What does a Farmer or Rancher do?
|Citation||Retrieved in 2017 from BLS.org|
Farmers usually operate farms that produce livestock, crops, and vegetables and produce enough crops and livestock for private sales or wholesale to companies. About 7 in 10 farmers and ranchers are self-employed and many work on family-owned farms. There is no typical work week; farmers and ranchers work hours that are determined by the needs.
How to Become a Farmer or Rancher
Farmers and ranchers typically have a high school diploma and obtain their skills through work experience. Work experience is usually gained through growing up on a farm or working under experienced farmers. Because of this industry’s complexities and costs, farmers and ranchers increasingly are pursuing postsecondary education. An associates degree or bachelor’s degree in agriculture or related field is how some people become a farmer.
Farmers and ranchers can gain education in farming through several government programs. All state university systems offer a minimum of one land-grant college or university with a school of agriculture. These programs have courses in plant breeding, agronomy, business (with a concentration in agriculture), farm management, agricultural economics, and dairy science.
Job Description of a Farmer or Rancher
Farmers and ranchers oversee and contribute to every step of the ranging process and crop production to include herding, planting, harvesting, and fertilizing. They purchase farm machinery, seed, fertilizers, and other supplies and ensure machinery and equipment is in good repair and well-maintained. They must also keep the farm facilities (like fences, hoses, pipes, and animal shelters) in good working order. He or she must be flexible and able to adapt to weather conditions, seasons, or a crop’s growing cycle.
When researching this career field, you may also be interested to research positions in a nursery or greenhouse. Another option is aquaculture (also known as aqua farming), which is the farming of aquatic organisms like fish and aquatic plants. According to O*Net Online, all of these career fields have bright occupational outlooks.
To learn more about farming, you can also check out the National Young Farmers Coalition website.