Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources

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The following job shadow opportunities cover a wide variety of careers within the agriculture, food, and natural resources pathway.

Put yourself on the path to achieving your goals. Career fields in this pathway include: conservation, agriculture sales, veterinary medicine, precision agriculture, agronomy, landscaping, heavy equipment mechanics, natural resource preservation, and much more!

  1. Review the career exploration day and individual job shadow opportunities available below and select your top two choices. Note: Your choices can be from two different industry categories.
  2. Review the application instructions.
  3. Start your application.

Career Exploration Days

Career exploration days offer a great introduction to specific career fields and allow you to explore a broad scope of careers within that industry, all in one shadow experience. Career Exploration Days are a great option for initial exploration of a specific career or industry. On average, shadows are typically two to four hours in duration.

Agriculture Career Day: Bayer, Williamsburg - VIRTUAL ONLY

Come experience a day of learning how careers in agriculture have an impact on the future of feeding the world. You will understand the educational requirements needed in the fields of agricultural research, seed manufacturing, and operational leadership.  Discover more about Bayer’s cutting-edge product development, from research to creating a final hybrid. If you are interested in crop science, supply chain manufacturing or people leadership, this would be a great opportunity for you!


Agriculture/Food Science Day: Grow Johnson County 

Learn about fruit and vegetable production including topics such as crop planning, soil management, beneficial insect habitat, cover crops, and much more. Get hands-on volunteer experience on the farm. Students will assist with harvesting, washing produce, packing it for distribution to our partners, and assisting with other field work we are doing at the time. Fall 2021 & Spring 2022.


Agriculture & Manufacturing Career Paths:  Kinze Manufacturing, Williamsburg 

Join us as we tour the Kinze Innovation Center & production facility, which showcases Kinze’s rich heritage and highlights the technology shaping the future of farming. We’ll highlight the many opportunities available in production fields such as welding, machine operation, assembly, powder coat painting, and more. In addition to agricultural sales, engineering, and advanced manufacturing career paths. Fall 2021 & Spring 2022.


Agriculture Sales Day: Stutsman, Inc., Hills

As you evaluate career options and opportunities, job security and career diversity is something you probably have on your mind. The agriculture industry provides just that! Learn how the Stutsman sales team serves diverse sectors of the agriculture industry from local farmers and livestock producers, to feed mills and feed retailers. On top of talking with agriculture sales reps from agronomy, feed ingredients and manure equipment, you’ll take a tour of the Stutsman facility in Hills.If you are looking for a rewarding career helping people maximize their success with technology, problem solving, and communication/listening skills, make sure to join us for our ag sales discussion. Fall 2021 & Spring 2022. Cap of 9.


Animal Science and Production Day: C&R Pork, Iowa City

Learn about what it takes to care for pigs and produce food products that will be consumed worldwide.  From conception to production, C & R Pork takes great pride in caring for their livestock properly. Learn about their modern facilities, animal welfare, biosecurity protocols and modern-day production practices. You will learn what it takes to raise and care for pigs from day one until they go to market. There are a variety of responsibilities on the farm. These careers range from animal caretaker to General Manager.  Due to safety and biosecurity protocols, no students will come in contact with live animals. All activities will be held in the main office of the farm. For students interested in the following careers: veterinarian, veterinary tech, animal caretaker, and farm manager. Fall 2021. Cap of 15.


Chemistry and Consumer Product Testing Day: Frontier Co-op, Norway

If you are interested in chemistry and consumer product testing, then this day is for you! Experience the life of a quality analyst at Frontier Co-op. Learn about the main testing methods used to ensure high quality spices, culinary herbs and essential oils. Gain insight into the diverse set of quality indicators, as well as regulatory requirements used at Frontier Co-op.   Fall 2021 & Spring 2022. Cap of 6 each day.


City of Fairfax Public Works Day: Fairfax

Explore careers in Public Works which is a broad category of infrastructure projects conducted by local government for health, safety, and recreational benefit for a community. Learn how chemistry and microbiology play a key role in Public Works. Areas of Public Works include: water treatment and management, landscaping and ground maintenance, equipment maintenance, and general public works. Two locations will be visited so students need to transport themselves from one location to the other. Fall 2021 & Spring 2022.


Conservation Day: Johnson County Conservation, Oxford

Interested in Conservation but not sure what career?  Attend the exploration session from Johnson County Conservation Board.  Learn about career opportunities such as a conservationist, park ranger, environmental education and a natural resource manager (field botanist) all within the County Conservation Board.  Finish the day by touring projects under way at the County Park.  Cap of 6.


Crop Science and Precision Farming Day: C&R Pork Farms, Iowa City

Learn details about what it takes to operate a row crop farm. Modern day agriculture is highly technical. We collect a large amount of data from our tractors, combines and other farm equipment. We use this data to help us make farming more sustainable, raise more crops and remain profitable. Modern day farming involves technology, people management, sustainable production practices, agronomy and business decisions. Come spend a day on the farm and learn what it takes to run a successful operation. For students interested in the following careers: agronomy, farm manager, ag mechanic, diesel mechanic, and heavy machinery operator.  Spring 2022. Cap of 15.


Geology/Hydrogeology Day: Iowa Geological Survey, Coralville - VIRTUAL ONLY

Have you ever wondered where your drinking water comes from or why Iowa has so much limestone bedrock? The Iowa Geological Survey (IGS) employs scientists who work at the forefront of solving problems that are critical to the safety and prosperity of all Iowans. The IGS uses a variety of data sources and the latest technology to address issues related to the quality and quantity of groundwater, aggregate and mineral resources, geologic hazard mapping, and more. Meet IGS staff and learn about careers in the earth sciences get a tour of the IGS Rock Library facility at the University of Iowa Oakdale Research Campus.


Jones County Conservation Exploration Day: Central Park and Wapsipinicon State Park Anamosa

Thinking about a career in Conservation?  Attend the Jones County Conservation Career Exploration Day and visit two Jones County Parks.  Find out what park rangers, environmental educators, natural resource managers, and conservation directors do on a daily basis.


Microbiologist and Lab Sciences: JMI Laboratories - VIRTUAL ONLY

If you want a career in microbiology or lab sciences - a career that emphasizes hands-on and technical science skills, then choose this job shadow.  Our host will cover microbiology and lab sciences as it relates to antimicrobial surveillance, molecular studies, drug development, clinical studies, and microbiome investigation.


STEM Careers in Agriculture: ISU Extension - VIRTUAL ONLY

Explore the available STEM careers in the agriculture sector. If you know you’re interested in agriculture but you just need to know what opportunities are available, then this is the perfect job shadow for you. Learn more about becoming an agricultural or environmental engineer, an agronomist, and a specialist in livestock.


Sustainability Careers & Green Jobs: Cedar Rapids

Do you have an interest in the environment, resource conservation, or climate action?  The City of Cedar Rapids will host a panel of professionals highlighting careers that create sustainability products or services (stormwater coordinator, planner, local food coordinator).  Find out how careers in any field can work to reduce the environmental impact of their processes and operations (facility manager, traffic engineer, parks superintendent, fleet manager).


USDA Natural Resources Day: Anamosa

Do you like the outdoors and care about our environment? Here’s your opportunity to learn how district & resource conservationists, soil conservation technicians, soil scientists, civil engineers, and civil engineering technicians work to protect and preserve nature in partnership with landowners and farmers. You may get into the field to understand the important role of these careers, and hear about strategies for improving soil and water quality. Spring 2022.


Veterinary Science Day: Kirkwood Main Campus, Cedar Rapids - VIRTUAL ONLY

Hosted by Kirkwood’s Animal Health Technology program, learn about careers as a veterinarian, veterinary technician, and veterinary assistant. Hear from students currently enrolled in the program, speak with a veterinarian and experience interactive rotations including animal examinations, dental, x-ray, lab, and surgery. Fall 2021 & Spring 2022.


Water Resource Careers: Iowa Flood Center, Iowa City - VIRTUAL ONLY

Discover rewarding careers that are helping to reduce flooding, improve water quality, and address the impacts of climate change on water resources in Iowa. Jobs in engineering, communications, watershed coordination and planning, and graduate student opportunities will be discussed.


Well Drilling and Pump Services Day: Gingerich Well & Pump Service, Kalona

Are you looking for a career where you can be out and about, not tied to an office? Do you like to be hands-on? Are you looking for a career where you can gain on the job training? Discover what it means to have a career as a heavy equipment mechanic, a fabricator (welder), a drilling service provider (for water wells) and a pump service provider. Observe a drill rig and a pump rig in action. Plus, learn about wells, aquifers and the importance of groundwater preservation.

Individual/Small Group Job Shadow Opportunities

Individual/small group shadows allow for a deeper dive into specific careers, shadowing a professional(s) in that field. These small group shadows are perfect for those who are more confident in their career interests and have had some initial exposure to that career.

Job shadows may be individualized or include a handful of students, depending on demand. On average, shadows are typically 2 – 4 hours in duration.

Careers to Shadow

 

Ag Mechanic

Also referred to as Agricultural Equipment Mechanic, Combine Mechanic or Dairy Equipment Installer. Diagnose, adjust, repair or overhaul farm machinery and vehicles such as tractors, harvesters, dairy equipment, and irrigation systems.


Agriculture Sales

Sell goods to wholesalers, manufacturers or farmers. Agriculture sales representatives may sell anything from animal feed, seed, pesticides, equipment and more. Technical or scientific knowledge may be required in such areas as biology, engineering, chemistry and electronics; normally obtained from at least two years of post-secondary education.


Agronomist

Conduct research in breeding, physiology, production, yield and management of crops and agricultural plants or trees, shrubs and nursery stock. Study growth and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, biological and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.


Conservationist

A person involved in conservation by protecting animals, plants and natural resources, or to prevent the loss or waste of natural resources.


Landscaper

Landscape or maintain property using tools and equipment. Workers typically perform a variety of tasks, which may include any combination of the following: sod laying, mowing, trimming, planting, watering, fertilizing, digging, raking, sprinkler installation and installation of mortarless segmental concrete masonry wall units


Microbiologist

Investigate the growth, structure, development and other characteristics of microscopic organisms such as bacteria, algae or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease, or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.


Naturalist

Plan, develop and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural and scientific features of national, state or local parks.


Park Ranger

Park rangers, who generally work for municipal parks departments, state parks systems or for the National Park Service (NPS), may have job duties that primarily encompass law enforcement or protective services, or they may perform duties specific to the interpretation of cultural or historic points of interest within the parks they serve. Depending on the role, they may focus on enforcing park rules and regulations, or they may spend the better part of their day assisting visitors, giving group tours and presenting visitor programs.


Precision Agriculture (GPS)

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 use computers to develop or analyze maps, or use remote sensing images to compare physical topography with data on soils, fertilizer, pests or weather.


Veterinarian

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.


Veterinarian Tech

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. Clean and sterilize instruments and materials and maintain equipment and machines. May assist a veterinarian during surgery.


Wastewater Management

Operate or control an entire process or system of machines, often through the use of control boards, to transfer or treat water or wastewater.