Jobs in Demand: Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse

Large tractor plowing a field with worker driving on a sunny day.

According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota has 26 million acres of farmland that cover more than half (51%) of the state’s total land area. There are approximately 68,000 farms with an average farm size of 375 acres. Minnesota places fifth in the nation for agricultural production, with sugar beets, dry beans and sweet corn, and soybeans placing top-third in crop production. Minnesota also places highly in crop production for corn, barley, wheat, potatoes, and alfalfa. Vital to making this all happen include Agricultural Equipment Operators and Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse.

Minnesota employs about 880 Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse. These workers manually plant, cultivate, and harvest vegetables, fruits, nuts, horticultural specialties, and field crops. The use of hand tools is nearly limitless, and includes shovels, trowels, hoes, tampers, pruning hooks, shears, and knives. Specific daily duties of such workers may include tilling soil and applying fertilizers, transplanting, weeding, thinning, or pruning crops. Other duties may include applying pesticides or cleaning, grading, sorting, packing, and loading harvested products. Other repair and maintenance or construction duties may also be called for. With all these responsibilities, this type of work will require physical strength, coordination, dexterity, and stamina. Excellent communication and teamwork skills are also required.

Formal educational credentials are not typically needed to become a Farmworker and Laborer, but there will likely be on-the-job training. Employers looking to hire Farmworkers and Laborers will look for those with dependability and initiative, adaptability, and attention to detail.

Looking forward, DEED anticipates employment for Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse to grow by 3.6% between 2018 and 2028. This is equivalent to approximately 180 jobs. Additionally, there will be the need for nearly 2,000 more Farmworkers and Laborers to fill jobs left vacant due to labor market exits. As of DEED’ most recent job vacancy survey, there were about 170 current job openings for Farmworkers and Laborers with a median wage offer of $17.81. The typical Farmworker and Laborer, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse in Minnesota makes between $12.35 per hour and $21.13 per hour. Median hourly wages for such workers do vary across the state, from $10.39 in Northeast Minnesota to $16.62 in the Seven County Metro Area to $20.82 in Northwest Minnesota.

If you are interested in more information about opportunities as a Farmworker or Laborer, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse worker, check out the Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse occupation page here on You are also invited to check out other Jobs in Demand here on the website for info about wage ranges, educational and training requirements, current open positions in Minnesota and more.  

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