Crop Farmworker/Laborer  What They Do

Just the Facts

Manually plants, cultivates, and harvests vegetables, fruits, nuts, horticultural specialties, and field crops. Uses hand tools, such as shovels, trowels, hoes, tampers, pruning hooks, shears, and knives. Duties may include tilling soil and applying fertilizers; transplanting, weeding, thinning, or pruning crops; applying pesticides; or cleaning, grading, sorting, packing, and loading harvested products. May construct trellises, repair fences and farm buildings, or participate in irrigation activities.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Plant Systems pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Sets up and operates irrigation equipment.
  • Operates tractors, tractor-drawn machinery, and self-propelled machinery to plow, harrow and fertilize soil, or to plant, cultivate, spray and harvest crops.
  • Repairs and maintains farm vehicles, implements, and mechanical equipment.
  • Harvests fruits and vegetables by hand.
  • Applies pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers to crops.
  • Informs farmers or farm managers of crop progress.
  • Directs and monitors the work of casual and seasonal help during planting and harvesting.
  • Identifies plants, pests, and weeds to determine the selection and application of pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Clears and maintains irrigation ditches.
  • Records information about crops, such as pesticide use, yields, or costs.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 50 lbs., sometimes up to 100 lbs. You will need a lot of strength at this level.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Seasonal work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Farm Laborer --
  • Farm Worker --
  • Field Irrigation Worker --
  • Field Worker --
  • Harvester --
  • Hired Hand --
  • Hoe Worker --
  • Irrigator --
  • Orchard Worker --
  • Picker -- Selects warehouse merchandise to replace items sold by retail stores the day before.