Life As an Agricultural Equipment Operator
Job Description & Duties 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.
What Do Agricultural Equipment Operators Do On a Daily Basis?
- Adjust, repair, and service farm machinery and notify supervisors when machinery malfunctions.
- Mix specified materials or chemicals, and dump solutions, powders, or seeds into planter or sprayer machinery.
- Load and unload crops or containers of materials, manually or using conveyors, handtrucks, forklifts, or transfer augers.
- Drive trucks to haul crops, supplies, tools, or farm workers.
- Observe and listen to machinery operation to detect equipment malfunctions.
- Guide products on conveyors to regulate flow through machines, and to discard diseased or rotten products.
Qualities of an Agricultural Equipment Operator
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.
Related Job Titles for this Occupation:
- Vegetable Loader Machine Operator
- Replanting Machine Operator
- Cutter Operator
Is There Going to be Demand for Agricultural Equipment Operators?
In the United States, there were 63,900 jobs for Agricultural Equipment Operator in 2016. 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.
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.
Average Agricultural Equipment Operators Salary
The salary for Agricultural Equipment Operators ranges between about $20,890 and $46,550 a year.
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|
Tools & Technologies Used by Agricultural Equipment Operators
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
Becoming an Agricultural Equipment Operator
Education needed to be an Agricultural Equipment Operator:
How Long Does it Take to Become an Agricultural Equipment Operator?
Who Employs Agricultural Equipment Operators?
The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.
Image Credit: Alandmanson via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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