FARM CROP PRODUCTION TECHNICIAN - Description
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Farm crop production technicians help farmers increase their crop yields. They are involved in every aspect of crop production and management, from choosing and planting seeds to harvesting and bringing crops to market. Farm crop production technicians don't do the actual farmwork, but they're out in the field, analyzing soil conditions, suggesting fertilizers to promote growth, and recommending ways to control disease and insects. Farm crop production technicians make studies of farmers’ yields and monitor crops throughout their growth to insure they meet expectations. They oversee harvests. Sometimes, they suggest alternative uses for crops to help farmers earn more or cope with a surplus. Experienced farm crop production technicians might even help manage the farm's business, making recommendations on hiring workers, choosing machinery, and handling finances.
Some farm crop production technicians handle all aspects of crop production, from planting to harvesting and processing. Others specialize in a particular area, such as soil or pest management. Some farm crop production technicians work with diversified farms that produce a variety of crops, such as wheat, corn, fruit, and vegetables. Others work with specialized farms that grow only one or two crops. These include farms that produce seeds for commercial seed companies, orchards where fruit trees are cultivated, and vineyards that produce grapes for winemaking.
Farm crop production technicians can work directly with farmers as self-employed independent contractors. But most are employed by companies that support agriculture, including feed and supply companies and farm equipment sales and service companies. They also work for food-processing companies whose profits are directly affected by the production of farmers who supply their crops.
These farm crop production technicians work out in the field and may be exposed to extreme weather conditions. During planting and harvesting seasons, they often work long hours to insure all goes according to plan. If a natural disaster strikes, such as a hurricane or flood, or a premature frost or sudden insect infestation, technicians might work round the clock until the problem is solved.
Some farm crop production technicians work primarily indoors. They are employed in government laboratories or for companies involved in nutrition research or quality control. They might work in food-processing plants, overseeing the testing, grading, packaging, and transportation of processed crops.
Farm crop production technicians must be comfortable communicating with other people, particularly farmers. They often have to explain, in a sympathetic way, why a farmer's methods aren't working. They also must explain scientific or high-tech procedures in a clear, understandable manner.
Being well-organized is important for farm crop production technicians because many operations involved in crop production must occur at just the right times. They should also have a talent for problem solving. Being even tempered is also helpful since crops are affected by many unseen factors, including the weather. When things don't go according to plan, you have to remain cool, calm, and collected as you focus on just the right solution.