Farming Fishing And Forestry

Professions in this category cultivate, maintain, harvest, and protect natural resources and raw materials for human use and consumption. Agricultural workers, loggers, fishers, and conservation workers all coordinate their efforts toward the acceptable treatment and use of these industries' products. Many different occupations fall under this category, including workers, operatives, and technicians with a range of skill levels. They can cultivate approved regions' resources or work on their own land. Other workers are employed by companies to maintain private tree farms or fisheries.

Within the category of "logger" are several more professions that tackle different parts of the harvesting process, all of which require training before getting regular work. Meanwhile, fishers and fishing workers employ different methods aboard a fishing boat or vessel to bring in their desired catches. This can include everything from setting traps for crabs to deep water fishing (and scuba diving). They apply modern technology to an ancient profession, to find fish and make a good profit.

Workers in this category typically work under managers or supervisors (or in the case of fishing crew, the boat captain). This does not mean, though, that these jobs don’t require training, skill, and expertise. Workers can try out different positions within their category or devote themselves to a single sub-specialty. Because much of the work is labor intensive, workers are expected to have physical stamina and an appreciation for the outdoors—especially what it can do to make our modern lives better and easier.

Tasks may include:

  • Inspecting professional equipment before use and maintaining upkeep on all machinery
  • Operating vehicles and heavy machinery to assist with or direct the work
  • Harvesting goods and produce to be sold in the near future
  • Learning new technology to improve quality or speed the pace of harvesting or other projects
  • Evaluating environmental needs to determine appropriate action, as to whether a certain area needs forest conservation efforts or farmland needs pesticides for crop growth
  • Processing materials and goods and preparing them for transport and distribution
  • Chopping down trees, clearing old brush, planting new seedlings; tending farm animals, harvesting crops, maintaining farm equipment; set and check for seafood and fish traps, employ nets, clean caught fish


Similar to other labor-intensive professions, extensive degrees and education are not required for much of this category, at least not for entry-level positions. A high school diploma can be useful, especially for work requiring a deeper knowledge base, like animal breeding. For some professions, vocational or trade schools offer courses or training programs to prepare future workers for the logging industry, for example, or to operate heavy equipment or machinery. Training opportunities in those cases would be more common and sometimes offered by states, partly due to the detailed safety protocols that workers need to learn for the profession.

On-the-job training is more common. Partly this is because these industries can be seasonal; job opportunities may last one or several seasons, but working one job is not a guarantee for years of employment. It depends on previous training and understanding of their industry, certifications or other training, demonstrated ability, and/or solid relationships between employer and employees. The projected amount of labor needed in a season also determines how competitive the jobs will be.


  • Communication skills Workers must be able to communicate and coordinate with their crews and team-members to be effective. Logging and fishing especially rely on strong crews who can understand and communicate direction, orders, and any issues that may come up during the work.
  • Decision-making skills. Working conditions in these industries are not without risk. Workers often operate complicated tasks in difficult or dangerous conditions. Good, quick judgment can make a difference-in the safety and security of the employees and in the success of a day's catch. Jobs that carry higher risks generally offer more compensation, but people need solid skills for decision-making if they are to thrive in their chosen professions.
  • Mechanical skills. Heavy equipment and complicated tools and machinery are often used here, and workers must be able to competently operate them, at minimum. Greater knowledge and understanding of the machinery will help them conduct maintenance and repairs as needed.
  • Physical stamina. Workers have to maintain pace and productivity through their entire shift-hour six needs to hustle the way that hour one did. Because of the active and physical nature of the work, it is crucial that workers are capable of meeting the demands of the job.
  • Physical strength. You don't have to be Superman to get hired, but you better be able to carry your own weight, work-wise. Workers have to handle, transfer, carry, and operate heavy equipment and machinery, not to mention hauling the product of the labor!


Jobs in this category are expected to grow at a rate far slower than the national average for all occupations, and some, unfortunately, will actually decline. These industries are and will be increasingly mechanized and automated, reducing the number of workers needed. Other problems within the industries-replenishment rate for fish populations, fluctuating rates of construction affecting the loggers-are hard to pin down precisely.

Some decline, in this overall category, may be mitigated by expected retirement of older workers over the next several years. Additionally, because of the difficult and physically intense nature of the work, employees tend to burn out after a few years and move on to less physically demanding job opportunities.


  Occupation Description Entry-Level Education 2012 Median Pay
Agricultural workers Agricultural workers

Agricultural workers maintain the quality of farms, crops, and livestock by operating machinery and doing physical labor under the supervision of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers.'

High school diploma $18,910
Fishers and related fishing workers Fishers and related fishing workers Fishers and related fishing workers catch and trap various types of marine life. The fish they catch are for human food, animal feed, bait, and other uses.' Less than high school $33,430
Forest and conservation workers Forest and conservation workers Forest and conservation workers measure and improve the quality of forests. Under the supervision of foresters and forest and conservation technicians, they develop, maintain, and protect forests.' High school diploma or equivalent $24,340
Logging workers Logging workers

Logging workers harvest thousands of acres of forests each year. The timber they harvest provides the raw material for many consumer goods and industrial products.'

High school diploma or equivalent $33,630

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