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Become A Farm Hand

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Working As A Farm Hand

  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • $34,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Farm Hand 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 Farm Hand

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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Farm Hand Typical Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
Farm Rancher 8.5 years
Dairy Farmer 6.4 years
Farm Operator 4.5 years
Farm Truck Driver 3.6 years
Farm Labour 3.3 years
Dairy Hand 3.2 years
Farm Worker 3.0 years
Farm Hand 3.0 years
Farm Assistant 2.8 years
Farm Helper 2.7 years
Ranch Hand 2.7 years
Stable Hand 2.1 years
Milker 1.9 years
Top Careers Before Farm Hand
Cashier 16.0%
Internship 8.9%
Volunteer 6.0%
Cook 5.2%
Welder 5.2%
Server 4.7%
Assistant 3.9%
Mechanic 3.6%
Manager 3.4%
Waitress 3.4%
Driver 3.0%
Technician 2.7%
Ranch Hand 2.6%
Top Careers After Farm Hand
Cashier 12.7%
Internship 7.6%
Welder 6.1%
Technician 5.2%
Server 5.0%
Mechanic 4.3%
Driver 4.1%
Cook 4.1%
Volunteer 4.0%
Operator 3.8%
Assistant 3.8%
Manager 3.7%

Do you work as a Farm Hand?

Average Yearly Salary
$34,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$19,000
Min 10%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Max 90%
Highest Paying City
Baldwin, WI
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Farm Hand make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Farm Hand in the United States is $34,827 per year or $17 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $19,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $62,000.

Real Farm Hand Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
General Farm Hand Tom Lahey Moscow, KS Sep 23, 2008 $30,306
General Farm Hand Tom Lahey Moscow, KS Oct 09, 2008 $30,306
General Farm Hand Douglas Fitterer New England, ND Feb 15, 2016 $29,218
Farm Hand AJB Partnership Roscoe, SD Feb 15, 2016 $28,801
Livestock General Farm Hand Mark D. Pfeifer Ashley, ND Mar 22, 2016 $28,801
Farm Hand AJB Partnership Roscoe, SD Mar 15, 2015 $28,362
Farm Hand AJB Partnership Roscoe, SD Mar 15, 2014 $27,987
Farm Hand OWAN Farms Williston, ND Mar 01, 2014 $27,987
Farm Hand Baldwin Dairy, Inc. Baldwin, WI Apr 01, 2015 $24,126
Farm Hand Stephen Kraemer TX Jan 26, 2015 $22,665
Farm Hand Derksen Poultry, LLC Greensburg, KY May 15, 2016 $22,644
Farm Hand Smoky Mountain Farm Philadelphia, TN Feb 15, 2016 $21,454
Farm Hand Smoky Mountain Farm Philadelphia, TN Feb 15, 2015 $21,079
Farm Hand Mason Cattle Company, LLC Murtaugh, ID Apr 01, 2015 $20,870
Farm Hand Smoky Mountain Farm Philadelphia, TN Feb 15, 2014 $20,453
Farm Hand Lauriston Ivey Johnson Jr. Four Oaks, NC May 14, 2015 $20,134
Farm Hand Jeremy Craton Eunice, LA Feb 15, 2014 $19,827
Farm Hand Halfway Farm Chemical, Inc. Plainview, TX Sep 08, 2008 $18,846 -
$18,992
Farm Hand Halfway Farm Chemical, Inc. Plainview, TX Jun 06, 2008 $18,846 -
$18,992

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Top Skills for A Farm Hand

  1. Farm Equipment
  2. Tractor Trailers
  3. Milk Cows
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Gained mechanical knowledge of farm equipment and machinery.
  • Operate forklifts, dump trucks, tractor trailers, lift beams with swivel hooks, and hoists.
  • Milk cows, feed cattle, operate equipment and all duties associated with a dairy farm.
  • Retail Operations * Coordinated expansion into beef cattle and doubled production year-over-year.
  • Operated heavy machinery and power tools

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Farm Hands

  1. Iowa
  2. Louisiana
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Washington
  6. District of Columbia
  7. Mississippi
  8. South Carolina
  9. South Dakota
  10. Georgia
  • (87 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)

Farm Hand Demographics

Gender

Male

72.7%

Female

22.1%

Unknown

5.2%
Ethnicity

White

72.3%

Hispanic or Latino

9.4%

Black or African American

8.9%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.3%

French

11.3%

German

4.7%

Dakota

4.0%

Mandarin

3.0%

Russian

3.0%

Chinese

3.0%

Portuguese

2.3%

Carrier

2.0%

Arabic

1.7%

Italian

1.3%

Japanese

1.3%

Polish

1.0%

Swedish

0.7%

Hmong

0.7%

Thai

0.7%

Greek

0.7%

Mongolian

0.7%

Vietnamese

0.3%

Romanian

0.3%
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Farm Hand Education

Schools

Iowa State University

8.5%

Kansas State University

7.9%

South Dakota State University

5.8%

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

5.8%

University of Northwestern Ohio

5.7%

University of Wisconsin - Platteville

5.1%

Purdue University

5.1%

The Academy

5.0%

Oklahoma State University

5.0%

University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

4.7%

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

4.6%

North Dakota State University -

4.6%

Pennsylvania State University

4.5%

Kirkwood Community College

4.4%

Ohio State University

4.4%

Michigan State University

4.3%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

3.9%

Universal Technical Institute

3.7%

Vincennes University

3.5%

University of Phoenix

3.5%
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Majors

Business

14.7%

Automotive Technology

8.9%

Precision Metal Working

7.7%

Criminal Justice

7.1%

Agricultural Business

6.9%

Animal Science

6.8%

General Studies

6.5%

Biology

4.8%

Environmental Science

3.7%

Agriculture

3.5%

Mechanical Engineering

3.5%

Psychology

3.4%

Nursing

3.2%

Kinesiology

3.1%

Plant Sciences

3.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.9%

Accounting

2.7%

Industrial Technology

2.6%

Computer Science

2.5%

Medical Assisting Services

2.5%
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Degrees

Other

38.7%

Bachelors

35.5%

Associate

14.2%

Certificate

5.8%

Masters

2.7%

Diploma

2.4%

License

0.4%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Top Farm Hand Employers

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