“I thought maybe I’d be a farmer. That was another silly notion. I think I’d last about five minutes, being a farmer.”
Matthew Rhys, Actor
Pros and Cons of Working as a Farmer
You think about becoming a farmer? Before you really go for it, make sure to check out all the pros and cons of being a farmer in the following chapters.
Chances are that you may want to change your mind and go for a different career path instead.
Being a Farmer – Key Facts
|Short Job Description||Farmers grow crops and/or raise animals. They are therefore crucial to ensure our global food supply.|
|Salary||Salary greatly depends on the size of the farm. While small farmers often barely make a living out of what they are doing, big farmers can make a fortune with farming.|
|Job Security||Good job security since people always have to eat.|
|Job Satisfaction||Great if you are really passionate about farming.|
|Work-Life Balance||Poor since you have to work every day.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Physically demanding job with plenty of manual work.|
|Future Outlook||Decent job opportunities in the future since people in the food production industry will always be needed, even though some jobs may be lost due to the automatization of processes.|
|Requirements||No special educational requirements necessary.|
Advantages of Being a Farmer
- Farmers can produce food for many people
- You get plenty of fresh air as a farmer
- Farmers see the fruits of their labor
- You can grow your farming business
- Being a farmer implies being your own boss
- Rather relaxed work from a mental standpoint
- Decent job security as a farmer
- You can carry on the tradition of farming in your family
- Farmers can support sustainable development
- Technology can make the job of farmers easier to a certain extent
- You can teach your kids how our food is produced
- Farmers don’t have to sit in front of a computer all day long
- Back to the roots
- Low formal requirements to become a farmer
- You live and work in line with natural processes
- Farming as a passion
Farmers can produce food for many people
One advantage of being a farmer is that you can produce food for the local population or even for people living in foreign countries. In fact, you will be pretty important for the overall food infrastructure and many people will consume your products.
Especially if you have a big farming business in an area where farming is not that popular, you will have a crucial role and a big responsibility since mistakes on your side could lead to shortages in certain food products.
Thus, you can feel and actually be pretty important as a farmer and you will work in the few really important professions out there to keep our system running and people happy.
You get plenty of fresh air as a farmer
Another benefit of being a farmer is that you will also get plenty of fresh air all day long. Farmers will just work outdoors for many hours and often come back home late in the afternoon or in the evening.
This also means that you don’t have to stay inside a building in a rather artificial environment, but you can enjoy nature and the real beauty of the world instead.
Hence, becoming a farmer can also be great for you if you love to work outside and to experience nature on a daily basis.
Farmers see the fruits of their labor
As a farmer, you will also see the fruits of your labor every few months when you harvest your crops or when you have raised your farm animals to a point where they have to be brought to the slaughterhouse.
While saying goodbye to your animals can be emotionally challenging, you will still know that you make an important contribution to the local food supply and that high-quality products will be produced, at least if you choose the right company to work with.
In fact, seeing all the food products that are based on your work can give you real satisfaction since you really see what you are working for.
In contrast, if you work in an office job, you will often just make presentations which will no longer be needed just a few days later and you will often never see real results of your efforts, which can be pretty unsatisfying and also often leads to plenty of frustration and a loss of motivation in the long run.
Consequently, by working as a farmer, you can avoid all those issues since you will see for what you are working and this will keep you motivated for a long time.
You can grow your farming business
There will often also be the opportunity to employ workers and to grow your farming business to the next level. In fact, many farmers start out pretty small but soon realize that the demand for their products is huge and that they could make significantly more money from farming.
If you set up your business properly and are in a region where prices for land are rather cheap, it will often be easy for you to expand your business and to plant additional fields of crops or to raise additional cattle.
Hence, what starts out as a small business may grow quite quickly, at least if you are smart enough and have the skills to lead people and to understand what’s important for the success of a business.
Being a farmer implies being your own boss
Another upside of being a farmer is that you don’t have to work for a company. You will just be your own boss and can manage your business according to your own rules and values. Instead of having someone you have to report to like in many other professions, you can just do what feels right to you.
Therefore, becoming a farmer can also be great if you love working for yourself and if you want to carry all the responsibility that comes along with it on your shoulders.
Rather relaxed work from a mental standpoint
While working as a farmer usually implies plenty of physical work, it is often rather relaxed from a mental standpoint. In fact, after a while, you will just know what to do and how your farming processes work best.
Since you will also have no boss, you will have a significant level of freedom regarding how you want to do things and this can be quite liberating since you can do your work 100% like you want it to be.
Decent job security as a farmer
Since people always have to eat, you will play an important role in the supply chain for food and this will continue to be the case in the future. Sure, there might be big farming corporations who will start to compete with you and you may have a hard doing so. However, you can still find niches bigger companies don’t want to be in.
For instance, you can produce 100% organic products and sell them directly on your farm. You can even make this a family experience by offering farming workshops for the whole family. In fact, children love to stay on farms for vacations and you could even offer bed-and-breakfast for them.
As you can see, there are many different ways how you can compete as a small farmer against larger corporations and if you are willing to make some changes to your business, you may even succeed much more in the future compared to other businesses that are not willing to reinvent themselves.
You can carry on the tradition of farming in your family
Many farmers also carry on the noble tradition of farming. In some cases, farming has been done in the family for many decades or even centuries. If you are born in a farmer’s family, you may also feel the obligation to continue this tradition. In fact, many farmers are also quite proud to carry on this legacy.
Therefore, in case you are born in a farmer’s family, you may also just take it for granted to go the same path as your ancestors did for many generations.
Farmers can support sustainable development
Another advantage of working as a farmer is that you will have the power to decide whether you want to produce cheap meat with factory farming or if you rather want to produce high-quality meat from happy farm animals that had a good life.
You can also produce your products in a sustainable manner and can make your contribution to protect our environment as best as possible.
Technology can make the job of farmers easier to a certain extent
Thanks to our technological progress, it will also be much easier for you as a farmer to carry out your work compared to just one century ago. In former times, farmers didn’t have the luxury to use tractors or other machines that greatly facilitate the work of farmers right now. People had to work with their hands all day long.
You can imagine the level of manual work that had been implied by farming in the past and farming had been one of the most physically exhausting industries to work in.
Of course, farming still implies plenty of physical work in our current state of the world. However, it has still become much easier for farmers compared to former centuries.
You can teach your kids how our food is produced
As a farmer, you will also have the great opportunity to show your kids how our food is actually produced. Many children don’t even know where meat is produced since they have never seen it with their own eyes. They just think that meat and other food products come from the grocery store and don’t see the steps that have to be done before.
However, children will only start to value their food if they know how much work has to be put into food production. Due to your work as a farmer, you will have an easy time showing your kids all those things and you can even let them work a little bit on your farm so that they really understand the processes that are necessary to get food onto the table.
Farmers don’t have to sit in front of a computer all day long
You can also avoid working in classical office jobs as a farmer. While many people in our current state of the world have to sit in front of a computer all day long and do some silly work nobody actually needs, you can work outdoors and enjoy nature instead.
Chances are that also your eyes will be much better after a few decades compared to a person who just stared at his or her computer screen for an extended period of time.
Back to the roots
In general, the job as a farmer also gives you the opportunity to go back to the roots. In fact, farming has been an important part of society for many centuries. We as humans also evolved in nature for many thousands of years and working in this environment can be regarded as much more natural compared to working in rather artificial office environments.
Low formal requirements to become a farmer
You also don’t have a high education level as a farmer. In many countries, you don’t even need a high school degree. Sure, you can get additional qualifications to improve your knowledge.
However, the legal requirements for becoming a farmer are often pretty low and you also don’t need to go to college in most countries.
This also means that you can avoid high tuition fees and also don’t have to go into student debt.
You live and work in line with natural processes
In general, as a farmer, you can work in line with nature. This means that you will get up pretty early in the morning since your farm animals are hungry and need to be milked.
You will also stop your work in the afternoon or evening when the sun goes down since you will simply not see enough anymore to carry out your work in a safe and efficient manner.
Doing your work this way can give you a real feeling that you belong to nature and many farmers feel pretty fulfilled working that way.
Farming as a passion
Before becoming a farmer, you should also ask yourself whether farming is a real passion for you or if you just have some interest in it. If you are not sufficiently passionate about it, chances are that you will just quit after a while since life as a farmer will be pretty challenging and many people underestimate what it really takes to succeed as a farmer in the long run.
Yet, if farming is a real passion for you and not just a job, chances are that you can become pretty happy as a farmer.
Disadvantages of Being a Farmer
- Significant upfront investment necessary
- High costs for repairs
- Farmers don’t have a regular workweek
- Being a farmer means working on holidays
- Droughts or other natural disasters can destroy your yield
- High level of financial insecurity related to farming
- Many farmers have to sell their products at pretty competitive prices
- Being a farmer implies hard physical work
- You have to work outside during unpleasant weather conditions
- Being a farmer can be problematic once you get older
- Lack of other career opportunities
- You also need some financial skills
- Being a farmer also implies some paperwork
- You have to deal with local rules and regulations as a farmer
Significant upfront investment necessary
Now that you know all the good things that come along with being a farmer, let’s talk about the negative aspects of this career path. One problem with being a farmer is that you will have to make significant upfront investments at the beginning.
For instance, you will have to buy a tractor and other machines, especially if you want to build a serious business and not just operate your business as a side-hustle.
High costs for repairs
You will also have to spend plenty of money on repairs for your inventory and also for your farmyard. In fact, your machines will be in pretty bad condition after a few years and repairs can be quite costly. Your farmyard may also need a new roof which can cost more than 100,000 dollars.
As you can see, there are not only significant upfront costs for a farming business, there are also many serious ongoing costs and you as a farmer have to pay all those bills.
Farmers don’t have a regular workweek
Another downside of being a farmer is that you will just work every day of the week, especially if you have cattle or other farm animals since you have to feed them and some of them will also have to be milked on a daily basis.
This also implies that you will have no time off as a farmer and you will not have the standard 9 to 5 week like many people do.
Being a farmer means working on holidays
Your animals will also not care about national holidays. When they are hungry, they will let you know. When they are sick, you will have to organize a veterinarian or try to fix the issue yourself. As you can see, being a farmer means being on all day long, 7 days a week.
Thus, before making this commitment, you should really take an honest look in the mirror and ask yourself whether you really want to work that much.
Droughts or other natural disasters can destroy your yield
As a farmer, you will also have the risk that significant parts of your yields will be destroyed due to natural disasters. If you live in a rather dry climatic zone, you will have years with almost no rain and chances are that many of your plants will just die off.
In turn, this also means that you will lose plenty of money and if you don’t save enough money in good times, you may get into serious financial trouble during bad times and may even have to file bankruptcy.
High level of financial insecurity related to farming
In general, life as a farmer implies a high level of financial insecurity. You will not only be threatened by natural disasters, land prices may increase as well and may destroy the profitability of your business.
In fact, many farmers had to quit since it simply wouldn’t have made any sense to carry on with their business from a financial standpoint.
Many farmers have to sell their products at pretty competitive prices
Also the price pressure in the farming industry has greatly increased over the past decades. Due to few big players controlling the farming market, many small local farmers have difficulties competing with the prices they can offer to the market. In turn, many small farmers just have to quit and this trend may continue in the future.
Being a farmer implies hard physical work
Even with the help of machines, working as a farmer is still physically-demanding. There is still plenty of work that has to be carried out by farmers since the use of machines will just not make sense for rather minor tasks.
Consequently, make sure that you are willing to work with our hands and that you will stay fit before deciding for becoming a farmer.
You have to work outside during unpleasant weather conditions
Another disadvantage of being a farmer is that you will have to work outside under adverse weather conditions. While it can be nice to work outdoors on nice sunny days, the opposite is true when it rains and snows.
Being a farmer can be problematic once you get older
Due to the physical work that is implied by being a farmer, many farmers also struggle to do their work once they become older. You will just be not that fit in your 40s and 50s than you were in your 20s and you may even have to give up your farming business in your older years.
This also means that you may get into financial difficulties later on in your life, especially if you haven’t learned other skills that could help you find a job in a different field.
Lack of other career opportunities
In general, if you decide for a career as a farmer, you will work in a pretty narrow field. You will just produce meat or other types of food. Yet, in case you don’t like your work anymore, you will have a hard time switching to a different profession since you will often simply not have the skills to do so.
You also need some financial skills
Since you will work self-employed as a farmer, you also need some financial skills to make your business successful. In fact, many people underestimate this since they think that being a good farmer will be enough.
However, if you are not a good businessman, chances are that you will go bankrupt as a farmer sooner or later.
Being a farmer also implies some paperwork
You will also have to deal with paperwork as a farmer. You will have to pay your bills, you will have to do your taxes and so on. In fact, there are many organizational aspects that come along with this profession and many people don’t like to deal with those things.
You have to deal with local rules and regulations as a farmer
As a farmer, you will also have to comply with local rules and regulations. In fact, you will have to comply with hygiene standards and many other laws that are connected to the work as a farmer.
In case you don’t comply with those laws, chances are that you may get sued and have to pay high fines.
Top 10 Being a Farmer Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Farmer Pros||Being a Farmer Cons|
|Being a farmer can be a passion||Being a farmer can be demanding|
|Farmers can assure our food supply||Plenty of physical work required|
|You can work in nature||Farmers have to work every day|
|Farmers can carry on a legacy||Animals may get sick|
|You can go back to the roots||Significant upfront costs|
|Farmers can work self-employed||High costs for repairs|
|You can teach your children||Farmers have to do some paperwork|
|Low formal requirements||You have to comply with many regulations|
|Farmers don’t have to work in an office||You need some financial skills as a farmer|
|You can engage in sustainable farming||Problematic once farmers get older|
Should You Become A Farmer?
Now that you got both sides of the picture, you can better decide whether the advantages of being a farmer outweigh the downsides. Always remember that there are many other careers for you out there and that you should inform yourself properly before making a decision in this regard that could determine how the rest of your life will look like.
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About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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