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Become A Farm Worker

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Working As A Farm Worker

  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Getting Information
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $27,300

    Average Salary

What Does A Farm Worker 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 Worker

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 Worker jobs

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Farm Worker Typical Career Paths

Farm Worker Demographics

Gender

Male

70.4%

Female

28.0%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

79.5%

Hispanic or Latino

13.1%

Asian

5.7%

Unknown

1.3%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

68.7%

French

6.8%

German

6.1%

Russian

3.4%

Chinese

1.4%

Hebrew

1.4%

Japanese

1.4%

Mandarin

1.4%

Arabic

1.4%

Italian

1.4%

Hindi

0.7%

Turkish

0.7%

Georgian

0.7%

Burmese

0.7%

Yiddish

0.7%

Latvian

0.7%

Vietnamese

0.7%

Korean

0.7%

Dutch

0.7%

Thai

0.7%
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Farm Worker Education

Schools

Iowa State University

10.4%

Michigan State University

8.5%

University of Phoenix

6.1%

University of Wisconsin - Platteville

5.5%

South Dakota State University

5.5%

Arkansas State University

4.9%

Vincennes University

4.9%

University of Connecticut

4.9%

Oregon State University

4.9%

Utah State University

4.9%

University of New Hampshire

4.3%

State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill

4.3%

University of Maine

4.3%

Tarleton State University

4.3%

Purdue University

4.3%

Murray State University

3.7%

University of Rhode Island

3.7%

Fort Hays State University

3.7%

Community College of Vermont

3.7%

Ohio State University

3.7%
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Majors

Business

13.3%

Criminal Justice

8.2%

Animal Science

7.4%

Agricultural Business

6.3%

Automotive Technology

6.2%

General Studies

6.0%

Biology

5.1%

Precision Metal Working

4.7%

Plant Sciences

4.4%

Environmental Science

4.4%

Nursing

4.3%

Agriculture

4.1%

Psychology

3.9%

Accounting

3.7%

Liberal Arts

3.5%

Mechanical Engineering

3.3%

Education

3.2%

Computer Science

2.9%

Graphic Design

2.7%

Electrical Engineering

2.4%
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Degrees

Other

37.2%

Bachelors

35.0%

Associate

12.7%

Certificate

6.6%

Masters

5.6%

Diploma

1.9%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.5%
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Real Farm Worker Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Agricultural Farm Worker Donald D. Knier Jr. Garden City, KS May 07, 2016 $52,312
Farm Worker Donald D. Knier Jr. Garden City, KS Aug 19, 2016 $52,312
Farm Worker Ty Wilmeth Plains, TX Apr 18, 2016 $48,443
Farm Worker Tres Inc. Amherst, TX Oct 08, 2016 $45,302
Farm Worker Bobby Crossland Lamesa, TX Oct 06, 2016 $45,302
Farm Worker TDT Farms LLC Hugoton, KS Jul 11, 2016 $41,933
Farm Worker Johan K Froese Seminole, TX Aug 08, 2016 $40,539 -
$41,539
Farm Worker Kevin R Love & Kara Love Seminole, TX Jul 14, 2016 $38,563 -
$39,563
General Farm Worker Vance McMorries, Vance McMorries Farm TX Apr 26, 2016 $38,563 -
$39,563
General Farm Worker Ronnie & Barbara Love Farms Seminole, TX Apr 12, 2015 $38,563 -
$39,563
Farm Worker Southwood Landscape & Nursery Co, Inc. Tulsa, OK Jan 02, 2016 $22,665
Orchard Worker-Peach Farm Worker Zenner Orchard Fredericksburg, TX Jan 27, 2015 $22,665
Farm Worker, Laborer, Crop Rollin J Farms TX Feb 05, 2015 $22,665
Farm Worker Southwood Landscape & Nursery Co, Inc. Tulsa, OK Feb 01, 2015 $22,665
Farm Worker Saxon Becnel and Sons of Texas Orange, TX Feb 02, 2015 $22,665
Farm Workers and Laborers, Crop James F. Mahoney KY Jul 16, 2016 $22,644
Farm Worker Crop Earl Robinson Danville, KY Jan 12, 2016 $22,644
Farm Workers & Laborers, Crop Julie Rini Paris, KY Feb 15, 2016 $22,644
Farm Worker Zephyr Farm Jacksonville, FL Jan 10, 2016 $22,331
Farm Workers Pero Family Farms, LLC Delray Beach, FL Oct 15, 2016 $22,331
Crop Farm Worker/Laborer Sauceda Contractors, Inc. Hastings, FL Jun 11, 2016 $22,331
Farm Workers Pero Family Farms, LLC Delray Beach, FL Aug 11, 2016 $22,331
Farm Workers & Laborers Citrus Harvesting, Inc. Zolfo Springs, FL Nov 28, 2016 $22,331
Farm Worker Various Crops Spivey Farms, Inc. Plant City, FL Jan 09, 2016 $22,331
Farm Workers Terry & Joe Baker Farms, LLC East Palatka, FL May 12, 2016 $22,331

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Top Skills for A Farm Worker

DriveTractorsFarmMachineryBeefCattleFarmEquipmentMilkCowsWaterLivestockHeavyEquipmentFamilyFarmHeavyMachineryFarmVehiclesCustomerServiceFarmBuildingsResponsibilitiesiSkidLoaderFarmAnimalsPlantSeedsHandToolsDumpTruckManualLaborTractor-DrawnMachinery

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Top Farm Worker Skills

  1. Drive Tractors
  2. Farm Machinery
  3. Beef Cattle
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Operated 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive tractors, combines, and trucks for 7,000-acre wheat, and soybean farm.
  • Maintained and repaired various farm machinery.
  • Attended beef cattle, broiler houses, Boer meat goats, performed maintenance on equipment, maintained livestock fencing.
  • Move and repair farm equipment and irrigation systems; repair fences.
  • Milk cows and move manure.

Top Farm Worker Employers

Farm Worker Videos

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