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Agricultural Inspectors
SOC Code: 45-2011.00

Inspect agricultural commodities, processing equipment, and facilities, and fish and logging operations, to ensure compliance with regulations and laws governing health, quality, and safety.

Sample of reported job titles: Brand Inspector; Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI); Deputy Brand Inspector; Food Inspector; Food Sanitarian; Grain Inspector; Inspector; Inspector, Food Safety and Inspection Service (Inspector, FSIS); Seed and Fertilizer Specialist; Shipping Point Inspector

Tasks

  • Inspect food products and processing procedures to determine whether products are safe to eat.
  • Interpret and enforce government acts and regulations and explain required standards to agricultural workers.
  • Set standards for the production of meat or poultry products or for food ingredients, additives, or compounds used to prepare or package products.
  • Inspect agricultural commodities or related operations, as well as fish or logging operations, for compliance with laws and regulations governing health, quality, and safety.
  • Label and seal graded products and issue official grading certificates.
  • Monitor the operations and sanitary conditions of slaughtering or meat processing plants.
  • Take emergency actions, such as closing production facilities, if product safety is compromised.
  • Verify that transportation and handling procedures meet regulatory requirements.
  • Inspect the cleanliness and practices of establishment employees.
  • Examine, weigh, and measure commodities, such as poultry, eggs, meat, or seafood to certify qualities, grades, and weights.
  • Inspect or test horticultural products or livestock to detect harmful diseases, chemical residues, or infestations and to determine the quality of products or animals.
  • Monitor the grading performed by company employees to verify conformance to standards.
  • Set labeling standards and approve labels for meat or poultry products.
  • Write reports of findings and recommendations and advise farmers, growers, or processors of corrective action to be taken.
  • Direct or monitor the quarantine and treatment or destruction of plants or plant products.
  • Collect samples from animals, plants, or products and route them to laboratories for microbiological assessment, ingredient verification, or other testing.
  • Review and monitor foreign product inspection systems in countries of origin to ensure equivalence to the U.S. system.
  • Inquire about pesticides or chemicals to which animals may have been exposed.
  • Provide consultative services in areas such as equipment or product evaluation, plant construction or layout, or food safety systems.
  • Testify in legal proceedings.
  • Compare product recipes with government-approved formulas or recipes to determine acceptability.
  • Advise farmers or growers of development programs or new equipment or techniques to aid in quality production.

Technology Skills

  • Data base user interface and query software - Microsoft Access
  • Graphics or photo imaging software - Image processing software
  • Internet browser software - Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Analytical balances - Test weight apparatuses
  • Animal shearing or clipping equipment - Dehairing machines
  • Calibration weights or weight sets - Block weights; Counterpoise weights; Sealed baskets; Test weight kits (see all 6 examples)
  • Cargo trucks
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital cameras
  • Dropping pipettes - Pipettes
  • Floor or platform scales - Grain hopper scales
  • Global positioning system GPS receiver - Global positioning system GPS receivers
  • Grading machines for seed or grain or dried leguminous vegetables - Barley pearlers; Dockage testers; Rice sizers
  • Grinding mills - Rice millers
  • Hard hats
  • Infrared imagers - Near infrared NIR analyzers
  • Laboratory sifting equipment - Hand sieves
  • Ladders - Extension ladders
  • Laser printers - Ticket printers
  • Lightmeters - Light meters
  • Mechanical balances - Beam scales; Equal-arm scales
  • Medical syringe without needle - Syringes
  • Moisture balances - Moisture scales
  • Moisture meters - Moisture detectors
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance NMR spectrometers - Nuclear magnetic resonance NMR systems
  • Profile projectors - Electronic mass comparators
  • Rice cleaning or hulling equipment - Rice shellers
  • Sample holders - Bean sack triers; Diverter samplers; Tapered bag triers; Truck probes (see all 11 examples)
  • Sample preparation bombs - Bacon bomb samplers
  • Sorting machines for seed or grain or dried leguminous vegetables - Agricultural dividers; Blust drum samplers; Rotary dividers; Single-tube open-ended bag triers (see all 8 examples)
  • Thermal tape printers
  • Truck or rail scales - Railway track scales; Vehicle weight scales
  • Utility knives - Packaging knives

Knowledge

  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Skills

  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation - Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.

Abilities

  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Speed of Closure - The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Auditory Attention - The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

Interests

  • Interest code: RCI
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
    • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Work Context

  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 76% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Contact With Others - 76% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 69% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 59% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 47% responded “Very important results.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 65% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 60% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 67% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 45% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 51% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 49% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 54% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 40% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 61% responded “Every day.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather - 47% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure - 53% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled - 59% responded “Every day.”
  • Physical Proximity - 56% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures - 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 50% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Standing - 31% responded “About half the time.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 50% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 33% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Electronic Mail - 45% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 30% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 32% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 42% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 40% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Outdoors, Under Cover - 28% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 35% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People - 31% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Consequence of Error - 30% responded “Fairly serious.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body - 38% responded “Less than half the time.”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
56%High school diploma or equivalent
12%Some college, no degree
12%Associate's degree

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Work Values

  • Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $20.86 hourly, $43,390 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 16,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Average (5% to 9%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 2,200

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