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As modern farms have grown in size, their need for complex machines capable of working hundreds of acres has grown as well. No longer working with just a simple till, modern farmers employ multiple tractors, each equipped with up to four hundred horse-powered engines. Along with large tractors, there are other expensive, complex machines like irrigation systems, combines, hay balers and many more. Farm equipment mechanics are highly skilled and trained technicians who are called in by farmers and farm equipment dealers to perform repairs and regular maintenance on these large and expensive pieces of machinery.
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Most farm equipment mechanics will work for a farm equipment dealer; they will work mostly in a shop and work on machines brought in for repair. During the planting and harvesting seasons, mechanics will be especially busy and they may be called out to a farm for emergency repairs. A mechanic will begin by assessing a damaged piece of farm equipment and then he or she will use their training and experience to discover what the problem is and take the necessary steps to repair the machine.
A mechanic who specializes in farm equipment will have to have a thorough knowledge of the various machines used in the field such as planters, tillers, spray equipment, tractors, and machines used to milk cows. They will need to be able to take apart and rebuild these machines, be able to differentiate between working and nonworking parts, and know where to order the proper machine parts.
Farm equipment mechanics will also need to perform regular diagnostics on equipment to make sure that these expensive pieces of machinery are kept clean and well-oiled as to last the farmer as long as possible. Mechanics may also be called in to repair dents or scratches on the machines as well as other cosmetic concerns, and to service older models.
Most mechanics will work in well-lit, well-heated shops with up-to-date equipment. However, if an equipment mechanic works on the farm, the comfort level might be different. In peak seasons the mechanic may have to travel to the farm and work outside in hot or cold weather. There may also be a large customer service component to being a mechanic as customers will bring their machines to the shop for a repair or to buy new parts and will often have questions that only the mechanic can answer.
Many farm equipment mechanics are self-employed, either working from their own garages or on the farm. Since some form of farming takes place in so many different locations in the continental United States, there is potential for a career as a farm equipment mechanic anywhere he or she may want to live. However, they will find the best options for employment in rural, farm-heavy areas.