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AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND NATURAL RESOURCES CAREERS/ JOB OPPORTUNITIES

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This group of careers includes jobs in agriculture, the production of food, and the development of natural resources. Often training in education for natural production and resource management bridges the two primary areas energy and agriculture thereby creating job opportunities in energy and oil production and distribution, and jobs in commodities such as wood and animal products.

Table of Contents

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Agricultural Equipment Operators

They drive and control farm equipment to till soil and to plant, as well as cultivate and harvest crops.

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They may also perform tasks, such as crop baling (a piece of farm machinery used to compress a cut and raked crop such as hay, cotton, flax, straw, silage etc. into compact bales that are easy to handle, transport and store. Bales are often configured to dry and preserve some intrinsic (the nutritional) value of plants bundled. Different types of balers are commonly used, each producing a different type of bale –rectangular or cylindrical, of various sizes, bound with twine, strapping, netting or wire.

Agricultural inspectors

They inspect agricultural commodities, processing equipment and facilities, and fish and logging operations, to ensure compliance with regulations and laws governing health, quality and safety

Agricultural Science Teachers – Post Secondary

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They teach courses in the agricultural sciences such as agronomy (the science and technology of producing and using plants in agriculture for food, fuel, fiber, recreation and land restoration), dairy sciences, fisheries management and agricultural soil conservation.

Animal Breeders

Animal Breeders

They select and breed animals according to their genealogy, characteristics and offspring. This career may require knowledge of artificial insemination techniques and equipment use. It may also include keeping records of heat periods, births etc.

Animal Scientists

They conduct research in genetics, nutrition, reproduction, growth and development of domestic farm animals.

Butchers and Meat Cutters

Butchers and Meat Cutters
Butchers and Meat Cutters

They cut, trim or prepare consumer-sized portions of meat for use or sale in retail establishments.

Continuous Mining Machine Operators

They operate self-propelled mining machines that rip coal, metal and nonmetal ores, rock, stone, or sand from the mine face and load it onto conveyors or into shuttle cars in continuous operation.

Environmental Compliance Inspectors

They inspect and investigate sources of pollution to protect the public and environment, and ensue conformance with Federal, State and local regulations and ordinances.

Environmental Engineering Technicians

They apply theory and principles of environmental engineering to modify, test, and operate equipment and devices used in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental problems, including waste treatment and site remediation, under the direction of engineering staff or scientist. They may also assist in the development of environmental remediation devices.

Environmental Engineers

They Research, design, plan, or perform engineering duties in prevention, control, and remediation of environmental hazards using various engineering disciplines. Their work may also include waste treatment, site remediation, or pollution control technology.

Environmental Science and Health Protection Technicians

They perform Laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health, under the direction of an environmental scientist, engineer or other specialist. They may also collect samples of gases, soil, water, and other materials for testing.

Explosives Workers, Ordnance Handling Experts, and Blasters

They place and detonate explosives to demolish structures or loosen, remove, or displace earth, rock, or other materials. They may also perform specialized handling, storage, and accounting procedures.

Fallers

They use axes or chainsaws to fell trees using knowledge of tree characteristics and cutting techniques to control direction fall and minimize tree damage.

Farm and Home Management Advisors

They advise, instruct, and assist individuals and families engaged in agriculture, agricultural-related processes, or home economics activities. They also demonstrate procedures and apply research findings to solve problems, as well as instruct and train in development, sales, and the use of machinery and equipment to promote general welfare. Includes feed and farm management advisors, home economists, and extension service advisors.

Farm Equipment Mechanics and Service Technicians

They diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul farm machinery and vehicles, such as tractors, harvesters, dairy equipment, and irrigation systems.

Farmworkers and Laborers – Crop

They manually plant, cultivate, and harvest vegetables, fruits, nuts and field crops. Use hand tools, such as trowels, shovels, hoes, tampers, pruning hooks, shears, and knives. Their duties may also include soil tilling applying fertilizers, transplanting, weeding, thinning, or pruning crops; applying pesticides, cleaning, packing, and loading harvested products. They may also repair fences and farm buildings, or participate in irrigation activities.

 Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse

They manually plant, cultivate, and harvest vegetables, fruits, nuts, horticultural specialties, and field crops. Use hand tools, such as shovels, trowels, hoes, tampers, pruning hooks, shears, and knives. Duties may include tilling soil and applying fertilizers; transplanting, weeding, thinning, or pruning crops; applying pesticides; or cleaning, grading, sorting, packing, and loading harvested products. They may also construct trellises, repair fences and farm buildings, or participate in irrigation activities.

Farmworkers, Farm, Ranch, and Aqua Cultural Animals

They Attend to live farm, ranch, or aqua cultural animals that may include cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses and other equines, poultry, finfish, shellfish, and bees. Attend to animals produced for animal products, such as meat, fur, skins, feathers, eggs, milk, and honey. Their duties may include feeding, watering, herding, grazing, castrating, branding, de-beaking, weighing, catching, and loading animals. They may also maintain records on animals; examine animals to detect diseases and injuries; assist in birth deliveries; and administer medications, vaccinations, or insecticides as appropriate. May clean and maintain animal housing areas. Includes workers who shear wool from sheep, and collect eggs in hatcheries.

Financial Managers, Branch or Department

They direct and coordinate financial activities of workers in a branch, office, or department of an establishment, such as branch bank, brokerage firm, risk and insurance department, or credit department.

First-Line Supervisors of Agricultural Crop and Horticultural Workers

They directly supervise and coordinate activities of agricultural crop or horticultural workers.

First-Line Supervisors of Animal Husbandry and Animal Care Workers

They directly supervise and coordinate activities of animal husbandry or animal care workers.

First-Line Supervisors of Aqua Cultural Workers

They directly supervise and coordinate activities of aqua cultural workers.

First-Line Supervisors of Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Workers

They directly supervise and coordinate the activities of agricultural, forestry, aqua cultural, and related workers.

First-Line Supervisors of Landscaping, Lawn Service, and Grounds keeping Workers

They directly supervise and coordinate activities of workers engaged in landscaping or grounds keeping activities. Work may involve reviewing contracts to ascertain service, machine, and workforce requirements; answering inquiries from potential customers regarding methods, material, and price ranges; and preparing estimates according to labor, material, and machine costs.

First-Line Supervisors of Logging Workers

They directly supervise and coordinate activities of logging workers.

First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers

They directly supervise and coordinate activities of retail sales workers in an establishment or department. Duties may include management functions, such as purchasing, budgeting, accounting, and personnel work, in addition to supervisory duties.

Fish and Game Wardens

They patrol assigned area to prevent fish and game law violations. Investigate reports of damage to crops or property by wildlife. Compile biological data.

Fishers and Related Fishing Workers

They use nets, fishing rods, traps, or other equipment to catch and gather fish or other aquatic animals from rivers, lakes, or oceans, for human consumption or other uses. May haul game onto ship

Food and Tobacco Roasting, Baking, and Drying Machine Operators and Tenders

They operate or tend food or tobacco roasting, baking, or drying equipment, including hearth ovens, kiln driers, roasters, char kilns, and vacuum drying equipment.

Food Batch makers

They set up and operate equipment that mixes or blends ingredients used in the manufacturing of food products. Includes candy makers and cheese makers.

Food Cooking Machine Operators and Tenders

They operate or tend cooking equipment, such as steam cooking vats, deep fry cookers, pressure cookers, kettles, and boilers, to prepare food products.

Food Scientists and Technologists

They use chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, sugar, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, preserve, store and distribute food.

Forest and Conservation Technicians

They provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, forests, or related natural resources. May compile data pertaining to size, content, condition, and other characteristics of forest tracts, under the direction of foresters; or train and lead forest workers in forest propagation, fire prevention and suppression. They may also conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats.

Forest and Conservation Workers

Under supervision, they perform manual labor necessary to develop, maintain, or protect areas such as forests, forested areas, woodlands, wetlands, and rangelands through such activities as raising and transporting seedlings; combating insects, pests, and diseases harmful to plant life; and building structures to control water, erosion, and leaching of soil. Also includes forester aides, seedling pullers, and tree planters.

Foresters

They manage public and private forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber’s worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contacts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, water quality, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees for healthy growth, and determine optimal harvesting schedules.

Gas Compressor and Gas Pumping Station Operators

They operate steam, gas, electric motor, or internal combustion engine driven compressors. Transmit, compress, or recover gases, such as butane, nitrogen, hydrogen, and natural gas.

Gas Plant Operators

They distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.

Geological and Petroleum Technicians

They assist scientists or engineers in the use of electronic, sonic, or nuclear measuring instruments in both laboratory and production activities to obtain data indicating potential resources such as metallic ore, minerals, gas, coal, or petroleum. Analyze mud and drill cuttings.

They also chart pressure, temperature, and other characteristics of wells or bore holes. Investigate and collect information leading to the possible discovery of new metallic ore, minerals, gas, coal, or petroleum deposits.

Geological Sample Test Technicians

They test or analyze geological samples, crude oil, or minerals to detect presence of petroleum, gas, or mineral deposits indicating potential for exploration or production or to determine physical or chemical properties to ensure that products meet quality standards.

Geophysical Data Technicians

They measure, record, or evaluate geological data, using sonic, electronic, electrical, seismic, or gravity-measuring instruments to prospect for oil or gas. May collect or evaluate core samples or cuttings.

Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products

They grade, sort, or classify unprocessed food and other agricultural products by size, weight, color, or condition.

Helpers–Extraction Workers

They help extraction craft workers, such as earth drillers, blasters and explosives workers, derrick operators, and mining machine operators, by performing duties requiring less skill. Duties include supplying equipment or cleaning work area.

Hunters and Trappers

Hunt and trap wild animals for human consumption, fur, feed, bait, or other purposes.

Loading Machine Operators, Underground Mining;They operate underground loading machine to load coal, ore, or rock into shuttle or mine car or onto conveyors. Loading equipment may include power shovels, hoisting engines equipped with cable-drawn scraper or scoop, or machines equipped with gathering arms and conveyor.

Log Graders and Scalers

They grade logs or estimate the marketable content or value of logs or pulpwood in sorting yards, millpond, log deck, or similar locations. Inspect logs for defects or measure logs to determine volume.

Logging Equipment Operators

They drive logging tractor or wheeled vehicle equipped with one or more accessories such as bulldozer blade, frontal shear, grapple, logging arch, cable winches, hoisting rack, or crane boom, to fell tree; to skid, load, unload, or stack logs; or to pull stumps or clear brush.

Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers

They use hand or hand tools to perform routine cutting and trimming of meat, poultry, and seafood.

Mine Cutting and Channeling Machine Operators

They operate machinery such as long wall shears, plows, and cutting machines to cut or channel along the face or seams of coal mines, stone quarries, or other mining surfaces to facilitate blasting, separating, or removing minerals or materials from mines or from the Earth’s surface. Includes shale planers.

Mine Shuttle Car Operators

They operate diesel or electric-powered shuttle car in underground mine to transport materials from working face to mine cars or conveyor.

Natural Sciences Managers

They plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and research and development in these fields.

Nonfarm Animal Caretakers

They feed, water, groom, bathe, exercise, or otherwise care for pets and other nonfarm animals, such as dogs, cats, ornamental fish or birds, zoo animals, and mice. Work in settings such as kennels, animal shelters, zoos, cruises, and aquariums. They may also keep records of feedings, treatments, and animals received or discharged. May clean, disinfect, and repair cages, pens, or fish tanks as well.

Nursery Workers

They work in nursery facilities or at customer location planting, cultivating, harvesting, and transplanting trees, shrubs, or plants.

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

They review, evaluate, and analyze work environments and design programs and procedures to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors. May conduct inspections and enforce adherence to laws and regulations governing the health and safety of individuals. They may be employed in the public or private sector. Includes environmental protection officers.

Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

They collect data on work environments for analysis by occupational health and safety specialists. Implement and conduct evaluation of programs designed to limit chemical, physical, biological, and ergonomic risks to workers.

Parts Salespersons

They sell spare and replacement parts and equipment in repair shop or parts store.

Pest Control Workers

They apply or release chemical solutions or toxic gases and set traps to kill or remove pests and vermin that infest buildings and surrounding areas.

Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation

They mix or apply pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides through sprays, dusts, vapors, soil incorporation, or chemical application on trees, shrubs, lawns, or botanical crops. Usually requires specific training and State or Federal certification.

Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gougers

They operate or control petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.

Precision Agriculture Technicians

They apply geospatial technologies, including geographic information systems (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS), to agricultural production or management activities, such as pest scouting, site-specific pesticide application, yield mapping, or variable-rate irrigation. May also use computers to develop or analyze maps or remote sensing images to compare physical topography with data on soils, fertilizer, pests, or weather.

Pump Operators, Except Wellhead Pumpers

They tend, control, or operate power-driven, stationary, or portable pumps and manifold systems to transfer gases, oil, other liquids, slurries, or powdered materials to and from various vessels and processes.

Range Managers

Research or study range land management practices to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife.

Recycling and Reclamation Workers

Prepare and sort materials or products for recycling. Identify and remove hazardous substances. Dismantle components of products such as appliances.

Recycling Coordinators

Supervise curbside and drop-off recycling programs for municipal governments or private firms.

Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors

Collect and dump refuse or recyclable materials from containers into truck. May drive truck.

Rock Splitters, Quarry

Separate blocks of rough dimension stone from quarry mass using jackhammer and wedges.

Roof Bolters, Mining

Operate machinery to install roof support bolts in underground mine.

Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas

Set up or operate a variety of drills to remove underground oil and gas, or remove core samples for testing during oil and gas exploration.

Roustabouts, Oil and Gas

Assemble or repair oil field equipment using hand and power tools. Perform other tasks as needed.

Sawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Wood

They set up, operate, or tend wood sawing machines. May operate CNC equipment. Includes lead sawyers.

Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas, and Mining

They operate equipment to increase oil flow from producing wells or to remove stuck pipe, casing, tools, or other obstructions from drilling wells. May also perform similar services in mining exploration operations. Includes fishing-tool technicians.

Slaughterers and Meat Packers

They work in slaughtering, meat packing, or wholesale establishments performing precision functions involving the preparation of meat. Work may include specialized slaughtering tasks, cutting standard or premium cuts of meat for marketing, making sausage, or wrapping meats.

Soil and Plant Scientists

They conduct research in breeding, physiology, production, yield, and management of crops and agricultural plants or trees, shrubs, and nursery stock, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, biological, and mineralogical composition of soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.

Soil and Water Conservationists

They plan or develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil or water conservation, or sound land use.

Tree Trimmers and Pruners

Using sophisticated climbing and rigging techniques, they cut away dead or excess branches from trees or shrubs to maintain right-of-way for roads, sidewalks, or utilities, or to improve appearance, health, and value of tree. Prune or treat trees or shrubs using handsaws, hand pruners, clippers, and power pruners.

They work off the ground in the tree canopy and may use truck-mounted lifts. 

Veterinarians

They diagnose, treat, or research diseases and injuries of animals. Includes veterinarians who conduct research and development, inspect livestock, or care for pets and companion animals.

Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers

They feed, water, and examine pets and other nonfarm animals for signs of illness, disease, or injury in laboratories and animal hospitals and clinics. Clean and disinfect cages and work areas, and sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment. May also provide routine post-operative care, administer medication orally or topically, or prepare samples for laboratory examination under the supervision of veterinary or laboratory animal technologists or technicians, veterinarians, or scientists.

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

They perform medical tests in a laboratory environment for use in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in animals. Prepare vaccines and serums for prevention of diseases. Prepare tissue samples, take blood samples, and execute laboratory tests, such as urinalysis and blood counts. They also clean and sterilize instruments and materials and maintain equipment machines. May assist a veterinarian during surgery.

Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators

They operate or control an entire process or system of machines, often through the use of control boards, to transfer or treat water or waste water.

Wellhead Pumpers

Operate power pumps and auxiliary equipment to produce flow of oil or gas from wells in oil field.

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

They study the origins, behavior, diseases, genetics, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management. May collect and analyze biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water habitats.

As the world population expands, both agricultural and energy/resource production have become fields of great innovation. The career group now supports any number of highly advanced technical and management-level professions. Advanced scientific and technological understanding is now required and encouraged in preparatory education

Specialized degrees in agriculture production and natural resources are now commonplace. Farming jobs, for example, were once relegated to a less-educated workforce. However, with recent innovation and advancement, it is an exciting field with bright prospects and exacting skill requirements. For management and high-level support of any of the listed fields (natural resources, commodities, farming, and agriculture), advanced degrees through PHD educational levels are encouraged

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