What does a Farmer, Rancher, or Agricultural Manager do?
Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers operate establishments that produce livestock, crops, and vegetables and produce enough crops and livestock to feed populations of people as well as having enough to export. They evaluate all factors in this job, such as disease, market conditions, soil conditions, weather, and federal programs that are available to them. About 7 in 10 farmers, ranchers, or other agricultural managers are self-employed.
How to become a Farmer, Rancher, or Agricultural Manager
Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers typically have a high school diploma and obtain their skills through work experience. Because of the growing complexities and costs farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers have increasingly needed to have postsecondary education, such as an associate's degree or perhaps get a bachelor's degree in agriculture or related field.
Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers 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.
Work experience is usually gotten through growing up on a farm or working under experienced farmers.
Job Description of a Farmer, Rancher, or Agricultural Manager
The job of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers is to oversee every step of the ranging process and crop production to include herding, planting, harvesting, and fertilizing. They must evaluate market conditions, soil conditions, disease, weather, and federal program availability to determine how to best raise livestock or crops. 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. A farmer, rancher, and other agricultural manager is also the sales agent for dairy products, livestock, and crops. They negotiate with banks or other credit lenders to get the financing needed for purchasing equipment, grain, and livestock before they have the products to sell. He or she keeps records of employee information, taxes, financial, and production.
Though the typical work week of these careers reportedly is over 40 hours, O*Net Online reports that there is also a lot of freedom in this career along with freedom to make decisions. If you are someone who loves the outdoors, this career field may have you working outside most of the time.
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 aquafarming), which is the farming of aquatic organims like fish and aquatic plants. According to O*Net Online, all of these career fields have bright occupational outlooks.