What does a farmer do? (2023)

What is a Farmer?

A farmer works under the umbrella of agriculture, producing a variety of food products for human and animal consumption. There are several kinds of farmers, ranging from farmers who raise animals to farmers who grow crops.

Farmers are responsible for all crops and livestock that are needed for us to survive. Without food, the world would slowly die, and farmers work hard every day to keep plenty of crops and animal products in the market to keep that from happening.

What does a Farmer do?

What does a farmer do? (1)

A farmer's main goal is to produce a good crop and/or healthy animals in order to make a living and to feed the population.

A farmer has various responsibilities within their particular field. Whether it is the purchasing and planting of seeds on a cash crop farm, the purchasing of quality breeding stock on an animal husbandry farm, or the diet and care of a specific type of livestock on an animal production farm, a farmer needs to have a wide knowledge base of the agricultural industry as a whole.

Besides the general knowledge of planting dates, breeding cycles and harvesting periods, a farmer often needs a good working knowledge of mechanics in order to keep their equipment running and in optimal order.

A strong working knowledge of the limitations and regulations of the Food and Drug Administration, state agencies, and local government is a must for a farmer, as there are many regulations placed on the agricultural industry.

The following are various types of farmers:

Organic Farmer - produces fruits, vegetables, grains, or livestock without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers

Grain and Forage Crop Farmer - grows grains such as wheat, barley, canola, oats, rye, flax, peas and speciality crops or forage crops

Dairy Farmer - owns or manages a farm where cows are raised for the production of milk and other dairy products

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Poultry Farmer - raises domesticated birds such as geese, ducks, turkeys or chickens

Rancher - raises livestock such as cattle or sheep, or less common livestock such as elk, bison, ostrich, emu or alpacas

Beekeeper - keeps honey bees, and produces honey, pollen, royal jelly and beeswax

Vermiculturist - breeds worms and uses the worms to convert waste products such as uneaten food, feces, grass clippings, and spoiled fruit and vegetables into healthy, nutrient-rich soil and organic fertilizer

Alligator Farmer - breeds and raises alligators or crocodiles in order to produce leather, meat and other goods

Are you suited to be a farmer?

Farmers have distinct personalities. They tend to be enterprising individuals, which means they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic. They are dominant, persuasive, and motivational. Some of them are also investigative, meaning they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if farmer is one of your top career matches.

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What is the workplace of a Farmer like?

Where a farmer works is based on which area of the agricultural industry they choose to work. Here we will outline just a few of the many options available to include fish farming, cash crop farming, animal husbandry, and livestock production.

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In the area of fish farming - farmers will manage a large fishery, often specializing in one variety of fish, such as tilapia. These farmers specialize in the raising of fish to be processed for consumption or to be released into lakes, rivers, and streams in the attempt to repopulate a dying waterway. Fish farmers need to know the specifics of the species they are raising as well as the environmental requirements placed upon them by federal, state, and local governments.

In the area of cash crop farming - a farmer will raise crops to market for consumption, medical use, animal food production, and the growing herbal industry. A farmer in this field will be responsible for the planting, fertilization, and harvesting of the crops, as well as transport to the proper production elevators for sale at harvest. Cash crop farmers will need a strong working knowledge of planting times, harvesting times, and weather patterns in order to gain a good footing in their field.

Some of these crops may be processed to be sold back to farmers for future use. These crops are purchased by seed companies who treat the crops and process them, then sell them to farmers to use the next season as seeds to plant their fields. Other examples of such a circular sale include crops that are purchased to produce animal feed, which is then later sold to farmers in the animal husbandry and livestock production fields.

In animal husbandry - farmers concentrate on providing healthy, hearty livestock for later processing for consumption. Farmers often specialize in one type of animal in this field, carefully breeding the livestock to produce the best quality offspring each season. Offspring are then raised to take the place of the current breeding stock over time, with the current breeding stock sold after a period of time. Animal husbandry requires a strong knowledge of blood lines and species types, as well as the best possible out-crossings of those types to provide the best results in breeding.

Also, some offspring may be sold to other farms who specialize in livestock production to be raised for a specific production purpose. A veal farm is one example of a farm involved in specialized livestock production that may purchase offspring from an animal husbandry farm for a specific production purpose. As the calves must be placed on a special diet, these farms are responsible for holding the livestock to that diet, monitoring their health, and selling them to production facilities at the proper age, weight, and size to produce the necessary product requirements for their field. Animal production farmers will need to know the diets, illnesses, treatments, and growth rates necessary for their specialized areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I become a Farmer?

Farming offers a life of independence and connection to the land, but it also involves huge responsibility. To get a sense of how you are likely to respond to the demands of farming, consider your answers to the following set of questions:

Are you comfortable being solely responsible for an entire operation?
The success of most small farms rests entirely with their owner(s), who are typically responsible for both day-to-day operations and long-term planning.

Are you able to accept uncertainty and variability in your life?
Uncertainty, even insecurity, are not uncommon in the farming industry. Among the factors that can affect a farmer’s livelihood are climate change, government mandates and regulations, and global trade policies.

Are you a fast learner?
The farming industry has become rather complicated. It has a very steep learning curve. Farmers must constantly watch the markets to try to get the best price for their products and find the lowest prices for seed, fertilizer, and equipment. They must operate complex high-tech machinery, such as tractors with GPS-guided driving systems. They need to understand multiple varieties of bio-engineered seeds and the chemical make-up of fertilizers, soil types, and weed killers. Simply stated, becoming a farmer means you will need to absorb a lot of information and keep up to date with changing systems and techniques.

(Video) A Day In The Life Of A Farmer

Are you a resourceful problem-solver?
Farming is as much a mentality or lifestyle as it is a profession. The challenges and setbacks presented by the occupation require that you possess imagination and creativity to find solutions and survive.

Are you a patient person?
When you start out, you will make mistakes and encounter stumbling blocks. You will be well served by taking the long-term view because success typically takes a long time.

Do you possess basic business management skills?
To keep a farm operating, farmers must be able to manage cash flow, budgets, and equipment depreciation schedules; calculate risk margins; track profits; and create marketing plans. They must understand economic trends and remain aware of government legislation relevant to their enterprise.

Are you prepared for the working conditions on a farm?

Hours of work and time demands: Unless they hire an assistant, it is not uncommon for fulltime, independent farmers to have no time off during the planting, growing, and harvesting seasons. Duties during these periods can often take from early morning to late evening. During the rest of the year, preparations for the upcoming season must be made; these may include maintenance and repairs, accounting, and marketing.

Manual labor: Even with modern equipment, farming remains a manual labor enterprise. A reasonable level of physical fitness is crucial.

Hazards: Handling livestock, using various chemicals, and operating and repairing farming machinery and equipment can be hazardous.

Do you have enough money to invest in farming?
Starting even a small farm requires considerable initial capital. You have to buy materials and equipment. You either have to buy land or deal with land lease relationships.

Are you prepared for the potential economic hardships of farming?
It has been estimated that to stay afloat, approximately 91% of all small farms require outside income, either from a second job or from government and foundations grants.

If you feel comfortable with the demands raised by the above questions, you may be further motivated to become a farmer by these simple, but attractive benefits of the occupation:

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  • Escape the office
  • No dress code
  • No commute
  • Bring your pet to work
  • Spend your days outside
  • Stay fit
  • Join a close knit community
  • Feed the planet

What are Farmers like?

Based on our pool of users, farmers tend to be predominately investigative people. This prevailing characteristic is reflective of much of the work that farmers are called upon to do: investigate suitable land, examine crops, inspect livestock, analyze budgets, and explore marketing options. Clearly, ‘investigative’ perfectly describes the quintessential farmer.

Are Farmers happy?

Farmers rank highly among careers. Overall they rank in the 73rd percentile of careers for satisfaction scores. Please note that this number is derived from the data we have collected from our Sokanu members only.

The life of farmer may encompass operational, financial, and regulatory challenges, but the time-honored tradition of farming and the connection to the land that it offers may very well explain its high level of occupational happiness. While farming is not without its trials and tribulations, there appears to be something very fulfilling and profound about it.

How long does it take to become a Farmer?

Many farmers are born into a family farming business. From the time they are children they gain their knowledge through observation and hands-on experience.

The modernization and new complexities of the farming industry, however, have increased the need for farmers and ranchers to also receive formal training. This is especially true for those who are responsible for making financial and operational decisions.

Aspiring farmers who choose to supplement their hands-on experience with formal training or education will commonly add one or more of the following timelines to their learning track:

  • Certificate – the length of certificate programs varies greatly, depending on the type and amount of content.
  • Online Degree – one year to eighteen months
  • Associate Degree – one to two years
  • Bachelor’s Degree – four years

For further information, please see our How to Become page.

Farmers are also known as:
Agriculturer Farm Owner Agriculturist Agriculturalist Cultivator

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What is the role of farmers? ›

A Farmer manages farms, ranches, greenhouses, nurseries, and other agricultural production organizations. Farmers are involved in planting, cultivating, performing post-harvest duties, overseeing livestock, and supervising farm labor depending on the type of farm.

Who is a farmer in simple words? ›

A farmer is a person who runs and works on a farm. Some farmers raise a variety of food crops, while others keep dairy cows and sell their milk. Farmers work in some aspect of agriculture, growing vegetables, grains, or fruit; or raising animals for milk, eggs, or meat.

What does a farmer do in a day? ›

In a single day the farmers conduct an orchestra of activities: harvesting, hoeing, planting, working with children, and preparing for weekly CSA pick ups.

What skills does a farmer have? ›

Here are some examples of different skills you need as a farmer:
  • Problem-solving. As a trial-and-error profession, farming requires strong problem-solving skills. ...
  • Mechanical and repairing. ...
  • Interpersonal. ...
  • Time management. ...
  • Health and physical stamina. ...
  • Organizational. ...
  • Management. ...
  • Adaptability.
Mar 29, 2021

What type of person is a farmer? ›

A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture, raising living organisms for food or raw materials. The term usually applies to people who do some combination of raising field crops, orchards, vineyards, poultry, or other livestock. A farmer might own the farm land or might work as a laborer on land owned by others.

What are the 4 types of farming? ›

The different types of farming are as follows: Dairy Farming. Commercial Farming. Plantation Farming.
Further Reading:
  • Economic Survey 2021.
  • Agriculture in India.
  • High Yield Crops.

Why are farmers important 10 lines? ›

Set 3 – 10 Lines on Farmer for Higher Class Students

Farmers are the reason for which we are getting fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmers are very much essential for the survival of human society. Farmers contribute a lot of efforts to the economic growth of the country. It is our sole duty to respect every farmer.

What is a farmer's life like? ›

A farmer's lifestyle is a busy and hectic one. A lot of tasks and work are done and must be completed every day to achieve their ultimate goal. A day in the life on the farm starts very early. This is to do in order to finish tasks more quickly.

Is farming a hard job? ›

Farming for a living is hard work. Even with a part-time off-farm job, we work hard at the farming part for not a lot of money. Farming feels great when things are going smoothly. But when a crop busts or the workload weighs a ton, it's easy to feel despaired.

Do farmers make a lot of money? ›

Median total household income among all farm households ($92,239) exceeded the median total household income for all U.S. households ($70,784) in 2021. Median household income and income from farming increase with farm size and most households earn some income from off-farm employment.

What are 5 things that farmers grow? ›

By use, crops fall into six categories: food crops, feed crops, fiber crops, oil crops, ornamental crops, and industrial crops. Food crops, such as fruit and vegetables, are harvested for human consumption. Grains, such as corn, wheat, and rice, are the world's most popular food crops.

What makes a successful farmer? ›

Passion and commitment are essential. You never know what Mother Nature will throw at you in the course of a year. Operating a farm business requires perseverance and self-motivation. Many prospective and new farmers are excellent at producing quality products.

What is the best thing about being a farmer? ›

A farmer has more and better food to eat than have most people who live in cities. He is healthier and lives longer. He is likely to enjoy his work more than most city people do. He is more likely to rear a family and thereby promote the future welfare of the nation.

How much money is in farming? ›

Average net cash farm income (NCFI) for farm businesses* is forecast at $110,600 in calendar year 2022, up 8.9 percent from 2021 in nominal terms.

What is it called when you work on a farm? ›

A farmhand is someone who's employed by a farmer to work on a farm. Farmhands might help harvest vegetables, feed animals, or drive a tractor. If you get a summer job on a farm, you can call yourself a farmhand.

What makes a farmer happy? ›

A farmer is happy when the soil is happy. A healthy and fertile soil is the foundation of the food system that produces healthy produce.

What makes you a true farmer? ›

Possibly the most essential characteristic of a farmer is having a never-give-up attitude. This is the mark of a successful farmer who will stay in the game for the long run. Patience, perseverance and passion make it possible to push through the challenges and failures.

Do farmers work 7 days a week? ›

It is not a five-day workweek, nor is it a 40-hour week vocation. It is a job that requires the farmer to be on call 24 hours per day, seven days per week. If you think about it, the farmer is the original “Weekend Warrior.”

What are the 7 steps of farming? ›

The 7 steps involved in agricultural practices are mentioned below:
  1. Ploughing.
  2. Sowing.
  3. Adding nutrients.
  4. Irrigation.
  5. Protecting plants.
  6. Harvesting.
  7. Storage.

What are the 2 main types of farming? ›

Depending upon the geographical conditions, demand of produce, labour and level of technology, farming can be classified into two main types. These are subsistence farming and commercial farming.

What is the most popular type of farming? ›

Family farm

Most farms in the United States are family farms — nearly 96 percent, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service's Census of Agriculture.

What is an interesting fact about farmers? ›

Farmers need to produce 70% more food than today to feed the world's growing population by 2050. As per the study, farmers need to produce 70% more food because the population will increase from 7 million to 9 million by 2050. We can achieve this figure through improvements in the agricultural processes.

What is a fact about farmers? ›

Each American farmer produces food and fiber for 165 people annually, both in the U.S. and abroad. Eight percent of U.S. farms market foods locally through farmers' markets and food hubs. One day's production for a high-producing dairy cow yields 10.5 pounds of cheese. Women make up 30 percent of today's farmers.

How farmers are useful in our life? ›

Farmers are the pillars of our nation. They work hard to supply food items for everyone living in the nation throughout their lives. In India, nearly two-thirds of the population rely on agriculture for their livelihood. They produce food, fodder and other raw materials, and are the major source of income for a farmer.

What is the hardest thing about being a farmer? ›

The hardest thing about being a farmer is the very reason they enjoy it – trying to be very good at all the everyday jobs needed to be a successful farmer. Each day, including weekends and holidays, they make sure their animals are well taken care of by checking their health and watching their diet.

What time do farmers wake up? ›

As farmers, an earlier sunrise is something we certainly appreciate! In the growing and festival seasons, our days start at 4:30 AM. After some much-needed coffee, we head out by about 6:15 AM and huddle with our staff to start on any projects for the day and check on the animals.

How do farmers make money? ›

On average, farmers and ranchers receive 15 cents of every dollar spent on food. The rest of that money (85 cents if you're doing the math) goes to other areas of food retail like production and processing, marketing, and transportation and distribution. That amount varies greatly depending on the type of food.

How many hours do farmers work in a week? ›

Work Schedules

Most farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers work full time, and many work more than 40 hours per week. Farm work is often seasonal, and the number of hours worked may change according to the season.

Do farmers go on vacation? ›

Vacations are more than just time away from the farm. It's an opportunity for farmers and their families to have a break, a chance for their mind and body to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. Stepping away for even a day can help relieve stress and prevent burnout.

Are farmers rich or poor? ›

Farm Household Wealth and Income

Farm operator households have more wealth than the average U.S. household because significant capital assets, like farmland and equipment, are generally necessary to operate a successful farm business.

Who is the richest farmer in the world? ›

Qin Yinglin (Chinese: 秦英林; pinyin: Qín Yīnglín, born 1965) is a Chinese agriculture tycoon, billionaire, Communist Party member, and the world's richest farmer. He is the chair and president of the pig farming company Muyuan Foodstuff and is one of the richest people in China. According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, ...

How do farmers pay themselves? ›

Ag producers can pay themselves in a variety of ways and increase liquidity into retirement. The most common way is through a W-2 wages or family draw. Less common is through commodity wages or investing in their retirement through available plans.

What is a farmer explanation for kids? ›

A farm is a piece of land used to grow crops and/or raise animals for produce. People who grow this produce are called “farmers”, and their work is called “farming”.

What it means to be a farmer? ›

The definition of farmer is: “a person who cultivates land or crops or raises animals (such as livestock or fish).”[1] In use, however, the term isn't that clear.

What does a farmer do answer for kids? ›

A farmer is someone who grows plants and raises animals for human use. Farmers have to work very hard and long hours in order to be successful. The work of farmers is necessary for human survival. Farming, or agriculture, has been around for about 10,000 years.

Who is a farmer question answer? ›

A farmer is responsible for growing and cultivating crops to feed the people in their community. To do this, they must carefully plan and prepare the land, sow seeds, tend to the crops, and harvest them at the right time.

How do you describe the life of a farmer? ›

A farmer's lifestyle is a busy and hectic one. A lot of tasks and work are done and must be completed every day to achieve their ultimate goal. A day in the life on the farm starts very early. This is to do in order to finish tasks more quickly.

What foods do farmers grow? ›

  • Corn and Other Feedgrains. Corn is the most widely produced feed grain in the United States, with most of the crop providing the main energy ingredient in livestock feed.
  • Cotton and Wool. ...
  • Fruit and Tree Nuts. ...
  • Rice. ...
  • Soybeans and Oil Crops. ...
  • Sugar and Sweeteners. ...
  • Vegetables and Pulses. ...
  • Wheat.
Jan 24, 2022


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