What does a Farmer or Rancher do
Farmers usually operate establishments that produce livestock, crops, and vegetables and produce enough crops and livestock to for private sales or wholesale to companies. About 7 in 10 farmers and ranchers are self-employed and many work on family owned farms.
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 the growing complexities and costs, farmers and ranchers increasingly are pursuing postsecondary education. Associates degrees or a bachelor’s degree in agriculture or related fields is the path some have taken to 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
The job of farmers and ranchers is oversee and contribute to every step of the ranging process and crop production to include herding, planting, harvesting, and fertilizing. They would purchase farm machinery, seed, fertilizers, and other supplies that are needed and ensure all machinery and equipment is in good repair and well maintained, as well as farm facilities, like fences, hoses, pipes, and animal shelters.He or she must be flexible and able to adapt to weather conditions, seasons, or a crop’s growing cycle.
There is no typical work week; farmers and ranchers work hours that are determined by the needs. Often times they work more than 40 hours and work in harsh conditions due to the changing of the weather. Self- employed farmers often times make there own hours and can determine how they want the day to look like. Though many times they still work 7 days a week, with some days slower than others.
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.