Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products

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About the Job

Grade, sort, or classify unprocessed food and other agricultural products by size, weight, color, or condition.

It is also Called

  • Sorter
  • Seed Sorter
  • Sample Grader
  • Sales Inspector
  • Ring Facer
  • Produce Sorter
  • Produce Laborer
  • Produce Inspector
  • Poultry Sexer
  • Poultry Inspector
View All

What They Do

  • Separate fiber tufts between fingers to assess strength, uniformity, and cohesive quality of fibers.
  • Record grade or identification numbers on tags or on shipping, receiving, or sales sheets.
  • Grade and sort products according to factors such as color, species, length, width, appearance, feel, smell, and quality to ensure correct processing and usage.
  • Discard inferior or defective products or foreign matter, and place acceptable products in containers for further processing.
  • Weigh products or estimate their weight, visually or by feel.
  • Place products in containers according to grade and mark grades on containers.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: RC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Realistic interests, but also prefer Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Support, but also value Working Conditions and Relationships in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Food Production - Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Education Required

Some of these occupations may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.


In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $25,410 with most people making between $19,830 and $30,530


avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 1,180 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 1,130 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 0 openings due to growth and about 20 replacement openings for approximately 20 total annual openings.

Pennsylvania Department of Education