Agricultural Production Operations

Program Description
  • Develop confidence in one’s physical and mental abilities to perform work in the field of agriculture.
  • Understand the importance of the agriculture industry in our nation’s economy and quality of life.
  • Develop skills needed to succeed in the field of agriculture.
  • Develop productive oral and written communication skills.
  • Develop the ability to work effectively as an individual and in a group.
  • Be familiar with potential careers in the agriculture field, and education required for each
  • Be prepared to enter the workforce or higher education
Related Occupations

Farmers and ranchers 

Agricultural managers

Crop farmers and managers

Livestock, dairy, and poultry farmers

Ranchers and managers

Nursery and greenhouse managers 

Aquaculture farmers and managers 

Nature of Work

 Agricultural production is the major activity of this industry sector and it consists of two large subsectors, animal production and crop production. Animal production includes establishments that raise livestock, such as beef cattle, poultry, sheep, and hogs; farms that employ animals to produce products, such as dairies, egg farms, and apiaries (bee farms that produce honey); and animal specialty farms, such as horse farms and aquaculture (fish farms). Crop production includes the growing of grains, such as wheat, corn, and barley; field crops, such as cotton and tobacco; vegetables and melons; fruits and nuts; and horticultural specialties, such as flowers and ornamental plants. Of course, many farms have both crops and livestock, such as those that grow their own animal feed, or have diverse enterprises.

The nature of agricultural work varies, depending on the crops grown, animals being raised, and the size of the farm. Although much of the work is now highly mechanized, large numbers of people still are needed to plant and harvest some crops on the larger farms. During the planting, growing, and harvesting seasons, farmers and their employees are busy for long hours, executing such activities as plowing, disking, harrowing, seeding, fertilizing, and harvesting. Vegetables generally are still harvested manually by groups of migrant farmworkers, although new machines have been developed to replace manual labor for some fruit crops. Vegetable growers on large farms of approximately 100 acres or more usually practice “monoculture,” large-scale cultivation of one crop on each division of land. Fieldwork on large grain farms—consisting of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of acres—often is done using modern agricultural equipment, such as massive tractors controlled by global positioning system (GPS) technology.

Training and Advancement

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

To show competency in farm management, agricultural managers may choose to become certified. The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) offer the Accredited Farm Manager (AFM) credential. The AFM requires 85 hours of coursework in land management and business ethics; a bachelor’s degree; 4 years of experience in farm or ranch management; and passing an exam. A complete list of requirements is available from ASFMRA. 

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers must monitor and assess the quality of their land or livestock. These tasks require precision and accuracy.

Critical-thinking skills. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers make tough decisions through sound reasoning and judgment. They determine how to improve their harvest and livestock, while reacting appropriately to external factors such as unfavorable weather or insect infestations.

Initiative. Many farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers are self-employed and must be motivated in order to maximize crop or livestock production. 

Interpersonal skills. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers supervise laborers and other workers, so effective communication is critical.

Mechanical skills. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers operate complex machinery and occasionally perform routine maintenance.

Physical strength. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers—particularly those who work on small farms—must be able to perform physically strenuous, repetitive tasks, such as lifting heavy objects and bending at the waist.

Job Outlook

Employment of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers is projected to show little or no change from 2018 to 2028. Over the past several decades, the efficiencies of large-scale crop production have led to the consolidation of acreage under fewer, but larger, farms. As farms become larger, they are able to invest more in productivity-enhancing technologies, reinforcing this effect.

Despite steady demand for agricultural products, many small farms operate with slim profit margins and are vulnerable to poor market conditions. As in the past, operators of smaller farms will likely continue to exit the business over the next decade.

Program of Study Framework / Class Resources

Instructor

Amy Kline

Amy Kline

Ag Production (CF)

Email: akline@cfsd.info

Phone: (717) 485-3195 Ext: 1107

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145 E CHERRY ST
MCCONNELLSBURG, PA  17233

(717) 485-5813

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It is the policy of Fulton County Area Vocational Technical School not to discriminate against any person, in any action or decision regarding activities or employment policies, on the basis of age, sex, color or by reason of any personal, physical or mental handicap.

Inquiries regarding compliance with Titles VI, IX and Section 504, should be forwarded to the Director of the Fulton County AVTS at:

145 East Cherry Street, McConnellsburg, PA 17233 (717) 485-5813

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