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Agricultural Equipment Operator

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Life As an Agricultural Equipment Operator

Agricultural Equipment Operator Definition 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.

List of Agricultural Equipment Operator Job Duties

  • Walk beside or ride on planting machines while inserting plants in planter mechanisms at specified intervals.
  • Load and unload crops or containers of materials, manually or using conveyors, handtrucks, forklifts, or transfer augers.
  • Irrigate soil, using portable pipes or ditch systems, and maintain ditches or pipes and pumps.
  • Operate or tend equipment used in agricultural production, such as tractors, combines, and irrigation equipment.
  • Observe and listen to machinery operation to detect equipment malfunctions.
  • Direct and monitor the activities of work crews engaged in planting, weeding, or harvesting activities.

Agricultural Equipment Operator Needed Skills

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.

Types of Agricultural Equipment Operator

  • Ginning Operator
  • Elevator Worker
  • Truck Driver
  • Bean Picker Machine Operator
  • Planting Machine Crewman

Agricultural Equipment Operator Employment Estimates

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 63,900 jobs in the United States for Agricultural Equipment Operator. 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. The BLS estimates 10,200 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Agricultural Equipment Operators in U.S.

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.

Salary for an Agricultural Equipment Operator

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

Salary Ranges for Agricultural Equipment Operators

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

How much do Agricultural Equipment Operators make in each U.S. state?

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 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

How do I Become an Agricultural Equipment Operator?

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

Agricultural Equipment Operator Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Agricultural Equipment Operator Work Experience

Where Agricultural Equipment Operators Work

Agricultural Equipment Operator Sectors

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

Agricultural Equipment Operator Industries


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

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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