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Agricultural Equipment Operator

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What Does it Take to Be an Agricultural Equipment Operator?

Occupation Description Drive and control farm equipment to till soil and to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops. 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.

A Day in the Life of an Agricultural Equipment Operator

  • Drive trucks to haul crops, supplies, tools, or farm workers.
  • Load hoppers, containers, or conveyors to feed machines with products, using forklifts, transfer augers, suction gates, shovels, or pitchforks.
  • Spray fertilizer or pesticide solutions to control insects, fungus and weed growth, and diseases, using hand sprayers.
  • Guide products on conveyors to regulate flow through machines, and to discard diseased or rotten products.
  • Irrigate soil, using portable pipes or ditch systems, and maintain ditches or pipes and pumps.
  • Load and unload crops or containers of materials, manually or using conveyors, handtrucks, forklifts, or transfer augers.

Things an Agricultural Equipment Operator Should Know How to Do

Agricultural Equipment Operators state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Troubleshooting: Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

Repairing: Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Equipment Maintenance: Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.

Types of Agricultural Equipment Operator

  • Farm Manager
  • Machine Operator Cane Cutter
  • Portable Feed Mill Operator
  • Cotton Chopper
  • Cotton Stripper

Is There Job Demand for Agricultural Equipment Operators?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 63,900 jobs in the United States for Agricultural Equipment Operator. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 5.5% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 3,500 new jobs for Agricultural Equipment Operator by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 10,200 job openings in this field each year.

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The states with the most job growth for Agricultural Equipment Operator are Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Watch out if you plan on working in South Carolina, Florida, or Delaware. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of an Agricultural Equipment Operator

The typical yearly salary for Agricultural Equipment Operators is somewhere between $20,890 and $46,550.

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Agricultural Equipment Operators who work in Michigan, New York, or North Dakota, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Agricultural Equipment Operators in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $26,010
Arizona $32,670
Arkansas $26,150
California $32,180
Colorado $32,890
Florida $28,420
Georgia $26,860
Idaho $32,910
Illinois $36,260
Indiana $35,030
Iowa $37,100
Kansas $33,990
Kentucky $32,570
Louisiana $33,160
Maryland $28,560
Massachusetts $29,480
Michigan $39,640
Minnesota $37,310
Mississippi $37,410
Missouri $34,240
Montana $29,630
Nebraska $39,020
New Jersey $24,560
New Mexico $33,750
New York $37,430
North Carolina $27,440
North Dakota $39,760
Ohio $37,420
Oklahoma $29,390
Oregon $31,170
Pennsylvania $35,370
South Carolina $34,940
South Dakota $38,780
Tennessee $33,520
Texas $27,240
Utah $29,720
Vermont $31,050
Virginia $33,030
Washington $34,900
Wisconsin $37,420

What Tools do Agricultural Equipment Operators Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Agricultural Equipment Operators:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Access

How to Become an Agricultural Equipment Operator

Individuals working as an Agricultural Equipment Operator have obtained the following education levels:

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How Long Does it Take to Become an Agricultural Equipment Operator?

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Where do Agricultural Equipment Operators Work?

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Agricultural Equipment Operators work in the following industries:

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References:

Image Credit: Alandmanson via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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