hands watering a plant
two girls with plants

Plant Science/Natural Resources

  • Agricultural Scientists study plants and soils so they are able to manage plant science resources, develop new techniques, find favorable ways to impact production and use as well as protect sustainability.  In Idaho, this small occupation compared to most pays quite well. The median wage is $69,600 per year. Demand for this occupation is driven by demand for new food products and increased food safety. Most growth in this occupation will be in the private sector as companies develop new food product, drugs, and crops.  In the next ten years, many workers are expected to retire which will increase the demand for people with these skills and abilities. The work is usually indoors and out. Most work in laboratories and offices yet conduct tests and experiments on research farms outdoors.  Licensing is required if the work involves providing technical advice and/or supervision on toxic pesticides.  If so, one must have a pesticide consultant license.  In comparison, in Idaho, Farmers and farm managers earn $60,290 per year in Idaho, and across the country annual openings are considered 'very high' in this very large occupation. In contrast, in Southwest Idaho, openings are listed as 'very few.' Demand is declining sharply because farms are consolidating and suitable land is becoming more expensive.  One venue of growth is in specialty farming practices such as organic farming, growing plants for nurseries, and in community-supported agriculture (CSA) farming where the demand to buy food directly from farmers is rising in popularity. Most farmers work alone with low levels of contact with others and around 71% are self-employed. They spend most of their time in a tractor or other type of farming equipment. They often work 7 days a week and taking time off can be quite difficult depending on the time of year. Modern farming methods and global markets have created very sophisticated agricultural methods and practices.  To be competitive, farmers need education and experience in order to maximize plant yields. A successful farmer must understand market forces that impact results, often coordinate efforts with related government farming programs, and develop and actualize sound business strategies,  The work in very physical and includes long hours. The job can be very rewarding for farmers take pride in the fact that they are able to work the land and bring food to their neighbors, community and the world. (Data Source: Idaho CIS, 2016)
    Throughout the Plant Science Program, in a greenhouse environment, students learn to grow plants from start to maturity while learning plant structures, reproduction and propagation. Many students participate in FFA where they learn valuable leadership skills. The program includes these robust offerings:
    Home High School Classes (if not offered, students take at the CTE Center):
    Horticulture 1 and 2 - produce and mantain greenhouse nursery plants
    Botany Plant and Soil Science - explore soil and plant relationships and how it affects production
    2017-18 CTE Center Classes:
    Natural Resources 1 - examine human land-use and the interactions between fields of study related to natural resources
    Natural Resources 2 - investigate the interactions and overlaps of animal science, plant science and environmental science 
    Related and Recommended:
    Personal Skills Development (Speech)
    Introduction to Small Gasoline Engines
    Introduction to Mechanics
    Consumer Economics/Ag Business
    Advanced Leadership in Ag and Marketing

    Also available - Program Brochures