First-Line Supervisors of Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Workers

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Also known as:
Animal Caretaker Supervisor, Aquacultural Worker Supervisor, Corn Crop Supervisor, Corral Boss, Cranberry Bog Supervisor, Farm Supervisor, Farrowing Manager, Feed Manager, Fish Hatchery Supervisor, Harvest Crew Supervisor

Video transcript

Farms, fish hatcheries, and commercial forests share a common need: to produce with efficiency, they require a support team of trained workers. Leading those teams are first-line supervisors of farming, fishing, and forestry.

Most often, these managers have spent time on the front lines, performing many of the same duties they oversee. But in addition to hands-on expertise, they've demonstrated superior organizational skills and the ability to motivate other workers.

They've often had more education to prepare them for administrative and management duties. Though they'll spend office time setting schedules, managing budgets, and preparing reports, first line supervisors are often outdoors, too, in all kinds of weather. They instruct workers in methods of field work and monitor their progress. At times, supervisors may need to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand.

Routines vary from season to season, depending upon the weather and what is being grown. But modern technology hasn't replaced the need for getting out into the field to check growing conditions and the health of the crop.

Managers and supervisors usually have at least a bachelor's degree. The way to best cultivate your career prospects in this field is to continue your training. That will help you grow into positions with increased responsibilities.


Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of agricultural, forestry, aquacultural, and related workers.

Daily tasks

Monitor or oversee construction projects, such as horticultural buildings or irrigation systems.

Train workers in tree felling or bucking, operation of tractors or loading machines, yarding or loading techniques, or safety regulations.

Perform both supervisory and management functions, such as accounting, marketing, and personnel work.

Train workers in spawning, rearing, cultivating, and harvesting methods, and in the use of equipment.

Confer with managers to determine production requirements, conditions of equipment and supplies, and work schedules.

Schedule work crews, equipment, or transportation for several different work locations.

Issue equipment, such as farm implements, machinery, ladders, or containers to workers, and collect equipment when work is complete.

Treat animal illnesses or injuries, following experience or instructions of veterinarians.

Prepare and maintain time or payroll reports, as well as details of personnel actions, such as performance evaluations, hires, promotions, or disciplinary actions.

Coordinate the selection and movement of logs from storage areas, according to transportation schedules or production requirements.

Record the numbers and types of fish or shellfish reared, harvested, released, sold, and shipped.

Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess 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.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
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.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
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.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
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.
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.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Management of Personnel Resources Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.