USA Career Guide- Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

Education needed to be Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

You should ideally have a high school diploma to become farmers, ranchers, and other to make a living from this occupation. All state university systems have at least one land-grant college or university with a school of agriculture. Common programs of study include business with a concentration in agriculture, farm management, agronomy, dairy science, and agricultural economics.
Prospective farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers typically work and gain experience under more experienced farmers. Universities and forms of government assistance give prospective farmers alternatives to the traditional training method of being raised on a family farm.

Work Experience

With government projects, such as Beginner Farmer and Rancher Competitive Grants Program, even those without any farm training can be paired with experienced farmers, learning through internships or apprentice programs.


Agricultural managers can enhance their professional status through voluntary certification as an Accredited Farm Manager (AFM) by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMR).

Pay of Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

As reported by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual wage of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers was $60,750 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,280 and the top 10 percent earned more than $106,980.
Incomes of farmers and ranchers vary from year to year because prices of farm products fluctuate with weather conditions and other factors.

Job Prospects of Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

Employment of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers is expected to decline moderately by eight percent from 2010 to 2020. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program)
A number of jobs will be available due to the need to replace the large number of farmers expected to retire or leave the profession over the next decade. Agricultural managers should have more opportunities. Owners of large tracts of land, who often do not live on the property they own, increasingly will seek the expertise of agricultural managers to run their farms and ranches as businesses.
Despite the expected continued consolidation of farmland and the projected decline in overall employment of this occupation, an increasing number of small-scale farmers have developed successful market niches that involve personalized, direct contact with their customers. Horticulture and organic food production are among the fastest growing segments of agriculture.

Some small-scale farmers belong to collectively owned marketing cooperatives that process and sell their products. Other farmers participate in community-supported agriculture cooperatives that allow consumers to buy a share of the farmer's harvest directly.

Industrial Overview of Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers held about 1.2 million jobs in 2010. Nearly 80 percent were self-employed farmers and ranchers. The rest were wage and salary agricultural managers.
Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers typically work outdoors and may spend some time in offices. They sometimes do strenuous physical work. Some farmers work primarily with crops and vegetables. Other farmers and ranchers handle livestock.
(Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition)
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