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.
Related Careers: Agricultural Engineers, Agricultural Equipment Operators, Agricultural and Food Science Technicians, Animal Breeders, Buyers and Purchasing Agents for Farm Products & Hydrologist
Sources: Minnesota CAREERwise & CareerOneStop
Typical Work Tasks
People who work in this career often:
- Estimate cost or material requirements.
- Confer with organizational members to accomplish work activities.
- Approve expenditures.
- Determine resource needs.
- Implement organizational process or policy changes.
- Direct administrative or support services.
- Direct organizational operations, projects, or services.
- Direct sales, marketing, or customer service activities.
- Manage agricultural or forestry operations.
- Prepare staff schedules or work assignments.
Typical Working Conditions
- Freedom to make decisions without supervision.
- Working outdoors exposed to weather.
- The freedom to determine tasks, priorities, and goals.
- Responsibility for others’ health and safety.
- Working with a group or team.
- Having face-to-face discussions.
- Working in very hot or cold temperatures.
- Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings.
Tools & Technology used by Farmers
Source: Minnesota CAREERwise
Most Important Skills for Farmers
- Thinking Critically—Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading—Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Speaking—Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Listening—Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Managing People—Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Managing Time—Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Teaching—Teaching others how to do something.
- Being Aware of Others—Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Making Decisions—Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring Performance—Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Most Important Knowledge Areas for Farmers
- Production and Processing—Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Customer and Personal Service—Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Biology—Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Sales and Marketing—Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
- Administration and Management—Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Education and Training—Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Mathematics—Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Personnel and Human Resources—Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
- Chemistry—Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal m
- Mechanical—Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Different careers may be a good fit for your personality or interests. This career is:
- Enterprising—Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Realistic—Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Source: Minnesota CAREERwise
|Wages Per Hour For Farmers (MN)|
Low indicates 25% of workers earn less and 75% earn more. Median indicates 50% of workers earn less and 50% earn more. High indicates 75% of workers earn less and 25% earn more.
This career is seeing very low growth compared to other careers. There will be a reduced need for Farmers to meet market demand between 2018-2028.
Source: Minnesota CAREERwise
This career requires at least a high school degree, and many professionals have some college or earn a bachelors degree. This career does require a license and there are certifications are helpful for growth.
View the local post-secondary education options for this career from Central Lakes College.
Spotlight on Central Lakes College
- Why consider CLC?
- Virtual Campus Tours: Brainerd Campus, Staples Campus
- Learn more about the CLC Honors Program.
- Attend CLC, and you may never need to buy a textbook.
If you have a physical, mental, developmental, or cognitive condition that requires educational support, learn about support options at CLC.
Helpful High School Courses
Examples of helpful classes that help you prepare for this career:
- Algebra I and II
- Business English
- Environmental Science
- Wildlife Management
Source: Minnesota CAREERwise
Visit the Minnesota State Northern Agricultural Center of Excellence for more information about this and related careers, as well as links to education and training programs.
CLC Petal It Forward
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