How to Become a Farmer
Farmer Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a Farmer
Salaries of Farmers
Influential Professionals in this field
Leading Organizations for Farmers
Top Cities for Farming Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Farmer

The majority of American farmers are born into the profession, and work on farms that have been in their families for multiple generations. Being raised on a farm is the most common way that people are traditionally trained to be farmers, but as farming becomes more technologically advanced, potential farmers need more training and schooling than they used to.

Potential farmers can get a two-year or four-year degree in agriculture, or sometimes in farm management. Courses within the discipline of agriculture may include animal science, dairy science, agronomy, horticulture, agricultural economics, crop science, and fruit science, among others. Students learn about ideal growing conditions and plant diseases as well as care of livestock.

Many times, a new farmer will complete a sort of apprenticeship under a more experienced farmer, to get the experience that can only be had by being on a farm. Sometimes these apprenticeships are formal and sometimes informal, and are generally longer when an apprentice has had no formal training.

What does a Farmer do?

Farmers are responsible for growing or raising food, among other crops. Farmers often work on family farms, and sometimes these farms have been in the family for generations. A farmer may specialize in one particular crop or several, or perform crop rotation; planting different crops in different years. Growing different crops also ensures that if the price of one crop drops, a farmer will still be able to make a living.

Many farmers, especially those on small family farms, are also managers. Managing a farm is a year-round job, as there is always something that needs to be done or planned for. In addition, the employees of the farm must be managed and directed. Some farmers sell their crops directly to consumers, at farmers' markets or through CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) produce boxes. Others sell their crops to retailers which, in turn, sell them to the consumer.

Some farmers grow crops, which can be fruits (such as apples, oranges, or strawberries), vegetables (such as spinach, carrots, and chard), fibers (such as cotton), or grain (such as wheat). These farmers must prepare and till the soil, plant the seeds, cultivate and fertilize the crops, and harvest, package, and sell the crops.

Livestock farmers raise animals such as chickens, pigs, sheep, and cows. They must breed, house and feed the animals, care for them, and keep their living spaces in good repair. They are also responsible for either slaughtering the animals and selling the meat, or collecting the eggs, wool, or milk, and selling it.

Other, less common, types of farmers are farmers who grow ornamental flowers and aquaculture farmers, those who raise farmed fish.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Farmer?

Unless a farmer has a manager, it is important for him or her to have good managerial skills to keep the farm running. Accounting is another field that farmers, surprisingly, should be proficient in, unless they have an accountant working for them. Knowledge of the crops or animals being grown or raised on the farm and how to work with the various tools on the farm is also essential for farmers.

How much does a Farmer make?

It is very difficult to determine how much money farmers make, as it can fluctuate wildly from year to year, depending upon weather conditions and other factors outside of a farmer's control. In addition, farmers are often able to receive subsidies from the government, bringing their earnings up to a livable wage. Depending on your specialty we estimate the average income to be around $45,000 per year.
Farmer Salary | More details for Farmer Jobs | Salary

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

George Washington Carver was extremely influential in the field of agriculture. He taught freed slaves to sustain themselves using farming techniques, and did his best to educate farmers. Carver promoted crop rotation for the nutrient-depleted soil of the South. Cotton had been the only crop grown in much of the South, every year, and George Washington Carver pointed out that crops such as sweet potatoes and peanuts provided an alternative to cotton. Carver helped small farmers to use these ideas to feed themselves as well as to sell.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The National Farmers Union (NFU) is a union for farmers that dates back to 1902. The NFU was founded to help small farmers who struggled with making a profit and battling large farm monopolies. The National Farmers Union represents family farmers in all the American states, and boasts a membership of over 250,000 farm families.

The American Farm Bureau is an independent organization which is not government affiliated, and represents farming and ranching families. The Farm Bureau operates at both a national and local level to help farmers, especially those working on family farms.

What are the top cities for Farming jobs?

The best place to farm depends greatly on what kind of farm you have. In addition, most farmers do not move, as their farm is settled in one place and they do not wish to move and start over. Farmers also do not traditionally live in cities.

There are, however, some counties which are good for farmers. Kent County, Maryland is the top county for farmers in the United States, with Ellis County, Kansas coming in second. In third place is Livingston County, Missouri, with Obioin County, Tennessee in fourth and Columbia County, Pennsylvania in fifth place.

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