Farm Equipment Operator

Run a tractor, baler, or manure spreader to make your fields productive.
picture of Farm Equipment Operator

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$17,000 – $38,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Farm Equipment Operators do?

You know that feeling when you look down at your hands and feel proud of your accomplishments for the day? A job as a Farm Equipment Operator will give you that feeling in spades. That’s because, simply put, the farm wouldn’t run without a Farm Equipment Operator. The crops would not be planted, nurtured, or harvested, and the animals would have no fresh hay.

That’s a lot of responsibility, but you love every minute of it. Sure, it’s dirty, dusty, callous-inducing work, but it’s also gratifying. Your days as a Farm Equipment Operator start early and often end late, but those hours are filled with fresh air, Mother Nature’s elements on your skin, and the kind of physical labor that will keep you from ever setting foot in a gym.

The farm equipment you operate includes a variety of tractors with a variety of uses. You spend your days attaching spreaders, rakes, and balers to the back of your tractor, and maneuvering them through the fields. You drive combines during harvest, and drag seed spreaders when it’s time to plant. Other machines and attachments help you till the soil, fertilize, plant, harvest, buck hay bales, cut, rake, husk, shell, thresh, and gin the crops.

Of course, things don’t always progress according to plan so you remain flexible as you deal with rain on harvest day and broken machinery pretty much every other day. To minimize machinery problems, you maintain equipment, clean it after each job, and make repairs when necessary.

Should I be a Farm Equipment Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • Also known as: Equipment Operator Wage Hand, Irrigation Equipment Remover, Nuclear Apprentice Plant Equipment Operator See More

    How to become a Farm Equipment Operator

    Most Farm Equipment Operators have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Bachelor's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9eaaaa&chl=no+college+%2893%25%29|certificate+%286%25%29||bachelor%27s+%281%25%29||doctorate+%281%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,93,93
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