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Carpenters

Carpenters construct and repair building frameworks and structures—such as stairways, doorframes, partitions, and rafters—made from wood and other materials. They also may install kitchen cabinets, siding, and drywall. Show Details

Duties

Carpenters typically do the following:

  • Follow blueprints and building plans to meet the needs of clients
  • Install structures and fixtures, such as windows and molding
  • Measure, cut, or shape wood, plastic, fiberglass, drywall, and other materials
  • Construct building frameworks, including wall studs, floor joists, and doorframes
  • Help put up, level, and install building framework with the aid of large pulleys and cranes
  • Inspect and replace damaged framework or other structures and fixtures
  • Instruct and direct laborers and other construction trade helpers

Carpenters are one of the most versatile construction occupations, with workers usually doing a variety of tasks. For example, some carpenters insulate office buildings; others install drywall or kitchen cabinets in homes. Those who help construct large buildings or bridges often make the wooden concrete forms for cement footings or pillars. Some carpenters build braces and scaffolding for buildings.

Carpenters use many different hand and power tools to cut and shape wood, plastic, fiberglass, or drywall. They commonly use handtools, including squares, levels, and chisels, as well as many power tools, such as sanders, circular saws, and nail guns. Carpenters put materials together with nails, screws, staples, and adhesives, and do a final check of their work to ensure accuracy. They use a tape measure on every project because proper measuring increases productivity, reduces waste, and ensures that the pieces being cut are the proper size.

The following are types of carpenters:

Residential carpenters typically specialize in new-home, townhome, and condominium building and remodeling. As part of a single job, they might build and set forms for footings, walls and slabs, and frame and finish exterior walls, roofs, and decks. They frame interior walls, build stairs, and install drywall, crown molding, doors, and kitchen cabinets. Highly-skilled carpenters may also tile floors and lay wood floors and carpet. Fully-trained construction carpenters are easily able to switch from new-home building to remodeling.

Commercial carpenters typically remodel and help build commercial office buildings, hospitals, hotels, schools, and shopping malls. Some specialize in working with light gauge and load-bearing steel framing for interior partitions, exterior framing, and curtain wall construction. Others specialize in working with concrete forming systems and finishing interior and exterior walls, partitions, and ceilings. Highly skilled carpenters can usually do many of the same tasks as residential carpenters.

Industrial carpenters typically work in civil and industrial settings where they put up scaffolding and build and set forms for pouring concrete. Some industrial carpenters build tunnel bracing or partitions in underground passageways and mines to control the circulation of air to worksites. Others build concrete forms for tunnels, bridges, dams, power plants, or sewer construction projects.

Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers run establishments that produce crops, livestock, and dairy products. Show Details

Duties

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers typically do the following:

  • Supervise all steps of the crop production and ranging process, including planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and herding
  • Determine how to raise crops or livestock according to factors such as market conditions, federal program availability, and soil conditions
  • Select and purchase supplies, such as seed, fertilizers, and farm machinery
  • Operate and repair farm machinery so it cultivates, harvests, and hauls crops
  • Adapt what they do as needed for weather and where the crop is in its growing cycle
  • Maintain farm facilities, including its water pipes, hoses, fences, and animal shelters
  • Serve as the sales agent for livestock and crops
  • Keep financial, tax, production, and employee records

American farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers produce enough food and fiber to meet the needs of the United States and for export. However, farm output and income are strongly influenced by weather, disease, fluctuations in prices, and federal farm programs.

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers monitor the constantly changing prices for their product. They use different strategies to protect themselves from unpredictable changes in the markets.

Many farmers carefully plan the combination of crops that they grow, so if the price of one crop drops, they will have enough income from another crop to make up the loss. When farmers and ranchers plan ahead, they may be able to store their crops or keep their livestock to take advantage of higher prices later in the year.

Most farm output goes to food-processing companies. However, some farmers now choose to sell their goods directly to consumers through farmer's markets or use cooperatives to reduce their financial risk and gain a larger share of the final price of their goods. In community-supported agriculture, cooperatives sell shares of a harvest to consumers before the planting season to ensure a market for the farm's produce.

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers also negotiate with banks and other credit lenders to get financing because they must buy seed, livestock, and equipment before they have products to sell.

Farmers and ranchers own and operate mainly family-owned farms. They also may lease land from a landowner and operate it as a working farm.

The size of the farm or range determines which tasks farmers and ranchers handle. Those who operate small farms or ranges usually do all tasks. In addition to growing crops and raising animals, they keep records, service machinery, and maintain buildings.

Those who operate large farms, however, have employees—including agricultural workers— who help with physical work. Some employees of large farms are in nonfarm occupations, working as truck drivers, sales representatives, bookkeepers, and IT specialists.

Both farmers and ranchers operate machinery and maintain their equipment and facilities. They track technological improvements in animal breeding and seeds, choosing new products that might improve output.

Agricultural managers take care of the day-to-day operation of one or more farms, ranches, nurseries, timber tracts, greenhouses, or other agricultural establishments for corporations, farmers, or owners who do not live and work on their farm or ranch.

Agricultural managers usually do not do production activities themselves. Instead, they hire and supervise farm and livestock workers to do most daily production tasks.

Managers may determine budgets. They may decide how to store and transport the crops. They oversee proper maintenance of equipment and property.

The following are some types of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers:

Crop farmers and managers—those who grow grain, fruits and vegetables, and other crops—are responsible for all steps of plant growth. After a harvest, they make sure that the crops are properly packaged and stored.

Livestock, dairy, and poultry farmers, ranchers, and managers feed and care for animals. They keep livestock in barns, pens, and other well-maintained farm buildings. These workers also oversee breeding and marketing.

Horticultural specialty farmers and managers oversee the production of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and plants (including turf) used for landscaping. They also grow grapes, berries, and nuts used in making wine.

Aquaculture farmers and managers raise fish and shellfish in ponds, floating net pens, raceways, or recirculating systems. They stock, feed, protect, and maintain aquatic life used for food and for recreational fishing.

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