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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.
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