Operating Farming Equipment
Nearly every farm in the United States makes use of machinery to help make the farming process easier.
Some large farms are almost completely automated, while smaller farms may pride themselves with doing much of the work by hand and, thus, providing a very high-quality product. The type of crop or animal being raised also dictates how much technological advances will come into play. For example, tobacco is a crop that is traditionally best when harvest by hand, while commercial dairy farms have to use machinery in order to produce clean, fresh milk for consumers.
If you work on a farm, the type of equipment you may use depends on the type of farm. Some of the most common on all farms include tractors, ploughs, combines, mowers, balers, and trucks. Processing equipment like cotton gins may also be found on farms. Some equipment, such as the tractor, hasn’t changed much in the last 50 years, while other equipment has been fully digitized and new advancements in technology are currently being tested.
Farm workers who learn from the start how to run all of the pieces of equipment on a farm increase their chances of being offered full-time hours and pay raises. However, there are a few things to consider when it comes to running machinery:
- Often, there is an age minimum. While some farms hire high school students, especially for seasonal farm work, most machinery requires that you are at least 18 years old to run it. In some cases, that age requirement may be even higher.
- Equipment is expensive. Unless you have training, you could break equipment, costing the farmer thousands of dollars and costing you your job. On-the-job training is extremely important, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- If you use machinery improperly, you could also hurt the animals. Most machinery is built with safety triggers to avoid hurting animals and workers alike, but this isn’t always the case. Once again, make sure you have been trained before you attempt running a piece of machinery.
- Even with training, machinery is dangerous. Every year, farm workers are killed when machinery rolls over or catches on fire. Many pieces of farm equipment also has automated parts with sharp edges or forceful movements, and it is easy for farmers to lose digits or limbs.