An agricultural contractor provides a number of services to the farming industry. These services may be divided into several sub-categories, including agricultural operations, mobile operations, and livestock services. Agricultural operations are services dealing with land and fields. Mobile operations include those contractors offering equipment that can be temporarily set up for seasonal use by farms. Livestock services contractors help to maintain the well-being of farm animals. Agricultural contractors typically work on a job-by-job basis and may travel extensively to many locations throughout a certain area.
Operations dealing with land, fields, or crops include fertilization, widespread chemical application, harvesting crops, and seed processing. An agricultural contractor has a general knowledge of farming methods and the types of farm machinery used in these operations. Some contractors may only work in certain areas or offer limited services, like specialized ground crop spraying or manure spreading. Others offer a wide array of services associated with land or field work, like fencing, aerial spraying, pest control, forage conservation, and production of specific crops.
Most mobile operations services offered by an agricultural contractor are offered seasonally and relieve a farm or farming operation from having to store expensive equipment that is only used a for few weeks or months out of the year. For example, mobile seed processors offer farmers the advantage of high quality cleaning, gravity separation, and packaging in various size containers or bags. Some agricultural contractors also offer seed testing, which assures that only quality seed is distributed and used for planting. Mobile milling equipment produces high-quality, organic feed using a farmer's own raw materials as ingredients.
Livestock services contractors generally work with any type of farm animal or process associated with farm animals. Some of the types of services offered are whole flock management, livestock pregnancy scanning, foot trimming, and lambing. Other services include sheep shearing and dipping, and livestock husbandry. Some agricultural contractors working in this area may do other kinds of agricultural contract work when the livestock season is slow.
An agricultural contractor may work as part of a cooperative effort or as self-employed freelance farm specialist with a working knowledge of farming, farm equipment, and the various processes and associated with farm operation. These specialists may provide advice on various topics, including cultivating methods, root crops, or the best types of farm equipment or processes for a particular situation. Many of these agricultural contractors are associated with a larger cooperative or association.