A farm hand is responsible for handling a myriad of tasks for a farming operation. They operate machinery to perform farm tasks, such as by using a tractor to initially plow soil into a planting condition. After initial plowing, the farm hand uses a seeder and planter to plant the seeds into the plowed soil; then, they use a spreader or sprayer to apply fertilizer. As the crops grow, the farm hand uses pesticides on the crops to prevent losses; after the crops reach maturity, the farm hand uses a harvester to harvest the crops. To appropriately use all of this machinery the farm hand must be well versed in safety practices and best practices. On top of using a variety of machinery, the farm hand is also responsible for maintaining and repairing the equipment they use.
If working on a ranch, the farm hand performs tasks necessary to adequately care for and maintain livestock. This may include corralling cattle and ensuring that all enclosures are properly maintained. The farm hand also sets up equipment to aid in the cattle breeding process and is involved in the birthing of calves. Farm hands also perform administrative tasks for the farm including form filing, record keeping, crop processing, and livestock processing. Further, a wide variety of tasks are occasionally delegated to the farm hand based upon the current needs of the farm.
Being a farm hand is a very physically intensive job that requires long hours. Employers may also prefer prospective farm hands have previous professional or personal experience working on a farm.
Farm Hand Tasks
- Operate farm equipment, including using tractors, irrigating for floods and transporting animals.
- Maintain farm equipment and shelters.
- Care for animals, including feeding, health observation, tracking animal movements and grooming.