Farmers, Ranchers and Other Agricultural Managers Career Description


Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers run establishments that produce crops, livestock, and dairy products.

What they do

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers typically do the following:

  • Supervise all steps of crop production or ranging, including planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and herding
  • Make decisions about crops or livestock by evaluating factors such as market conditions, disease, soil conditions, and the availability of federal programs
  • Choose and buy supplies, such as seed, fertilizer, and farm machinery
  • Maintain farming equipment
  • Maintain farm facilities, such as water pipes, fences, and animal shelters
  • Serve as the sales agent for crops, livestock, and dairy products
  • Record financial, tax, production, and employee information

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers monitor the prices for their products. They use different strategies to protect themselves financially from unpredictable changes in the markets. For example, some farmers carefully plan the combination of crops they grow, so that if the price of one crop drops, they have enough income from another crop to make up for the loss. Farmers and ranchers also track disease and weather conditions, either or both of which may negatively impact crop yields or animal health. By planning ahead, farmers and ranchers may be able to store their crops or keep their livestock in order to take advantage of higher prices later in the year.

Some farmers choose to sell a portion of their goods directly to consumers through farmer’s markets or cooperatives to reduce their financial risk and to gain a larger share of the final price of their goods.


Work Environment

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers typically work outdoors but also may spend time in an office. Their work is often physically demanding.

Some farmers work primarily with crops. Other farmers and ranchers handle livestock.

The work environment for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers can be hazardous. Tractors, tools, and other farm machinery and equipment can cause serious injury, and exposure to substances in pesticides and fertilizers may be harmful. These workers must operate equipment and handle chemicals properly to avoid accidents and safeguard themselves and the environment.

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. Farmers and farm managers on crop farms usually work from sunrise to sunset during the planting and harvesting seasons.


How to become a Farmer, Rancher, or Other Agricultural Manager

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers typically need at least a high school diploma and work experience in a related occupation.

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers typically need at least a high school diploma to enter the occupation. As farm and land management has grown more complex, farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers have increasingly needed postsecondary education, such as an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree, in agriculture or a related field.

Most state university systems have at least one land-grant college or university with a school of agriculture. Programs of study include agricultural economics and business, animal science, and plant science.



The median annual wage for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers was $71,160 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,530, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $132,760.

Job Outlook

Employment of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers is projected to decline 6 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Over the past several decades, increased efficiencies in crop production have led to consolidation and fewer, but larger, farms. This means that fewer farmers are needed to produce the same agricultural output. In addition, as farms become larger, they are able to invest more in productivity-enhancing technologies, reinforcing this effect.

Similar Job Titles

Accredited Farm Manager (AFM), Cash Crop Farmer, Dairy Farmer, Farm Manager, Farm Operator, Farmer, Grain Farmer, Ranch Manager, Rancher, Sow Farm Manager, Crop Farmers and Managers, Fish Hatchery Managers

Related Occupations

Nursery and Greenhouse Manager, Farm and Ranch Manager – Green, Aquacultural Manager

More Information

The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field.  Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas.  As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.

  • American Farm Bureau Federation - Farm Bureau is local, county, state, national and international in its scope and influence and is non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-secret in character. Farm Bureau is the voice of agricultural producers at all levels.
  • S. Apple Association - This organization represents the nation’s 5,000 apple growers, close to 40 state and regional apple associations, and hundreds of apple-related companies.


Magazines and Publications

Video Transcript

For some, the call of the great outdoors is constant. Some of those who hear its call choose careers as farmers, ranchers, or other agricultural managers. These workers have the privilege of managing crops and livestock, from seed to tomato, from calf to bull. For a more hands-on approach to nurturing our land and its animals, you may want to be a farmer or rancher. These professionals are often their own bosses, overseeing a family business by raising food, servicing machinery, and doing their own marketing. Meanwhile, agricultural managers are more likely to aid in food production by hiring, supervising, and budgeting for a farm or group of farms, rather than doing the demanding physical labor of farm work themselves. Agricultural managers are also more likely to work for a corporation or the remote owners of an agricultural establishment. As a farmer, rancher, or agricultural manager, you will have long hours, working from sunrise to sunset in the harvest season. If raising livestock, you will need to tend to your flock every day. Agricultural workers must truly love working with nature and animals for the level of dedication required of this occupation. While many farmer, ranchers, and other agricultural managers gain valuable experience and skills from growing up in a farming family, more and more farmers are seeking out agricultural college degrees that enhance their understanding of plant and animal diseases, weather patterns, and technological advances in pesticides and other machinery. From year to year, members of this profession often experience fluctuations in salary depending on the success of their crop and livestock. In the long-term, a decline in farming, ranching, and other agricultural managing jobs is projected as technology continues to make farming more efficient. However, no one will ever truly be able to take the ‘farmer’ out of the farm.

Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH,
CareerOneStop, O*Net Online