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Agricultural Equipment Operator

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No standard requirement

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What They Do

Agricultural Equipment Operators Career Video

About This Career

Drives and controls equipment to support agricultural activities such as tilling soil; planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops; feeding and herding livestock; or removing animal waste. 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.

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

A person in this career:

  • Loads and unloads crops or containers of materials, manually or using conveyors, handtrucks, forklifts, or transfer augers.
  • Mixes specified materials or chemicals, and dumps solutions, powders, or seeds into planter or sprayer machinery.
  • Sprays fertilizer or pesticide solutions to control insects, fungus and weed growth, and diseases, using hand sprayers.
  • Observes and listens to machinery operation to detect equipment malfunctions.
  • Manipulates controls to set, activate, and adjust mechanisms on machinery.
  • Operates or tends equipment used in agricultural production, such as tractors, combines, and irrigation equipment.
  • Adjusts, repairs, and services farm machinery and notifies supervisors when machinery malfunctions.
  • Attaches farm implements such as plows, discs, sprayers, or harvesters to tractors, using bolts and hand tools.
  • Loads hoppers, containers, or conveyors to feed machines with products, using forklifts, transfer augers, suction gates, shovels, or pitchforks.
  • Directs and monitors the activities of work crews engaged in planting, weeding, or harvesting activities.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overtime work
  • Seasonal work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Baler Operator — Operates and tends machines that compresses and binds paper, cloth, or other loose materials.
  • Cutter Operator
  • Equipment Operator
  • Hay Baler
  • Rake Operator
  • Sprayer
  • Packing Tractor Machine Operator
  • Loader Operator
  • Farm Equipment Operator
  • Windrower Operator


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733