Graders and Sorters of Agricultural Products

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Also known as:
Apple Sorter, Cherry Sorter, Cotton Grader, Egg Grader, Fruit Sorter, Meat Grader, Oyster Sorter, Peanut Grader, Potato Sorter, Seed Sorter

ABOUT AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS GRADER OR SORTER CAREERS
Video transcript

Have you ever wondered who decides that an egg is grade A or that a cut of beef is prime? Consumers rely on the professional judgment of agricultural graders and sorters. They determine what's best, what's second best, and what's unacceptable.

Graders and sorters examine agricultural products and unprocessed foods headed for market. They rate them according to size, weight, appearance, and condition. Eggs, for example, are graded according to their color and size. Meat is graded for its fat layers. Products found to be below standard are discarded. The grade that is assigned determines the price that can be charged for the product.

Work is usually in clean, air-conditioned rooms - and because some foods may spoil if they're not examined and shipped quickly, work hours may include evenings and weekends. Sorters and graders spend hours on their feet, and they must be able to lift heavy boxes for examination and quickly determine the quality and grade of products.

Beginners start with simple visual inspection and learn through on-the-job training. A high school diploma is often required of those who test products. Although job growth in this field is limited, there are opportunities at agricultural and food products companies, at produce packaging plants, and at some food stores. Sorters and graders help maintain the high standards that make our nation's food products among the best in the world.

SNAPSHOT
Grade, sort, or classify unprocessed food and other agricultural products by size, weight, color, or condition.
Leadership
LOW
Critical decision making
LOW
Level of responsibilities
LOW
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.
LOW
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Grade and sort products according to factors such as color, species, length, width, appearance, feel, smell, and quality to ensure correct processing and usage.

Discard inferior or defective products or foreign matter, and place acceptable products in containers for further processing.

Weigh products or estimate their weight, visually or by feel.

Place products in containers according to grade and mark grades on containers.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
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.
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
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.
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.
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.
Foreign Language Knowledge of the structure and content of a foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
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.
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.
TOP SKILLS
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.
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.
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.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.