Farmworkers, Farm, Ranch, and Aquacultural Animals

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Also known as:
Aquaculture Worker, Barn Hand, Barn Worker, Cattle Brander, Cattle Driver, Chicken Handler, Chicken Vaccinator, Cow Tender, Egg Gatherer, Farrowing Worker

ABOUT FARM, RANCH, AND AQUACULTURAL ANIMALS FARMWORKER CAREERS
Video transcript

Automation is increasingly replacing manual labor down on the farm, but there are still many tasks best performed by people. Called farmworkers, the tasks they handle depend on the size of the operation and what the farm grows.

On a livestock farm or ranch, these workers provide for the care and feeding of the animals and poultry. At the first sign of disease, injury or poor weight gain, farmworkers give the ailing animal medical attention or arrange for veterinary care. They're also responsible for keeping the animals, and their living conditions, clean.

Many of the fruits and vegetable produced in this country are cultivated and harvested by hand. While machines help prep the soil and plant the seeds, the farmworkers do most of the transplanting, weeding, thinning and pruning.

Farmworkers may also operate and maintain machinery, as well as do general repairs around the property. Sometimes the job includes keeping production records. Working with heavy equipment and large animals can be dangerous. Other hazards include prolonged exposure to the sun and chemicals.

Many types of farming are seasonal, requiring long, labor-intensive days during planting and harvesting. At these times, a workday of 16 to 20 hours is not unusual, so this is a job that can be very physically demanding.

Many farms rely on day-to-day or temporary laborers, with most employers providing on-the-job training. Because no formal education is required, the pay tends to be low. In addition, agricultural labor is exempt from the overtime provisions of minimum wage laws.

People who chose this often-strenuous work enjoy growing and tending living things. For them, farming is more a lifestyle than a career.

SNAPSHOT
Attend to live farm, ranch, open range or aquacultural animals that may include cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses and other equines, poultry, rabbits, finfish, shellfish, and bees. Attend to animals produced for animal products, such as meat, fur, skins, feathers, eggs, milk, and honey. Duties may include feeding, watering, herding, grazing, milking, castrating, branding, de-beaking, weighing, catching, and loading animals. May maintain records on animals; examine animals to detect diseases and injuries; assist in birth deliveries; and administer medications, vaccinations, or insecticides as appropriate. May clean and maintain animal housing areas. Includes workers who shear wool from sheep and collect eggs in hatcheries.
Leadership
MED
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
LOW
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
LOW
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Inspect, maintain, and repair equipment, machinery, buildings, pens, yards, and fences.

Drive trucks, tractors, and other equipment to distribute feed to animals.

Provide medical treatment, such as administering medications and vaccinations, or arrange for veterinarians to provide more extensive treatment.

Mark livestock to identify ownership and grade, using brands, tags, paint, or tattoos.

Clean stalls, pens, and equipment, using disinfectant solutions, brushes, shovels, water hoses, or pumps.

Examine animals to detect illness, injury, or disease, and to check physical characteristics, such as rate of weight gain.

Move equipment, poultry, or livestock from one location to another, manually or using trucks or carts.

Segregate animals according to weight, age, color, and physical condition.

Herd livestock to pastures for grazing or to scales, trucks, or other enclosures.

Feed and water livestock and monitor food and water supplies.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
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.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
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.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Food Production Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
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.
TOP SKILLS
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
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.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.