician
  • Dairy Producer
  • Equine Manager
  • Feed Sales Representative
  • Livestock Buyer
  • Livestock Geneticist
  • Livestock Producer
  • Meat Science Researcher
  • Physiologist
  • Poultry Manager
  • USDA Inspector
  • Veterinary Assistant
  • Veterinarian
  • Wildlife Biologist
  • Livestock Inspector

Plant Pathway:

  • Agricultural Educator
  • Agricultural Journalist
  • Bioinformatics Specialist
  • Botanist
  • Biotechnology Lab Technician
  • Commodity Marketing Specialist
  • Custom Hay/Silage Operator
  • Farmer
  • Golf Course Manager
  • Grain Operation Superintendent
  • Green House Manager
  • Plant Breeder and Geneticist
  • Plant Pathologist
  • Rancher
  • Soil and Water Specialist
  • Tree Surgeon

Environmental Systems Pathway:

  • Agricultural Educator
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Environmental Compliance -Assurance Manager
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Environmental Sampling and Analysis Scientist/Technician
  • Hazardous Materials Handler
  • Hazardous Materials Technician
  • Health and Safety Sanitarian
  • Pollution Prevention and Control Manager
  • Pollution Prevention and Control Technician
  • Recycler
  • Solid Waste Manager
  • Solid Waste Technician
  • Toxicologist
  • Water Environment Manager
  • Water Quality Manager

Power, Structural, and Technical Systems Pathway:

  • Agricultural Applications
  • Agricultural Educator
  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Communication Technician
  • Database Administrator
  • Electronic Systems Technician
  • Equipment/Parts Manager
  • GPS Technician
  • Heavy Equipment Maintenance Technician
  • Information Lab Specialist
  • Machine Operator
  • Machinist
  • Recycling Technician
  • Remote Sensing Specialist
  • Software Developer/ Programmer
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator
  • Welder

Average Wages

Below are some examples of careers in each pathway and their mean wages. Visit the Occupational Employer Statistics page to find average wages for a specific occupation not listed.

Agricultural and Food Science Technicians: Average $39,730
Animal Breeders: Average $40,060
Biological Scientists: Average $73,520
Chemical Engineers: Average $92,310
Database Administrators: Average $84,990
Environmental Engineering: Average $54,480

Getting Started

Get started by talking to a school counselor, Youth Apprenticeship Local Coordinator, or Regional Coordinator about how to apply and obtain career materials (plans of study). Contact DWD Youth Apprenticeship Staff for general or statewide program information.

Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources (AFNR) Occupational Pathway