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. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that approximately 930,600 farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers are employed in the United States.

Quick Facts
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
Alternate Title(s) Farm Managers, Farm Operators
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $100,000+
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Fair
Work Environment Primarily Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but the states of Texas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Kentucky have the largest number of farms
Education and Training
  • High School Diploma
  • Some Postsecondary Training
Related School Subjects
  • Agriculture
  • Business
  • Earth Science
Experience Any farming experience one can obtain will be useful
  • Business Management
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
  • Organizational
Personality Traits
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
  • Realistic
Licensure/Certification Recommended
Special Requirements None
Career Ladder
  • Owner of Multiple Farm Properties
  • Farmer
  • Farm Laborer

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