Agricultural Equipment Operators
Also called: Equipment Operator, Farm Equipment Operator, Loader Operator, Rake Operator
Produced by CareerOneStop
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Agricultural workers need physical strength and stamina to keep up with their tasks, but they also need technical skills and strong teamwork. These workers maintain crops and tend to livestock, under the supervision of farmers and ranchers. Although some agricultural workers do all types of work around a farm, many focus on a few tasks. Agricultural equipment operators use tractors, combines, conveyor belts, and other farm equipment to plow and sow seeds, then maintain and harvest crops. They also perform minor repairs on the equipment. Crop, nursery, and greenhouse farmworkers and laborers grow fruit, nuts, trees, flowers, and other crops through every phase from planting and pruning, to harvesting and loading for shipment. Farm and ranch animal farmworkers feed and care for animals, including cattle, pigs, goats, fish, and bees. They monitor their health, clean shelters, and administer medications or insecticides. Animal breeders select and breed animals to produce offspring with desired characteristics, such as chickens that lay more eggs. Some raise cats, dogs, and other pets. Many agricultural workers have seasonal schedules, with longer hours during planting or harvesting times. The work is nearly all outdoors in all kinds of weather, and involves lifting, crouching, and carrying heavy tools. Risks include exposure to pesticides, and injury from farm machinery or farm animals. Typically, specific education is not required, and on-the-job training is provided. Animal breeders need a high school diploma or equivalent, and must be licensed in some states. A valid driver’s license is required for some jobs.
What they do:Drive and control equipment to support agricultural activities such as tilling soil; planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops; feeding and herding livestock; or removing animal waste. May perform tasks such as crop baling or hay bucking. May operate stationary equipment to perform post-harvest tasks such as husking, shelling, threshing, and ginning.
On the job, you would:
- Load and unload crops or containers of materials, manually or using conveyors, handtrucks, forklifts, or transfer augers.
- Mix specified materials or chemicals, and dump solutions, powders, or seeds into planter or sprayer machinery.
- Spray fertilizer or pesticide solutions to control insects, fungus and weed growth, and diseases, using hand sprayers.
Arts and Humanities
- English language
Engineering and Technology
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
- quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat
- use your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down
Hand and Finger Use
- keep your arm or hand steady
- hold or move items with your hands
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Data base user interface and query software
- Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, & Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, & Tenders, Metal & Plastic
- Motion Picture Projectionists
- Multiple Machine Tool Setters, Operators, & Tenders, Metal & Plastic
- Pourers & Casters, Metal
- Welders, Cutters, Solderers, & Brazers
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