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Agricultural Equipment Operator

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What Do Agricultural Equipment Operator Do?

Career Description Drive and control farm equipment to till soil and to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops. 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.

A Day in the Life of an Agricultural Equipment Operator

  • Mix specified materials or chemicals, and dump solutions, powders, or seeds into planter or sprayer machinery.
  • Walk beside or ride on planting machines while inserting plants in planter mechanisms at specified intervals.
  • Load hoppers, containers, or conveyors to feed machines with products, using forklifts, transfer augers, suction gates, shovels, or pitchforks.
  • Direct and monitor the activities of work crews engaged in planting, weeding, or harvesting activities.
  • Weigh crop-filled containers, and record weights and other identifying information.
  • Attach farm implements such as plows, discs, sprayers, or harvesters to tractors, using bolts and hand tools.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as an Agricultural Equipment Operator?

These are the skills Agricultural Equipment Operators say are the most useful in their careers:

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.

Repairing: Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

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.

Other Agricultural Equipment Operator Job Titles

  • Raking Machine Operator
  • Fruit Loader, Machine Operator
  • Planting Machine Operator
  • Cane Flume Feeding Machine Operator
  • Nut Sheller Machine Operator

Job Opportunities for Agricultural Equipment Operators

There were about 63,900 jobs for Agricultural Equipment Operator in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 5.5% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 3,500 new jobs for Agricultural Equipment Operator by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 10,200 job openings in this field each year.

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The states with the most job growth for Agricultural Equipment Operator are Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Watch out if you plan on working in South Carolina, Florida, or Delaware. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does an Agricultural Equipment Operator Make?

The salary for Agricultural Equipment Operators ranges between about $20,890 and $46,550 a year.

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Agricultural Equipment Operators who work in Michigan, New York, or North Dakota, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Agricultural Equipment Operators in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $26,010
Arizona $32,670
Arkansas $26,150
California $32,180
Colorado $32,890
Florida $28,420
Georgia $26,860
Idaho $32,910
Illinois $36,260
Indiana $35,030
Iowa $37,100
Kansas $33,990
Kentucky $32,570
Louisiana $33,160
Maryland $28,560
Massachusetts $29,480
Michigan $39,640
Minnesota $37,310
Mississippi $37,410
Missouri $34,240
Montana $29,630
Nebraska $39,020
New Jersey $24,560
New Mexico $33,750
New York $37,430
North Carolina $27,440
North Dakota $39,760
Ohio $37,420
Oklahoma $29,390
Oregon $31,170
Pennsylvania $35,370
South Carolina $34,940
South Dakota $38,780
Tennessee $33,520
Texas $27,240
Utah $29,720
Vermont $31,050
Virginia $33,030
Washington $34,900
Wisconsin $37,420

What Tools & Technology do Agricultural Equipment Operators Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Agricultural Equipment Operators may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Access

Becoming an Agricultural Equipment Operator

Individuals working as an Agricultural Equipment Operator have obtained the following education levels:

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Where Agricultural Equipment Operators Work

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The table below shows the approximate number of Agricultural Equipment Operators employed by various industries.

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References:

Image Credit: Alandmanson via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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