Ag, Food, Natural Resources

Kearney High School has a variety of programs of study in the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR) SLC. These include Agribusiness Systems, Animal Systems, Environmental Service Systems, Food Products and Processing Systems, Natural Resource Systems, Plant Systems, Power/Structure/Technical Systems. Its designated color at Kearney High School is GREEN.

Agribusiness Systems Overview

Agribusiness is the coordination of all activities that contribute to the production, processing, marketing, distribution, financing and development of agricultural commodities and resources. This includes food, fiber, wood products, natural resources, horticulture, and other plant and animal products and services. Agribusiness is a high-tech industry that uses satellite systems, computer databases and spreadsheets, biotechnology and many other innovations to increase efficiency and profitability.

Market pressures will continue the long-term trend toward consolidation into fewer and larger farms and ranches over the next decade. Good opportunities will continue for people in agribusiness who support the production of agricultural commodities.

Animal Systems Overview

People who work in the Animal Systems pathway work to develop better, more efficient ways of producing and processing meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products. They study genetics, nutrition, reproduction, growth and development of domesticated farm animals. Some individuals inspect and grade livestock food products, purchase livestock or work in technical sales or marketing. Others advise agricultural producers on how to properly upgrade animal housing facilities properly, lower mortality rates, handle waste matter or increase production of animal products, such as milk or eggs. Animal care workers train, feed, water, groom, bathe and exercise animals. They also clean, disinfect and repair their cages.

Food research will result in more job opportunities for food scientists and technologists. This research will be stimulated by a heightened public focus on diet, health, and food safety, as well as domestic and global issues. Employment of agricultural managers, farm workers, and graders and sorters is projected to rise, and in response to an increase in the demand for fish, there has been a steady growth in the field of aquaculture over the past 15 years. The opportunities for veterinarians are expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2024.

Environmental Service Systems Overview

People who work in the Environmental Service Systems pathway are involved in water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal and public health issues. Environmental engineers and technicians conduct hazardous-waste management studies, evaluate the significance of the hazard, offer analysis on treatment and containment, and develop regulations to prevent mishaps. They design municipal sewage and industrial wastewater systems. They analyze scientific data, research environmental projects and perform quality control checks.

Employment of environmental engineers and technicians is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations throughout the next decade. More environmental engineers and technicians will be needed to meet environmental regulations and to develop methods of cleaning up existing hazards. A shift in emphasis toward preventing problems rather than controlling those that already exist, as well as increasing public health concerns, also will spur demand for these positions. Jobs in environmental service systems, such as water safety with 117,000 jobs and hazardous materials with 43,700 jobs, can provide good opportunities for qualified applicants. These opportunities are the result of a combination of factors relatively few applicants, the need for a high number of replacements each year and an average growth rate.

Food Products and Processing Systems Overview

People who work in the Food Products and Processing pathway discover new food sources, analyze food content and develop ways to process, preserve, and package or store food according to industry and government regulations. They create new food products to meet consumer needs and inspect food- processing areas to ensure that sanitation, safety, quality and waste management standards are met.

An expanding population and an increasing public focus on diet, health and food safety will result in strong job opportunities for food scientists and technologists. Employment of agricultural and food scientists is projected to grow as research into agricultural production methods and techniques continues.

Natural Resources Systems

People who work in the Natural Resource Systems pathway perform a variety of tasks from helping to develop, maintain, and manage the forest and natural environment to catching and trapping various types of marine life for human consumption, animal feed, bait and other uses. Forest and rangelands supply wood products, livestock forage, minerals and water; serve as sites for recreational activities; and provide habitats for wildlife. Conservation scientists and foresters manage, develop, use and help protect these and other natural resources.

Most employment growth of conservation scientists and foresters is expected to be in state and local government-owned forest lands, particularly in the western states. Most employment opportunities will be in the private sector consulting firms, scientific research and development services. Heightened demand for American timber and wood pellets will help increase the overall job prospects for conservation scientists and foresters. Jobs in private forests especially are likely grow alongside demand for timber and pellets.

Plant Systems Overview

People who work in the Plant Systems pathway study plants and their growth. This helps producers of food, feed and fiber crops continue to feed a growing population while conserving natural resources and maintaining the environment. Individuals in this pathway also develop ways to improve the nutritional value of crops and the quality of seeds. They use genetic engineering to develop crops resistant to pests and drought.

Demand for food and fiber will increase because of the growth in world population and in demand for U.S. agricultural exports as developing nations improve their economies and personal incomes. Plant scientists are using new avenues of research in biotechnology to develop plants and food crops that require less fertilizer, fewer pesticides and herbicides, and even less water for growth. These new advances will continue to provide a demand for careers in plant science.

Power, Structural, and Technical Systems Overview

People who work in the Power, Structural and Technical Systems pathway apply knowledge of engineering, hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics, power, structures, and controls to the field of agriculture. They design agricultural structures as well as machinery and equipment. They develop ways to conserve soil and water and to improve the processing of agricultural products.

Employment of individuals in the Power, Structural and Technical Systems pathway is expected to grow slower than the average for all occupations through 2024. However, the need to increase the efficiency of agricultural production systems and to reduce environmental damage should maintain demand for these workers. New, more efficient designs for traditional agricultural engineering projects such as irrigation, storage, and worker safety systems will also maintain demand for these workers. Growing populations and stronger global competition will continue to pressure farmers to find more efficient means of production, and toward this end, they will need agricultural engineers.