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Become A Crop Scout

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Working As A Crop Scout

  • $23,753

    Average Salary

What Does A Crop Scout Do

Agricultural workers maintain the quality of farms, crops, and livestock by operating machinery and doing physical labor under the supervision of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers.

Duties

Agricultural workers typically do the following:

  • Harvest and inspect crops by hand
  • Irrigate farm soil and maintain ditches or pipes and pumps
  • Operate and service farm machinery and tools
  • Spray fertilizer or pesticide solutions to control insects, fungi, and weeds
  • Move shrubs, plants, and trees with wheelbarrows or tractors
  • Feed livestock and clean and disinfect their pens, cages, yards, and hutches
  • Examine animals to detect symptoms of illnesses or injuries
  • Use brands, tags, or tattoos to mark livestock in order to identify ownership and grade
  • Herd livestock to pastures for grazing or to scales, trucks, or other enclosures
  • Administer vaccines to protect animals from diseases

The following are examples of types of agricultural workers:

Crop, nursery, and greenhouse farmworkers and laborers perform numerous tasks related to growing and harvesting grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other crops. They plant, seed, prune, irrigate, and harvest crops, and pack and load them for shipment.

Farmworkers also apply pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to crops. They repair fences and some farm equipment.

Nursery and greenhouse workers prepare land or greenhouse beds for growing horticultural products such as trees, plants, flowers, and sod. They also plant, water, prune, weed, and spray the plants. They may cut, roll, and stack sod; stake trees; tie, wrap, and pack plants to fill orders; and dig up or move field-grown shrubs and trees.

Farm and ranch animal farmworkers care for live animals, including cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, horses, poultry, finfish, shellfish, and bees. These animals usually are raised to supply meat, fur, skins, feathers, eggs, milk, or honey.

These farmworkers may feed, herd, brand, weigh, and load animals. They also keep records on animals; examine animals to detect diseases and injuries; and administer medications, vaccinations, or insecticides.

Many workers clean and maintain animal housing areas every day. On dairy farms, animal farmworkers operate milking machines.

Agricultural equipment operators use a variety of farm equipment to plow and sow seeds, as well as maintain and harvest crops. They may use tractors, fertilizer spreaders, balers, combines, threshers, and trucks. These workers also operate machines such as conveyor belts, loading machines, separators, cleaners, and dryers. Workers may make adjustments and minor repairs to equipment.

Animal breeders use their knowledge of genetics and animal science to select and breed animals that will produce offspring with desired traits and characteristics. For example, they breed chickens that lay more eggs, pigs that produce leaner meat, and sheep with more desirable wool. Other animal breeders breed and raise cats, dogs, and other household pets.

To know which animals to breed and when to breed them, animal breeders keep detailed records. Breeders note animals’ health, size, and weight, as well as the amount and quality of the product they produce. Animal breeders also track the traits of animals’ offspring.

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How To Become A Crop Scout

Agricultural workers typically receive on-the-job training. A high school diploma is not needed for most jobs as an agricultural worker; however, a high school diploma typically is needed for animal breeders.

Education and Training

Most agricultural workers do not need a high school diploma; however, a high school diploma typically is needed for animal breeders. Some jobs as an animal breeder may require some postsecondary education.

Agricultural workers typically receive some short-term on-the-job training. Employers instruct them on how to use simple farming tools and more complex machinery while following appropriate safety procedures. More experienced workers also are expected to perform routine maintenance on the tools they use.

Important Qualities

Dexterity. Agricultural workers need excellent hand–eye coordination to harvest crops and operate farm machinery.

Listening skills. Agricultural workers need to work well with others. Because they take instructions from farmers and other agricultural managers, effective listening is critical.

Physical stamina. Agricultural workers need to be able to perform laborious tasks repeatedly.

Physical strength. Agricultural workers must be strong enough to lift heavy objects, including tools and crops.

Mechanical skills. Agricultural workers must be able to operate complex farm machinery. They also occasionally do routine maintenance on the machinery.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Animal breeders sometimes need previous work experience interacting with livestock. Ranch workers may transition into animal breeding after they become more familiar with animals and learn how to handle them.

Advancement

Agricultural workers may advance to crew leader or other supervisory positions. The ability to speak both English and Spanish is helpful for agricultural supervisors.

Some agricultural workers aspire to become farmers, ranchers, or agricultural managers or to own their own farms and ranches. Knowledge of produce and livestock may provide an excellent background for becoming buyers or purchasing agents of farm products. Those who earn a college degree in agricultural science could become agricultural or food scientists.

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Crop Scout Typical Career Paths

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Crop Scout Demographics

Gender

Male

73.8%

Female

25.6%

Unknown

0.6%
Ethnicity

White

77.8%

Hispanic or Latino

7.5%

Black or African American

7.5%

Asian

3.9%

Unknown

3.4%
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Crop Scout Education

Schools

Iowa State University

28.6%

South Dakota State University

10.7%

North Dakota State University -

9.5%

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

4.8%

Purdue University

3.6%

Northwest Missouri State University

3.6%

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

3.6%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3.6%

Arkansas State University

3.6%

University of Missouri - Columbia

3.6%

University of Wisconsin - Madison

3.6%

University of Tennessee - Martin

2.4%

Southeast Missouri State University

2.4%

University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

2.4%

Upper Iowa University

2.4%

University of Wisconsin - Platteville

2.4%

University of Illinois at Springfield

2.4%

Hastings College

2.4%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

2.4%

University of Arkansas at Monticello

2.4%
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Majors

Plant Sciences

26.1%

Agricultural Business

23.5%

Agriculture

7.8%

Business

7.0%

Animal Science

6.1%

General Education, Specific Areas

4.3%

Natural Resources Management

3.5%

Agricultural Engineering

2.6%

Biology

2.6%

Law

2.6%

Agricultural Operation And Science

2.6%

Criminal Justice

2.6%

Political Science

1.7%

Zoology

1.7%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

0.9%

Parks And Recreation Management

0.9%

Writing

0.9%

Computer Information Systems

0.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

0.9%

Food And Nutrition

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

64.1%

Other

12.7%

Masters

9.2%

Associate

8.5%

Doctorate

2.8%

Certificate

2.1%

License

0.7%
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