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Career Profile: Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse

Manually plant, cultivate, and harvest vegetables, fruits, nuts, horticultural specialties, and field crops. Use hand tools, such as shovels, trowels, hoes, tampers, pruning hooks, shears, and knives. Duties may include tilling soil and applying fertilizers; transplanting, weeding, thinning, or pruning crops; applying pesticides; or cleaning, grading, sorting, packing, and loading harvested products. May construct trellises, repair fences and farm buildings, or participate in irrigation activities.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 526,300 people employed as farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse in the United States. The median annual salary is $28,700. Entry level employees earn approximately $25,270 per year and senior employees earn approximately $37,990 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Move containerized shrubs, plants, and trees, using wheelbarrows or tractors.
  • Tie and bunch flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees, wrap their roots, and pack them into boxes to fill orders.
  • Load agricultural products into trucks, and drive trucks to market or storage facilities.
  • Haul and spread topsoil, fertilizer, peat moss, and other materials to condition soil, using wheelbarrows or carts and shovels.
  • Harvest plants, and transplant or pot and label them.
  • Operate tractors, tractor-drawn machinery, and self-propelled machinery to plow, harrow and fertilize soil, or to plant, cultivate, spray and harvest crops.
  • Set up and operate irrigation equipment.
  • Repair and maintain farm vehicles, implements, and mechanical equipment.
  • Harvest fruits and vegetables by hand.
  • Clean work areas, and maintain grounds and landscaping.
  • Sell and deliver plants and flowers to customers.
  • Sow grass seed, or plant plugs of grass.
  • Inform farmers or farm managers of crop progress.
  • Direct and monitor the work of casual and seasonal help during planting and harvesting.
  • Identify plants, pests, and weeds to determine the selection and application of pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Regulate greenhouse conditions, and indoor and outdoor irrigation systems.
  • Provide information and advice to the public regarding the selection, purchase, and care of products.
  • Maintain and repair irrigation and climate control systems.
  • Dig, cut, and transplant seedlings, cuttings, trees, and shrubs.
  • Record information about crops, such as pesticide use, yields, or costs.
  • Repair farm buildings, fences, and other structures.
  • Maintain inventory, ordering materials as required.
  • Record information about plants and plant growth.
  • Dig, rake, and screen soil, filling cold frames and hot beds in preparation for planting.
  • Participate in the inspection, grading, sorting, storage, and post-harvest treatment of crops.
  • Inspect plants and bud ties to assess quality.
  • Trap and destroy pests, such as moles, gophers, and mice, using pesticides.
  • Cut, roll, and stack sod.
  • Feel plants' leaves and note their coloring to detect the presence of insects or disease.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
526,300
Annual Openings:
87,400
Increase in Openings by 2030:
5%
Annual Salary Range:
$25,270 - $37,990
Education Requirements:
Some high school