Agriculture workers are involved with a wide range of activities and have to perform a lot of tasks. They are employed by farms, ranches, and nursery houses. Agricultural workers plants, cultivate and harvest crops, raise livestock and poultry and also maintain and monitor the health and welfare of animals and providing feed and water. They are also operators of farm machinery.
The following are types of agricultural workers:
- Crop, nursery, and greenhouse farm workers and laborers do numerous tasks related to growing and harvesting grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other crops. They plant and seed, prune, irrigate, harvest, and pack and load crops for shipment.
- Farm and ranch animal farm workers care for live animals, including cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, horses, poultry, finfish, or shellfish. These animals are usually raised to supply meat, fur, skins, feathers, eggs, milk, or honey.
- Agricultural equipment operators use a variety of farm equipment to plow, sow seeds, and maintain and harvest crops. They may use tractors, fertilizer spreaders, balers, combines, threshers, and trucks.
- Animal breeders use their knowledge of genetics and animal science to select and breed animals that will produce offspring with desired traits and characteristics.
Role of Agricultural Workers
- Harvest and inspect crops by hand
- Irrigate farm soil and maintain ditches or pipes and pumps
- Direct and monitor the activities of work crews as they plant, weed, or harvest
- Operate and service farm machinery
- 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 illness or injury
- Use brands, tags, or tattoos to mark livestock 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
Skills of Agricultural Workers
Manual dexterity: Agricultural workers need excellent hand-eye coordination to harvest crops and operate farm machinery.
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.
Technical skills: Agricultural workers must be able to competently operate complex farm machinery. They also occasionally do routine maintenance on the machinery.
They usually work outdoors in all kinds of weather. Animal breeders may travel from farm to farm to consult with farmers, ranchers, and managers about their livestock.
Many agricultural workers have seasonal work schedules. Seasonal workers are typically expected to work longer hours during planting or harvesting times or when animals must be sheltered and fed.