Here are some of the FAQs by our applicants, employees, and parents of youth applicants. If you still have questions after reading through this, feel free to contact us.
Q: What kind of schedule do your harvest employees work?
A: Our harvest operations are Monday through Saturday. Due to weather, daily schedules often change. Typically, our Tractor and Combine Operators will work from about 7:30 am until 8:30 pm, sometimes later. Hay Squeeze Operators / Loaders will usually have longer hours than that.
Q: How old do I have to be in order to work for you?
A: You must be at least 14 years old to operate a tractor and 16 years old to work as a Mechanic Shop Helper or Inventory Intern.
Q: Who needs a tractor safety certificate and how do I get one?
A: Anyone 14-17 years old needs to attend a youth tractor safety class and obtain a certificate in order to operate farm machinery for employers, including our tractors. There are several classes offered around the Willamette Valley and our Youth Tractor Class Info web page is updated with upcoming class opportunities. Classes fill up fast, so register early.
Q: When will you be calling people in for seasonal (harvest) position interviews?
A: We typically start our interview process in late May.
Q: What should I expect at my interview?
A: All our interviews involve talking with a hiring manager or human resources. Applicants interviewing for any type of operator position (tractor, combine, hay squeeze / loader, truck driver) will also perform a “drive test” with an experienced trainer in the cab with them.
Q: What should I wear to my interview?
A: Dress for the job you are applying for – wear what you would wear if you were coming to work on your first day. Specifically, if you are applying for any of the operator positions (tractor, combine, hay squeeze/loader, truck driver), you should wear closed-toed shoes and long pants that will allow you to easily climb up into and operate the equipment.
Q: If I’m hired for harvest work, when will my first day of work be?
A: Before harvest starts, we will have a mandatory safety meeting, which is the first day of work for most positions. This typically falls during the last 10 days of June, but we don’t set the date until mid-June. The first day of harvest typically falls within the last week of June or first week of July and is dependent upon the weather. We will know the specific start date 3 or 4 days before our first day of harvest. Additionally, not all our crews start operating on the same day. We phase in our crews over the course of about a week.
Q: Am I going to be able to have the 4th of July off?
A: That’s a tough question to answer. If harvest starts on or before the 4th of July, some crews will be working on the 4th. We really won’t know for sure until the day before.
Q: How many hours will I be able to work in a week?
A: That depends on few things. The maximum number of hours our 14 – 17-year-old employees operating tractors will work is 72 hours/week. However, part-time tractor operators will work more like 36-48 hours/week. Employees who do the best job operating are given the opportunity to work more hours than those who do not operate as well, as evaluated by our Crew Chiefs.
Q: How are the tractor operators supervised?
A: All tractor operators are part of a baling crew with an experienced Crew Chief who supervises them at all times in the field and on the roadways between fields.
Q: What kind of training do you provide your equipment operators?
A: We provide both formal and hands-on training to all our equipment operators. We spend more time with those who have less experience and we do not allow them to operate equipment on their own until we are confident in their skills. This training starts before harvest and continues through the first several days of work for each employee, with Crew Chiefs supervising youth tractor operators at all times.
Q: Are there bathrooms provided to your harvest crews?
A: Every baling crew has a port-a-potty in the field with them. We also have port-a-potties placed at barns where there are no bathroom facilities for use by our Hay Squeeze Operators, Truck Drivers, and Inventory Interns.