Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources

The Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR) career cluster prepares learners for careers in the planning, implementation, production, management, processing, and/or marketing of agricultural commodities and services. This includes food, fiber, wood products, natural resources, horticulture, and other plant and animal products. It also includes related professional, technical, and educational services.

Employment opportunities are expanding in this career cluster area with an average growth of nine to 21 percent annually in Tennessee between the different programs of study. Over 60,000 high-skilled agricultural job openings are expected annually in the United States, with only 35,400 graduates with AFNR experience to fill these jobs. This demand will increase for those who provide and market an expanding array of food, forest, and veterinary medical consumer products to a growing world population. Continued globalization of the food, agricultural, and natural resources system will increase opportunities for graduates who understand the socio-economic factors that define international markets. Graduates who know how to satisfy the diverse consumer needs and preferences in different cultures, and who have the language skills to communicate effectively, will have the best opportunities to be employed by the growing number of multinational businesses.

Through the AFNR career cluster, students are provided opportunities for leadership development, personal growth, and career success. Instruction is delivered through three major components:

  • Classroom/Laboratory instruction
  • Supervised Agricultural Experience programs
  • Student Leadership (FFA)

Programs of Study

The Agribusiness program of study teaches students to apply the economic and business principles involved in the sale and supply of agricultural products to a wide range of careers across the industry. In addition to building foundational knowledge of finance and marketing principles as they apply to agricultural businesses, courses in this program of study teach students essential leadership, management, and communications skills to help them succeed in future agribusiness careers. Upon completion of this POS, students will also be prepared for advanced business courses at the postsecondary level.

Course Standards

Agriculture, Engineering, Industrial, and Mechanical Systems prepares students for careers or further study in engineering, environmental science, agricultural design and research, agricultural and industrial maintenance, agricultural mechanics. Courses in this program of study address navigation, maintenance, repair, and overhaul of electrical motors, hydraulic systems, and fuel-powered engines. In addition, special emphasis is given to the many modern applications of geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) to achieve various agricultural goals, preparing students for immediate application of these skills in a career setting or postsecondary institution.

Course Standards


Environmental and Natural Resource Management is designed for students interested in learning more about becoming good stewards of our environment and natural resources, as an environmental scientist, conservationist, forester, or wildlife manager. This program of study covers environmental impacts, energy consumption, environmental public policy, and fundamental science and management of ecosystems, with special attention given to current agricultural practices that support the healthy and sustainable cultivation of major crops. Upon completion of this POS, students will be prepared for a range of careers associated with the science and management of plants, soils, wildlife, and natural resources.

Course Standards

Food Science is a new program of study designed to introduce students to the growing fields of food science and technology. Content covered in this POS includes plant and animal structural anatomy, systems physiology, economics of production, genetics and biotechnology, and other management approaches associated with plant and animal production. Advanced courses explore food safety and sanitation, foodborne pathogens, food-related standards and regulations, characteristics and properties of food products, processing and grading techniques and skills, and food labeling and packaging. Upon completion of this course, students will be equipped with the technical knowledge and skills necessary for further education and careers in food science.

Course Standards

Horticulture Science prepares students for future careers in the management of greenhouse operations, horticulture production, landscape design and maintenance, and turf management. Content covered in this POS includes principles of plant health, growth, reproduction, and biotechnology, principles of hydroponics and aquaponics, greenhouse structures, growing media, site analysis and planning, principles of design, and plant selection and care techniques. Upon completion of this POS, students will be prepared to pursue careers or further study in the horticultural sciences.

Course Standards

Veterinary and Animal Science is designed for students interested in learning more about becoming a veterinarian, vet tech, vet assistant, or pursuing a variety of scientific, health, or agriculture professions. In this program of study, course content covers such topics and skills as principles of health and disease, basic animal care and nursing, clinical and laboratory procedures, and the anatomical/physiological systems of a range of small and large animals. Upon completion of this POS, students will be prepared to pursue further study in the veterinary and animal sciences at the postsecondary level.

Course Standards


Small Animal Science

Large Animal Science

Veterinary Science -and/or- Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) in Agriculture

Supervised Agricultural Experience

  • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (C03H14) is a supplemental course which can be offered in addition to courses within the Agricultural Engineering and Applied Technologies program of study but does not count toward concentrator status. 
  • Work-Based Learning: Career Practicum (C25H16) course may substitute for the Level 4 offering in all programs of study.
  • Cambridge courses are supplemental courses which can be offered in addition to courses within the career cluster but do not count toward concentrator status.