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Farmer on Tractor Plowing Field



Career Overview

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What They Do

Source: and

A heavy equipment operator is responsible for the loading and unloading of goods. They pull and stage orders for delivery with extreme accuracy. Furthermore, they ensure the product is transported from storage or receiving areas in a manner consistent with safety, quality and production goals.  Heavy equipment operators on farms also drive and control farm equipment to till soil and to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops. They may also perform tasks, such as crop baling or hay bucking. Additionally, they might operate stationary equipment to perform post-harvest tasks, such as husking, shelling, threshing, and ginning.

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Job Duties

  • Operate or tend equipment used in agricultural production, such as tractors, combines, and irrigation equipment.

  • Operate towed machines such as seed drills or manure spreaders to plant, fertilize, dust, and spray crops.

  • Walk beside or ride on planting machines while inserting plants in planter mechanisms at specified intervals.

  • Adjust, repair, and service farm machinery and notify supervisors when machinery malfunctions.

  • Direct and monitor the activities of work crews engaged in planting, weeding, or harvesting activities.

  • Guide products on conveyors to regulate flow through machines, and to discard diseased or rotten products.

  • Irrigate soil, using portable pipes or ditch systems, and maintain ditches or pipes and pumps.

  • Position boxes or attach bags at discharge ends of machinery to catch products, removing and closing full containers.

  • Spray fertilizer or pesticide solutions to control insects, fungus and weed growth, and diseases, using hand sprayers.

  • Weigh crop-filled containers, and record weights and other identifying information.

  • Attach farm implements such as plows, discs, sprayers, or harvesters to tractors, using bolts and hand tools.

  • Drive trucks to haul crops, supplies, tools, or farm workers.

  • Load and unload crops or containers of materials, manually or using conveyors, handtrucks, forklifts, or transfer augers.

  • Load hoppers, containers, or conveyors to feed machines with products, using forklifts, transfer augers, suction gates, shovels, or pitchforks.

  • Manipulate controls to set, activate, and adjust mechanisms on machinery.

  • Mix specified materials or chemicals, and dump solutions, powders, or seeds into planter or sprayer machinery.

  • Observe and listen to machinery operations to detect equipment malfunctions.

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Job Earnings

Source: NYS Department of Labor

Median Annual Income:  $41,390

Entry-Level Annual Salary: $30,480

Experienced Annual Salary:  $46,480

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Education/Training Requirements

A high school diploma, CDL, and forklift certification may be required to become a heavy equipment or forklift operator.

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Job Outlook & Growth


The future outlook for a heavy equipment or forklift operator will be great over the next five years.

Career Pathway

Ways to Start Preparing for Your Future Career TODAY!
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Middle & High School Opportunities

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Local Colleges/Training

Local Career Connection

Maxwell Torrey, Heavy Equipment Operator

Torrey Farms

Elba, NY

Deeper Dive

Equipment and Planting

Leslie Hamilton, Triple H Farms

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Livingston County 

2019 Agricultural Business of the Year: My-T Acres

Genesee County Chamber of Commerce

Where Can I Work?

Local GLOW Companies With Equipment Operator Jobs
Torrey Farms logo
Coyne Farms Logo
emerling farms.PNG
Lamb Farms Logo
Old Acres Farm Picture
Baker Brook Dairy Picture
baskin livestock.PNG
My-T Call Lands logo
m b farms.PNG
Stein Farms Logo
Howlett Farms logo

This is a selection of businesses in the region offering this career.  That does not mean that there are currently positions available.  For information on companies who are hiring right now, please visit

 If you would like to see your business listed here in the future, please email us at

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