Because workers in the Agricultural Mechanics pathway are responsible for the efficient operation of farm machinery, opportunities in the farm equipment industry will grow as farms merge and grow larger. Agricultural and farm equipment mechanics are responsible for the maintenance, repair, and installation of machines that increase the efficiency of farming activities, such as planting, harvesting, and irrigating crops. Agricultural mechanics also service and repair smaller lawn and garden equipment operated by suburban homeowners.
Important skills for this pathway include the ability to maintain and repair farm machines, such as large tractors or combines. Dairy equipment repairers maintain and repair milking machines and other equipment used by dairy farmers. Modern farm equipment utilizes computers, electronics, and hydraulics, which means that workers need to continually update their skills. In fact, what was once a general repairer’s job has become a more specialized technical field in the farm industry. As a result, many farmers rely on farm equipment dealers to maintain and repair their machinery because the equipment is more complex than in the past. Another occupation in this pathway is agricultural engineer—someone who designs equipment and technology to meet farmer needs.
Some agricultural mechanics receive formal training in professional/technical schools and two-year colleges, where they learn the basics of diesel engines, transmissions, and hydraulics. Other mechanics learn their skills on the job, receiving training from more experienced mechanics and from training sessions conducted by heavy equipment manufacturers. Competition for workers is keen because of the scarcity of qualified people to fill agricultural mechanic positions.