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Summary Report for:
45-2091.00 - Agricultural Equipment Operators

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.

Sample of reported job titles: Baler Operator, Cutter Operator, Equipment Operator, Farm Hand, Farm Laborer, Hay Baler, Irrigation Worker, Rake Operator, Tractor Driver, Tractor Operator

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Tasks  |  Technology Skills  |  Tools Used  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Adjust, repair, and service farm machinery and notify supervisors when machinery malfunctions.
  • Observe and listen to machinery operation to detect equipment malfunctions.
  • Irrigate soil, using portable pipes or ditch systems, and maintain ditches or pipes and pumps.
  • Mix specified materials or chemicals, and dump solutions, powders, or seeds into planter or sprayer machinery.
  • Operate or tend equipment used in agricultural production, such as tractors, combines, and irrigation equipment.
  • Manipulate controls to set, activate, and adjust mechanisms on machinery.
  • Direct and monitor the activities of work crews engaged in planting, weeding, or harvesting activities.
  • 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.
  • Attach farm implements such as plows, discs, sprayers, or harvesters to tractors, using bolts and hand tools.
  • Operate towed machines such as seed drills or manure spreaders to plant, fertilize, dust, and spray crops.
  • Drive trucks to haul crops, supplies, tools, or farm workers.
  • Walk beside or ride on planting machines while inserting plants in planter mechanisms at specified intervals.
  • Weigh crop-filled containers, and record weights and other identifying information.
  • Load and unload crops or containers of materials, manually or using conveyors, handtrucks, forklifts, or transfer augers.

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Technology Skills

  • Data base user interface and query software — Martens Farms Farm Trac
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software Hot technology — Farm Management Software Hay and Crop Manager
  • Map creation software — Martens Farms Farm Site Mate

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Tools Used

  • Agricultural rollers — Field rollers; Land rollers; Roller packers
  • Agricultural tractors — Auger movers; Farm tractors; Subcompact tractors; Track tractors (see all 6 examples)
  • Air dryers — Batch grain dryers; Peanut dryers; Seed dryers; Tower grain dryers (see all 6 examples)
  • All terrain vehicles tracked or wheeled — All terrain vehicles ATV; Utility vehicles
  • Animal husbandry equipment — Silage baggers; Silage distributors; Silage wrappers
  • Backhoes
  • Bucket conveyors — Bucket elevators
  • Cargo trucks
  • Chain conveyors — Hay bale conveyors; Hay bale elevators
  • Collection tanks — Manure storage tanks
  • Combine harvesters — Air reels; Grain combines; Soybean combine harvesters
  • Composter — Compost turners
  • Container trailers — Feed mixer wagons; Forage boxes; Seed bins; Silage wagons (see all 11 examples)
  • Conveyor screw — Feed conveyors; Grain augers; Seed tenders; Transfer augers (see all 6 examples)
  • Crop dividers — Crop lifters
  • Cultivators — Field cultivators; Rotary tillers; Row crop cultivators; Skid steer rotary tillers (see all 6 examples)
  • Dewatering equipment — Manure separators
  • Disks — Chisel disks; Coulter disks; Offset disks; Tandem disks (see all 5 examples)
  • Ditchers
  • Fans — Grain bin aeration fans
  • Feed mixers — Horizontal feed mixers
  • Fertilizer spreaders or distributors — Granular applicators; Manure spreaders; Silo spreaders; Straw and chaff spreaders (see all 13 examples)
  • Flatbed trailers — Hay bale trailers; Header carriers
  • Floor or platform scales — Seed scales
  • Fog or mist generators — Mist blowers
  • Forestry saws — Skid steer tree cutters
  • Forklifts — Telehandlers
  • Garden forks — Hay bale forks
  • Global positioning system GPS receiver — Novariant AutoFarm RTK AutoSteer; Tractor guidance systems
  • Graders or land levelers — All terrain vehicle ATV rakes; Bed shapers; Bedding hippers; Land finishers (see all 7 examples)
  • Grapples — Rock windrowers; Skid steer rock grapples
  • Grinding mills — Feed grinders; Silage mills
  • Hammer mills — Hammermills
  • Hand sprayers — Portable sprayers
  • Harrows — All terrain vehicle ATV harrows; Coulter rippers; Disk rippers; Harrow baskets
  • Harvester parts or accessories — Combine cylinders; Combine draper headers; Combine header transports; Combine headers (see all 5 examples)
  • Harvesters — Forage harvesters; Garlic harvesters; Seed strippers; Tomato harvesters (see all 8 examples)
  • Haymaking machinery — Hay balers; Haybines; Swath turners; V hay rakes (see all 16 examples)
  • Hoeing machines — Rotary hoes
  • Hole diggers — All terrain vehicle ATV post hole diggers
  • Metallic bins — Silage feeders
  • Mowers — Mower conditioners; Windrow inverters; Windrowers
  • Planters — Min-till planters
  • Ploughs — All terrain vehicle ATV plows; Chisel plows; Plows
  • Post hole digger — Post drivers; Post hole diggers; Skid steer post drivers; Skid steer post hole diggers (see all 5 examples)
  • Power blowers — Forage blowers
  • Power chippers — Crop shredders
  • Power grinders — Stump grinders
  • Pulled scrapers — Manure scrapers
  • Seed drills — Air carts; Coulter drills; Grass drills; Min-till drills (see all 7 examples)
  • Seed treating equipment — Seed mixers
  • Seeder attachment — All terrain vehicle ATV seeders; Grass seeders
  • Shovels — Flat-ended shovels
  • Skid steer loaders — Hay bale loaders; Hay bale movers
  • Sludge shredders — Manure chopper pumps
  • Sprayers — 3-point sprayers; Flotation sprayers; Sprayer booms; Sprayer chassis (see all 8 examples)
  • Storage tanks — Dry bulk storage tanks; Liquid storage tanks; Nurse tanks
  • Subsoilers
  • Threshing machines — Threshers
  • Vacuum pumps — Grain pumps; Grain vacuums; Seed vacuums
  • Wagons — Auger wagons
  • Weeders — Weed wipes
  • Wheel loaders
  • Winches — Power winches

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Knowledge

  • Food Production — Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
  • Personnel and Human Resources — Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Economics and Accounting — Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.

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Skills

  • 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.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • 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.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

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Abilities

  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

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Work Activities

  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Maintain forestry, hunting, or agricultural equipment.
  • Confer with managers to make operational decisions.
  • Inspect equipment or facilities to determine condition or maintenance needs.
  • Operate irrigation systems.
  • Prepare materials or solutions for animal or plant use.
  • Operate farming equipment.
  • Direct activities of agricultural, forestry, or fishery employees.
  • Apply chemical solutions to plants to protect against disease or insects or to enhance growth.
  • Attach equipment extensions or accessories.
  • Plant crops, trees, or other plants.
  • Load agricultural or forestry products for shipment.
  • Measure physical characteristics of forestry or agricultural products.
  • Record agricultural or forestry inventory data.

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Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 99% responded “Every day.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather
  • In an Open Vehicle or Equipment
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment
  • Telephone — 76% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 57% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 40% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 62% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Contact With Others — 57% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
  • Outdoors, Under Cover
  • Work Schedules — 60% responded “Irregular (changes with weather conditions, production demands, or contract duration).”
  • Consequence of Error
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 58% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 38% responded “Limited responsibility.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 60% responded “Very important.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 57% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions
  • Time Pressure — 22% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 60% responded “Important results.”
  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 57% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 58% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 40% responded “Never.”
  • Physical Proximity
  • Spend Time Sitting — 57% responded “About half the time.”

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, forest firefighters, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.
SVP Range (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
Not available High school diploma or equivalent Help
Not available Less than high school diploma
Not available Post-secondary certificate Help

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: R

  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

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Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2016) $13.87 hourly, $28,850 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2014) 58,000 employees
Projected growth (2014-2024) Average (5% to 8%) Average (5% to 8%)
Projected job openings (2014-2024) 18,500
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2014)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016 wage data external site and 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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