Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products (French version available)
At a grocery store, you can see all kinds of foods, including meat, fruit, and vegetables. Before the food gets there, graders and sorters work to divide the food into categories to send it to the right place. If you are a good observer and like to work with your hands, the job of grader and sorter for agricultural products might be right for you.
In grocery stores, eggs come in different sizes and colours. Other products also come in different varieties, shapes, and sizes. Certain types of grain or other products also have various qualities. Some types are fit for people to eat, but others are suitable only for animals. Sorting through these types of agricultural products is important for keeping people safe and giving them products that they want.
Graders and sorters work with unprocessed foods to sort into grades according to condition, size, weight, and colour. Any defective products, such as damaged fruit or eggs that have gone bad, go into the garbage or compost, but other products go into their own containers, where they might wait for further processing. Being able to estimate weight by feel is a useful ability, although scales are normally available for graders and sorters to use.
Good vision with or without glasses is important for this work, but people also need to be observant. Sometimes, a small detail like a slight bruise on some fruit can make a difference to the grade of a product. Manual dexterity to be able to handle small and sometimes breakable objects is also essential. Physical stamina is helpful, since people in this career might need to stand for hours at a time, often at conveyor belts where they need to work steadily for long periods.
Educational requirements can vary, but generally a high school diploma or the equivalent is necessary for this job. Mathematics and English skills are useful, and community college courses in agriculture could be helpful. In some cases, graders and sorters might need to supervise other workers, and business-related courses could be useful for those tasks. However, many people learn on the job.
These days, food can come from almost anywhere in the world. Much of the work for graders and sorters of agricultural products is near farms or processing plants, but jobs can also be available at ports or border crossings. If a shipment comes in, graders and sorters might need to work long hours to get the products on their way, but generally the hours are fairly regular.
Wages for graders and sorters begin at just under $16 per hour or $20,000 per year and can rise to more than $22.60 per hour or $36,000 per year. As people age, they might want to move into supervisory roles, but they can continue in this job as long as they are physically able.
Being a problem solver is a good quality for people in this job. Sometimes, equipment might fail or a shipment might be late, and the worker will have to find a solution. Knowing at least the basics of how machines work can be helpful. Also, knowing how to manage other workers can open up new opportunities for other jobs related to grading and sorting. Even knowing how to deal with animals can be helpful.
Working as a grader and sorter of agricultural products might not seem like a very exciting job, but it is important. Without these people working behind the scenes, it would be difficult for farmers to sell their food or the people to buy it. If this job appeals to you, why not consider exploring this option?
CareerPlanner.com. “Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products.” https://job-descriptions.careerplanner.com/Graders-and-Sorters-Agricultural-Products.cfm.
Careers.org. “Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products.” http://www.job-hunt.careers.org/occupations/45-2041.00/graders-and-sorters-agricultural-products.
My Next Move. “Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products.” https://www.mynextmove.org/profile/summary/45-2041.00.
Payscale Canada. Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products: Hourly Rate.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Grader_%2F_Sorter%2C_Agricultural_Products/Hourly_Rate.