Farm and ranch workers help raise crops and livestock for market.
Duties of farm and ranch workers vary with the type of farm and the season. Farm and ranch workers may work with:
Regardless of their duties, farm and ranch workers keep records of farm production. For example, they record how the animals or crops grew, how much food they gave them, and how much they produced. By sharing this information with farmers, farm and ranch workers help improve farm production.
Some work with food crops such as grains, fruits, nuts, or vegetables. They plow, plant, water, and fertilize plants. Depending on the size of the farm or what they are growing, farm workers may plant or harvest by hand or use machines. After the harvest, they sort and grade products and package them for sale. During busy times such as harvesting, farm workers may direct extra work crews. Some farm workers may work only during the spring and summer months. Others may work all year because they grow cover crops during the winter months.
Other farm and ranch workers feed, water, groom, and care for the health of livestock and poultry. When necessary, they provide simple medical care, such as giving shots or cleaning wounds. Occasionally, they help with birthing animals. In addition, they tag or brand animals so owners can identify their livestock. Farm and ranch workers build or repair structures, such as fences or pens. They also keep barns, stables, pens, and kennels clean.
On larger farms, farm workers may operate equipment such as tractors, hay balers, and milking machines. They also may maintain and repair equipment. For example, they may repair irrigation pipes or dig out trenches that are clogged.