Workers Harvesting Crop

Farmers either own or lease land on which they raise crops, such as corn, wheat, tobacco, cotton, vegetables, or fruits; raise animals or poultry; or maintain herds of dairy cattle for the production of milk. Whereas some farmers may combine several of these activities, most specialize in one specific area. They are assisted by farm laborers—either hired workers or members of farm families—who perform various tasks.

As increasingly complex technology continues to impact the agricultural industry, farms are becoming larger. Most contemporary farms are thousands of acres in size and include massive animal and plant production operations. Subsistence farms, which produce only enough to support the farmer's family, are becoming increasingly rare. Approximately 929,800 farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers are employed in the United States, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Farm Managers, Farm Operators
Duties Plant, care for, and harvest crops; raise farm animals, fish, or bees; handle all business aspects of running a farm; hire and manage workers
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but the states of Texas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, California, Kentucky, and Illinois have the largest number of farms
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
  • Some Postsecondary Training
School Subjects
  • Agriculture
  • Business
  • Earth Science
Experience Any farming experience one can obtain will be useful
Personality Traits
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
  • Realistic
  • Business Management
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
  • Organizational
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook Decline
Career Ladder
  • Owner of Multiple Farm Properties
  • Farmer
  • Farm Laborer