Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Green Job Series: Careers in Water Conservation [Fifth Installment]

Because agriculture is the largest consumer of water resources, agricultural and grounds maintenance workers have a vital role in water conservation. Agricultural workers use more efficient irrigation techniques that provide crops with the optimal amount of water while minimizing water loss. Landscaping and grounds keeping workers maintain outdoor spaces. They ensure that these areas are properly kept up and watered.

This installment of The Daily Leap's green job series profiles key agriculture and grounds maintenance occupations in water conservation.

Agriculture and Grounds Maintenance Occupations

Most agricultural and grounds maintenance workers spend the majority of their time outdoors, and some of the work is physically demanding. Agricultural workers are employed by farms; grounds maintenance workers may be employed by a landscaping company or by any organization that has a large area of landscaped land.

Job Duties

Farmers oversee the production of crops. They supervise all steps of crop production, including planting, fertilizing, watering, and harvesting. They determine how to raise crops, taking into account the amount of water needed and the most efficient way to deliver it. They work with agricultural engineers and other workers to design irrigation systems for their fields and oversee the regular watering of crops.

Agricultural equipment operators use a variety of farm machines to plow fields, sow seeds, and maintain and harvest crops. They also operate heavy machinery to dig irrigation ditches or trenches for pipes. Some operate irrigation equipment, such as overhead sprayers. Equipment operators may also make adjustments or minor repairs.

Farmworkers and laborers handle numerous tasks related to growing and harvesting crops. They may ensure that crops receive enough water and remove weeds or unwanted plants that would consume water.

Landscaping and grounds keeping workers ensure that outdoor areas are properly and efficiently watered. For example, they may water only in the early morning or in the evening, so that water is not lost through evaporation. They may also adjust sprinkler systems so that sprinkler sprays do not overlap or waste water by spraying sidewalks or other non-planted areas.

Education and Training

Most farmers need a high school diploma, and some have a bachelor’s degree from a college of agriculture. Some farmers gain experience growing crops, tending livestock, or working part-time on a farm, others learn through an internship or other farm-based training program.

Agricultural equipment operators require between 1 and 12 months of on-the-job training or a formal training program. Farmworkers and laborers need less than a high school diploma, but may need up to a year of on-the-job training. Landscaping and grounds keeping workers typically do not need any formal education and are trained on-the-job in less than 1 month.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) currently does not have wage data specific to the water conservation industry. The table that follows shows wages for selected agriculture and grounds maintenance occupations in May 2012. The wages shown are median annual wages for the United States as a whole; wages vary by employer and location.

Occupation Median annual wage
Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers $69,300
Agricultural equipment operators $25,860
Farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse $18,670
Landscaping and grounds keeping workers $23,570

For more detailed information on agriculture and grounds maintenance occupations in the water conservation industry, follow the Occupational Outlook Handbook link.

Thursday's final water conservation industry series installment: Water Operations Occupations.

No comments:

Post a Comment