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Job Descriptions

Farm Worker

Farm workers work on different types of farms taking care of the livestock and doing other farm-related tasks. If you are a farm worker, you can work on vegetable farms, dairy farms, grain farms, beef cattle/poultry farms, or equine (horse) farms. You will have some clearly defined and repetitive tasks (e.g., feeding livestock, cleaning stalls).

Education

This job usually does not have an educational requirement. College-level certificates and farming-related courses are available. In cases where there is not a specific educational requirement for a job, the employer will most often rely on your previous experience and references to hire you.

Previous Experience

Previous experience working on a farm is preferred.
Although many employers prefer that you have previous experience in the same or similar area of employment, it is strongly encouraged that you apply anyways if you have the required skills.

Job Duties

  • Monitor and tend to livestock by feeding livestock and examining animals for illness/injury.
  • Monitor and maintain food and water supplies for livestock.
  • Clean stables, pens, and barns using hand-held tools (e.g., brushes, brooms, shovels, water hoses).
  • Milk cows.
  • Administer any medications or vaccines to livestock.
  • Hand-pick fruits and vegetables.
  • Pack fruits and vegetables.
  • Plant, irrigate, weed, and/or harvest fields or crops.
  • Spray pesticides and apply fertilizers to fields or crops.
  • Monitor and maintain farming-related equipment (e.g., harvesting machinery, repair fences, etc.).
  • Operate farming-related equipment (e.g., driving trucks/tractors or combine harvesters).
  • Your employer may also ask you to carry out additional duties than those listed here.

What’s Your Scene?

This job requires that you are able to work "Out of the Scene." If you are working as farm worker, you will not be working with the public on a regular basis.  However, you may be required to speak with and interact with co-workers. You will also need to communicate with your supervisor to find out what duties need to be taken care of.

Skills / Abilities

Farming Production - Knowledge of farming techniques for farming production, including being able to determine the appropriate equipment for different tasks.

Farm Equipment Operation – Ability and knowledge to properly operate farming equipment, such as trucks, tractors, combines, plows, milking machines, forklifts, etc. and determine when maintenance is needed on equipment.

Oral Comprehension - Demonstrated ability to follow verbal instructions and ideas.

Manual Dexterity - This job requires the repeated and coordinated use of your arms, hands, wrists, and fingers to use hand-held tools (e.g., brushes, shovels, water hoses, hammers).

Physical Strength – This job requires that you are physically able to lift and carry heavy items (e.g., bales of hay, boxes of fruits/vegetables).

Organization and Prioritization - This job requires the ability to clearly organize and categorize work priorities to complete your work.

Environmental Demands

Location – Much of the work on any type of farm will be conducted outdoors. This means that you will be exposed to all types of weather (e.g., sun and rain).

Noise Level - The noise level will range from quiet to loud. If you are working near farming equipment or machinery (e.g., milking machines, tractors/combines) you will be exposed to loud noises. There may be other times when it is fairly quiet (e.g., picking fruits and vegetables, cleaning out stables).

Lighting Level - You will usually be exposed to natural lighting (e.g., sunlight).

Work Hours - This job will range from short to long working shifts. Most farms operate during the day. However, farms typically start to operate quite early in the morning (e.g., 5am) and you will have to discuss with your employer the types of shifts you can work.

Amount of Movement - This job typically requires that you stand for long periods of time and will involve heavy manual labor. You will need to be able to stand, sit, walk, bend, reach, lift, push, pull, and carry items for this job. For example, you may need to lift a bale of hay into a truck or reach/bend frequently to pick fruits off of trees or vegetables off of plants.

Cleanliness and Odors - This job setting can get messy as you will be working with animals and/or produce in dirt and soil. You will also be exposed to strong odors (e.g., manure or pesticides).

Work Attire - Work attire will typically be casual clothing as you will most likely get dirt on your clothes. Some employers may give you overalls to wear at work or may require that you wear hats (to protect you from the sun), gloves, and steel-toed boots.

Structure and Predictability –This job will typically have a higher degree of structure and predictability.  This means that you will usually complete the same tasks each day and you may be able to complete these tasks in the same order each day.  You will probably know how long each task should take you to complete.  You will probably work in the same areas each day, and you will probably interact with the same people each day.

What's the Pace?

    • Steady:  In most cases, the work pace will be steady, which means that you will always have some work to do.  When the work pace is steady, you are working at a level “5” on a scale of “1” (nothing to do) to “10” (extremely busy, rushed pace).

 
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