Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources

Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources introduce opportunities to careers in farming, agricultural engineering, and food, animal, and plant science.

CTE’s Agriculture pathway offers experience in careers like ranching, veterinarian science, and horticulture.

Modern agricultural studies involve more than just farming and ranching. The agriculture industry is a vibrant, evolving, and high-demand field.  From visiting a pumpkin farm, the Texas state fair, or a Christmas tree farm, to attending livestock shows with award-winning cattle, longhorns, sheep, and pigs, the field of agriculture surrounds us in all aspects of life. 

The Agriculture Cluster offers a wide variety of CTE courses while in high school.  Some students can simultaneously participate in organizations like the FFA and work toward certifications in their areas of interests while taking high school classes.


CTE students are introduced to Agribusiness in Principles of Agriculture courses.  These classes prepare students for futures in sustainable farming, ranching, farm and ranch loan officers, and farm product sales and marketing.  Students interested in Agribusiness can gain experience while in high school by working on a farm or a ranch or intern with a farm equipment company.

Sustainability and the Farm Bill
According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the farm bill has a huge impact on farming livelihoods, as well as how and what kind of food is grown.

Animal Science

Animal science CTE classes are geared toward careers in veterinary science, wildlife and zoology, and animal breeding.  High school students can obtain certification as a licensed veterinary technician, certified veterinary assistant, cattle caretaker, or feed technician.  Animal Science CTE students can gain hands-on knowledge by participating in 4H clubs, volunteering at a local farm, or interning at a veterinary clinic.

Careers in the Animal Science field include animal breeders, animal scientists, veterinarians, medical scientists, wildlife biologists, and zoologists.

CTE Agriculture

Applied Agricultural Engineering

The Applied Agricultural Engineering pathway introduces CTE students to the study of agricultural problems concerned with soil and water conservation, power and machinery, structures, electrification, and processing agricultural products. Students may explore diagnosing, repairing, or overhauling farm machinery, such as tractors, irrigation systems, harvesters, and dairy equipment.  Certifications offered in some schools can include a general OSHA certification, welding, and machinery technician.

Careers in the Applied Agricultural Engineering field include farm equipment mechanics, welders, farm equipment service technicians, small engine mechanics, mobile heavy equipment mechanics, irrigation designers, and agricultural engineers.

Environmental and Natural Resources

CTE courses in Environmental and Natural Resources involve the research, design, and planning for prevention and control of environmental hazards. This program of study may include research for identifying or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect the environment or public health.  Students interested in these CTE courses can earn certifications in water operations, wastewater collections, and hazardous waste operations. They can work to become future environmental engineers, water technologists, zoologists, and wildlife biologists.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife organization offers agriculture and natural resources students a pathway to Texas Parks and Wildlife jobs like game wardens, wildlife technicians, state park operations, and work in fisheries across the state.

Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Wildlife conservation is a growing topic in agriculture studies. Many organizations and companies across the globe are involved in natural resource and wildlife conservation efforts.  

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) saves wildlife and the wilderness worldwide through science, conservation, and education while inspiring people to value nature. Based at the Bronx Zoo, WCS runs a Global Conservation Program that is visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in wildlife, zoos, and aquariums to achieve its conservation mission.

One of the largest and most recognizable private sector advocates for conservation is Bass Pro Shop Conservation. The Bass Pro Shop company prides itself on its partnership with over 250 conservation organizations to restore millions of acres of natural habitat.

Food Science and Technology

Occupations and educational opportunities within Food Science are associated with working in food, fiber, and animal research, along with production and processing. This program of study can also include experience with animal breeding, nutrition, and conducting experiments to improve crops or to increase the resistance of plants to disease or insects.  CTE learners can gain real-world experience by touring or interning at food processing facilities. 

Food Science students can work to become future agronomists, crop advisors, food science technicians, and inspectors.

Plant Science

Plant Science studies focus on the science, research, and business of plants and other organisms. Plant Science CTE teaches students how to apply biology and life science to real-world processes of plants in laboratories or in the field. Students following the Plant Science pathway can look forward to certifications in Landscape Irrigation, Pesticide Application, or Level 1 and 2 Floral Design.  They can earn experience during high school by working at a florist or landscaping business.

Careers in the Plant Science field include florists, tree trimmers/pruners, soil and plant scientists, horticulturists, and biological technicians.

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