Do you like working with farm animals?
Have you considered working in agriculture?
In those cases, becoming a farm hand is the first step on the road to a rewarding career.
As you’ll see, work as a farm hand isn’t for everybody.
You need to meet certain requirements and work long hours.
But if you’re passionate about agriculture, it’s more than worth your while.
Here’s everything you need to know about being a farm hand.
- Farm Hand: The Basics
- Work Opportunities in the Farm Hand Industry
- What It’s Like to be a Farm Hand
- Farm Hand Salary & Income
- Overview of the Farm Hand Industry
- Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Farm Hands
- Farm Hand Education & Schooling
- Become a Farm Hand
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
Farm Hand: The Basics
A farm hand is someone who works on a farm.
They help the farmer with all aspects of crop and livestock management.
What is a Farm Hand?
Farmers can’t do everything for themselves.
Unless it’s a very small farm, they’ll need some farm hands to do the work.
These jobs run the gamut from animal care to equipment maintenance.
It depends on the farm.
What is a Farm Hand Called?
A farm hand can also be called a farm worker or agricultural worker.
What Does a Farm Hand Do?
A farmhand can fill many roles, depending on what the farmer needs.
On a livestock farm, they spend most of their time feeding and watering animals.
They’ll also remove animal waste, keep the animals clean, and make sure they’re fed.
On a crop farm, farm hands will water the crops, and apply fertilizers and pesticides.
They’ll also assist with planting and harvesting.
As you might imagine, exact tasks are seasonal.
Work Opportunities in the Farm Hand Industry
A farm hand is an entry-level position.
It’s the first step on the road to a bigger career in agriculture.
Here’s a quick overview of the job, as well as some careers it can lead to.
Farm Hand Job Description
Farm hands are responsible for all kinds of work around the farm.
This can include:
- Maintaining fences between fields
- Feeding livestock and moving livestock between pastures
- Planting and harvesting crops
- Managing sprinkler and irrigation systems
- Applying fertilizers and pesticides
- Assisting with animal births
- Milking cows
- Shearing sheep
- Maintaining tractors and other mechanical equipment
Top Farm Hand Jobs and Careers
Being a farmhand is only the first step.
Here are some careers you can move on to:
- A farm manager is responsible for overseeing a farm’s operations. The scope of work depends on the size of the farm.
- An animal breeder specializes in breeding high-quality livestock.
- A diesel mechanic maintains and repairs heavy diesel equipment.
Where Can a Farm Hand Work?
A farm hand works on a farm.
It can be any kind of farm, from dairy to berries, but it has to be out in the country.
What It’s Like to be a Farm Hand
So, what does a farm hand do, and what will your work day look like?
Let’s take a broad look at what you should expect.
Is Being a Farm Hand Hard?
There’s a lot of manual labor involved, and some of it can be dangerous.
That said, the work is also seasonal.
Much of it is mundane and boring.
Sometimes, the hardest part is finding work for the winter.
Is a Farm Hand’s Job Stressful?
It depends on the day.
If you’re driving a harvester all day, it can be downright dull.
If you’re birthing cattle, it can be very stressful.
Common Farm Hand Work Day
A farm hand’s day is never the same.
From day to day and season to season, you’ll have very different experiences.
Farm Hand Tasks & Duties
Depending on the farm, a farmhand might have any number of duties.
Even on the same farm, you’ll have different responsibilities in different seasons.
For example, you might spend the spring planting, and the summer irrigating and fertilizing.
In the autumn, you’d spend your time harvesting.
Farm Hand Work Hours & Schedule
Work on a farm begins early in the morning. Expect long hours, especially during harvest season.
Then again, you’ll have plenty of time off in winter.
Farm Hand Dress Code
Farm hands should wear practical clothes.
Jeans, light shirts, boots, and gloves are preferable.
Whatever you do, make sure it’s breathable, and it’s something you don’t mind getting dirty.
Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?
Being a farmhand requires long hours that vary through the year.
You can expect to be away from your family much of the time.
Farm Hand Salary & Income
When you think of any job or career, you probably want to know the pay rate.
Here’s what I’ve learned about farmhand pay.
Do Farm Hands Make Good Money?
When you work as a farmhand, it’s an entry-level position.
You don’t take this job to earn big bucks.
You take it to learn about the agriculture industry and gain experience.
You’ll earn enough to pay your bills, but don’t expect to be flush with cash.
How Much Do Farm Hands Make?
According to Indeed.com, the average farmhand earns $15.69 per hour.
Assuming you work 40 hours per week, that works out to a little over $32,600 per year.
In practice, you can expect lots of overtime in summer and less work in winter.
This varies depending on your region, level of experience, and the size of the farm.
The lowest-paid farmhands earn $11.60 per hour, while the highest-paid earn $21.22 per hour.
Overview of the Farm Hand Industry
The agriculture industry is strong right now.
In the short term, the war in Ukraine is driving up prices, fueling farms elsewhere in the world.
That said, long-term growth is more muddled.
Farm Hand Field: Career Progression
Most people become farm hands because they want to become a farmer or work elsewhere in agriculture.
Your career path will depend on what you want to do next.
To become a farmer, you’ll ultimately need to save up and buy a farm.
A college degree is a good idea if you want to go into animal breeding.
Is a Farm Hand a Good Career?
However, it’s a great job if you want to get your start in the agriculture industry.
Farm Hand Job Outlook
Farmhands will always be needed.
Automation has eliminated many farm jobs, but those that remain are difficult, if not impossible to automate.
Demand for Farm Hands
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 2% growth for agricultural workers between 2020 and 2030.
That’s slow growth compared to 8% for the general economy, but it’s still growth.
Farm Hand Facts
Of America’s 2 million farms, 98% are family-operated.
These farms produce 86% of American farm products.
Jobs Related to Farm Hand
Here are some jobs that are similar to being a farmhand:
- A farm manager oversees an entire farm.
- An oenologist is an expert in winemaking.
- A garden designer specializes in smaller plots, whether for food or pleasure.
Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Farm Hands
Farm hands require no formal education.
That said, they need to be physically fit and mentally tough.
Who Should Consider a Farm Hand Career Path?
If you have a passion for animals or agriculture, you’ll be a good fit as a farm hand.
Who Should NOT Consider a Farm Hand Career Path?
You shouldn’t be a farmhand if you don’t like – or can’t perform – manual labor.
It’s tough, messy work!
Is it Hard to Become a Farm Hand?
In most areas, no.
Because it’s an entry-level position, farm hands are constantly quitting.
What Do I Need to Become a Farm Hand?
To become a farm hand, all you need is physical fitness and a willingness to learn.
Requirements for Becoming a Farm Hand
There are no legal or industry requirements for becoming a farm hand.
What Skills Does a Farm Hand Need?
Besides a willingness to work hard, it depends on the farm.
On a cattle ranch, for example, you’d better be good around cows.
What Education Does a Farm Hand Need?
None, but you can earn degrees in related fields.
Can You Become a Farm Hand Without a Degree?
What Experience Does a Farm Hand Need?
That said, if there are many applicants, farmers will choose those with more experience.
Farm Hand Education & Schooling
So, how do you learn to be a farm hand, and are there any related degrees?
Let’s take a look.
What is Taught in a Farm Hand Course?
Farm hand training is all done on the job.
Instead of taking courses, you learn how to raise animals and maintain equipment by learning from others.
Most employers provide rudimentary training as part of onboarding.
How Long Does a Farm Hand Course Take?
On-boarding is typically minimal.
You’ll be lucky if you spend a few days in training.
Farm Hand Education Options and Degree Programs
There are no university degrees in farm handing.
That said, you can earn degrees in related fields.
If you want to manage a large farm, it’s wise to get a bachelor’s degree in life sciences or animal husbandry.
A master’s degree will further burnish your credentials.
You can go on to work for a major animal breeder.
Schools for Farm Hands
Texas A&M and Iowa State University offer some of the best agricultural programs in the country.
Become a Farm Hand
If you want to become a farmhand, it isn’t that difficult.
Since there’s no experience required, all you have to do is look through some job listings.
Steps to Become a Farm Hand
If you want to be a farmhand, you’ll have to apply for the job.
Then show up for your interview prepared to work!
If you’re applying at a family farm, there’s a good chance they’ll hire you on the spot.
Current Career Job Openings
Are you ready to launch your career in the agriculture industry?
Check out these jobs that are currently hiring.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you call a female farmhand?
A female farmhand is a farmhand, or a farm worker if you prefer.
The term is completely gender-neutral.
Why do farmers work so hard?
Farming is grueling, physical work.
Machines like tractors and combines have made it a lot easier than it used to be.
But at the end of the day, it’s a demanding job.
It’s also seasonal.
You have to take advantage of all your daylight hours during harvesting and planting.
Work as a farm hand is tough, and the pay isn’t fantastic.
That said, it’s the first job most people work in the agriculture industry.
If you want to be a farmer, farm manager, or animal breeder, this is your foot in the door.
It’s also rewarding in its own right.
You spend most of your time outdoors, working with animals.
If that appeals to you, you should consider taking a job as a farm hand.