General farm workers (NOC 8431)

About this job

This group includes operators of farm machinery.

People in this occupation:

  • plant, cultivate and harvest crops
  • raise livestock and poultry
  • maintain and repair farm equipment and buildings
  • are employed on crop, livestock, fruit, vegetable and specialty farms
Common job titles
  • artificial breeding / insemination
  • barn
  • beef cattle farm / cattle ranch
  • cowhand / cowboy / cowgirl / cowpuncher
  • crew member, custom harvest
  • dairy farm / milking machine


General farm workers:

  • plant, fertilize, cultivate, spray, irrigate and harvest crops
  • feed and tend livestock and poultry
  • milk cows
  • operate and maintain farm machinery and equipment
  • detect disease and health problems in crops, livestock and poultry
  • examine produce for quality and prepare for market
  • set and monitor water lines, air flow and temperature in barns, pens and chicken coops
  • clean stables, barns, barnyards and pens

Special duties

General farm workers can become specialized in a particular type of crop or livestock production through experience.

Work environment

Key aspects of the work in this occupation:

  • Work takes place both indoors and outdoors, so workers may be exposed to various weather conditions.
  • Workers use machinery, tools and heavy farm equipment, such as tractors, which can pose the risk of injury.
  • Strong odours are common on a farm.
  • Farmers may be exposed to chemicals, such as pesticides, and dust and sand in the workplace.
  • Workers may also be exposed to infectious bacteria and viruses as a result of treating sick animals.
  • Workers may be exposed to enough noise to affect hearing.
  • Some machinery can cause a vibrating or back and forth motion in the body.

Insights from industry


Career paths and resources

Career paths

Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Additional resources