Agricultural Equipment Operators

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Also known as:
Cane Flume Chute Operator, Combine Driver, Combine Operator, Corn Detasseler Machine Operator, Cotton Ginner, Cotton Picker Operator, Custom Harvester, Farm Tractor Operator, Hay Baler, Hay Stacker Operator

ABOUT AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT OPERATOR CAREERS
Video transcript

Some farms grow wheat, corn, or cotton. Others grow fruit or vegetables. All farms need special machines and farm equipment operators to control them.

Many farm machines, including planters and tillers, are pulled or powered by tractors. Others, such as harvesters and combines are self-contained. In general, the equipment tends to be rugged and relatively easy to run and repair.

But even with air-conditioned operator cabs and built-in stereo sound, plowing or harvesting hundred of acres of farmland can be tedious. The work can also be dangerous since the same machines that chop or cut crops can just as easily slice off a finger or a hand.

Today there are still family members who work the land of their forefathers. But many farm equipment operators are employed full-time by large "agribusiness" companies. Still others are independent businesspeople who own harvesters and other equipment and contract their services directly to farmers.

SNAPSHOT
Drive and control equipment to support agricultural activities such as tilling soil; planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops; feeding and herding livestock; or removing animal waste. 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.
Leadership
LOW
Critical decision making
LOW
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
MED
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
LOW
Comfort of the work setting
LOW
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Load and unload crops or containers of materials, manually or using conveyors, handtrucks, forklifts, or transfer augers.

Mix specified materials or chemicals, and dump solutions, powders, or seeds into planter or sprayer machinery.

Manipulate controls to set, activate, and adjust mechanisms on machinery.

Adjust, repair, and service farm machinery and notify supervisors when machinery malfunctions.

Attach farm implements such as plows, discs, sprayers, or harvesters to tractors, using bolts and hand tools.

Operate or tend equipment used in agricultural production, such as tractors, combines, and irrigation equipment.

Observe and listen to machinery operation to detect equipment malfunctions.

Spray fertilizer or pesticide solutions to control insects, fungus and weed growth, and diseases, using hand sprayers.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
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.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
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.
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.
TOP 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.
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.
Equipment Maintenance Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Repairing Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Quality Control Analysis Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.