All You Need To Know About A Farmer Career
You think about becoming a farmer but want to get some additional information before making your final career choice?
Great! This article is exactly for you since I will show you all you need to know about being a farmer in the following chapters.
Not only will we talk about salaries, but you will also get to know information about job satisfaction, prospects, future outlook, educational requirements, working hours, work-life balance of farmers and much more.
At the end of this article, you will also find an FAQ section where you can find answers to all sorts of questions related to a farmer career.
After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to become a farmer or rather want to work in a different field instead.
What does a Farmer do?
Farmers keep cattle, chickens, pigs and other animals to produce meat, eggs, milk and other products.
Some farmers also purely rely on crops to make a living from farming.
Either way, farmers are pretty important to assure our food supply and therefore do a pretty important job for society.
Responsibilities & Duties of a Farmer
- Production of meat
- Production of eggs
- Production of milk
- Production of crops
- Milking of cows and other animals that produce milk
- Making sure that animals have enough feed
- Cleaning the barn
- Assuring our food supply
- Cultivation of new varieties
- Selling products to wholesalers or directly to the consumer
- Promotion of products
- Making sure that hygienic standards are met
- Making sure that they comply with local rules and regulations related to farming
What a Typical Day of a Farmer looks like?
Most farmers get up pretty early and start their workday between 5 and 7 a.m.
If you have cattle or other animals, you have to get up that early since you have to milk your cows and make sure that they get enough to eat.
After feeding your animals, you have to clean the barn and make sure that hygienic requirements are met.
After that, it is time to have a look at your crops to assure the food supply for your animals and if you also produce crops for human consumption to make sure that your plants are alright so that you get a good harvest at the end of the season.
Farmers usually work all day long and even have to milk their cows and feed their animals a second time in the evening.
Hence, you will usually not finish your workday before 7 p.m. and sometimes even later.
Farmer Salary 2021
Farmer salary brackets 2021
|Salary Brackets||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Top 10 %||> $135,000||> $67.38|
|Top 25 %||$68,000 – $87,000||$33.91 – $43.42|
|Bottom 25 %||$39,000 – $48,000||$19.45 – $23.88|
|Bottom 10 %||$28,000 – $33,000||$13.83 – $16.42|
|Range||$28,000 – $177,000||$13.83 – $88.39|
Farmer salary 2021 by expert level
|Level of Experience||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Entry level||$28,000 – $34,000||$13.83 – $16.94|
|Junior||$33,000 – $46,000||$16.42 – $22.88|
|Professional||$42,000 – $57,000||$20.90 – $28.36|
|Senior Professional||$54,000 – $69,000||$26.93 – $34.41|
|Expert||$66,000 – $75,000||$32.91 – $37.38|
|Top Expert||$74,000 – $177,000||$36.94 – $88.39|
Farmer salary by state 2021 (average)
|State||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|District of Columbia||$51,800||$25.88|
Job Security for Farmers
Farmers don’t have any job security at all since they work self-employed and once their business is no longer profitable, they just have to give up and may suffer from long-term unemployment, especially in case they haven’t learned anything else apart from farming.
Future Job Prospects of Farmers
While we need farmers to produce our food, competition in this field is quite fierce since local farmers often have to compete on the international market and since global production prices for milk, meat and crops are pretty low, farmers in high-wage countries often have a hard time making enough profit to make it worth all the effort.
Consequently, the future outlook for farmers is rather poor since competition will become even fiercer and many small farmers may have to give up in the long run.
Working Hours of Farmers
Most farmers get to work between 5 and 7 a.m. and finish their workday between 7 and 8 p.m.
There is always something to do if you have your own farm and your workdays will be quite long.
Not only will you have to work long hours during the week, but you will also have to work on Saturdays and Sundays, especially if you keep animals that need to be fed.
Job Satisfaction of Farmers
Even though most farmers are pretty interested in what they are doing and also have a passion for producing food, many of them also complain about poor working conditions since they have to work every day of the year and barely find any time off.
Moreover, many small farmers also don’t make a decent living from what they are doing and are barely able to survive.
Promotion Opportunities of Farmers
Since farmers work self-employed, they don’t have any promotion opportunities in the way employees in the corporate world have.
Instead, farmers have to make sure to operate their business in a way so that it will be profitable in the long run so that they can stay in business and pay themselves a decent wage.
Career Levels of Farmers
- Farmworker intern
- Farmer with a small number of animals
- Farmer with a big number of animals
- Farmer who owns multiple farming businesses
Fields and Types of Farmers
- Farmer focused on raising animals
- Farmer focused on producing crops
- Farmer specialized in raising cattle
- Farmer specialized in raising pigs
- Farmer focused on raising chickens
- Farmer specialized in producing eggs
- Farmer specialized in producing milk
- Commercial farmers
- Subsistence farmers
- Organic farmers
Educational Requirements for Farmers
You don’t necessarily need a college degree for becoming a farmer.
Even though you could get a degree in agriculture, a high school diploma is usually enough to start your farming career as long as you are willing to work hard and learn a lot on the job.
How to become a Farmer
- Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a farmer
- Apply for an internship at a local farming business
- Gather some experience and make a good impression during your internship
- Finish high school
- Work as a farmworker for a few years and try to save money
- Use the saved money and your experience for starting your own farming business
- Work hard and reinvest your profits
- Expand your business
- Employ farmworkers to scale
Character Traits you need as a Farmer
- You should love to work in natural environments
- Passion for working with animals
- Willingness to work with your hands
- Willingness to get dirty from time to time
- Willingness to clean the barn
- Persistence is key to push through difficult times
- You should not get discouraged by drawbacks
- Empathy for animals
- Empathy for farmworkers
- Patience to deal with critical comments related to your work
Hard Skills for Farmers
- Knowledge of how to raise different animals
- Expertise in growing crops
- Knowledge of hygienic requirements
- You should know what to do when an animal gets sick
- Knowledge of common crop diseases and how to treat them
- Expertise regarding what to feed animals
- Knowledge of rules and regulations related to farming
- Knowledge of common safety procedures
- Negotiation skills help you get better prices for your products
- Math skills help to operate your business properly
- Knowledge of tax codes and bookkeeping can help as well
Soft Skills for Farmers
- Empathy for people who have a critical view of farming
- Empathy for farmworkers helps you lead your team
- Empathy for animals that have a bad day
- Passion for farming and all the unpleasant work that comes along with it
- Good time management skills help you run your business successfully
- Patience is key to succeed in the long run
- You always have to question yourself and develop your skills further
- Willingness to work long hours every day
- Willingness to work every day
Exit Options for Farmers
While farmers know a lot about farming, they are also pretty specialized and don’t learn many other skills that would be valuable in the job market.
Consequently, farmers don’t have any decent exit options and will have to work in the farming industry for many years or even decades simply due to a lack of alternatives.
Farmer – Similar Careers
- Industrial production manager
- Agricultural inspector
- Conservation scientist
- Purchasing agent for agricultural products
- Operations manager
- Farm advisor
Farmer Career FAQs
Is working as a farmer physically demanding?
Working as a farmer can be physically demanding since you often have to work with your bare hands.
Even though you can use machines to make your life easier, small farmers are often not able to afford big machines and rather do a significant fraction of the work by hand.
Consequently, you should be in good physical condition and also willing to work hard before you even think about becoming a farmer.
Is working as a farmer mentally demanding?
While you will have to work in a physical manner quite often, working as a farmer is not that mentally demanding.
Sure, you still have to use your brain so that you don’t forget anything important like milking your cattle.
However, processes are pretty standardized and once you work in this field for a while, you will not have to stress your brain that much anymore to do things according to plan.
Is it dangerous to work as a farmer?
Working as a farmer can be risky in case you use heavy machines to do your work.
If you are not careful, you can get seriously injured at work and may no longer be able to work ever again.
Hence, working as a farmer is riskier compared to working in a normal office job and you should make sure that you are willing to take this extra risk before you decide for becoming a farmer.
How long do farmers stay in their jobs?
Farmers often stay in their jobs for many years or even decades since they simply love what they are doing for a living and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Farmers also have pretty poor job prospects outside the farming industry and are therefore often also forced to work in this field for a long time since they simply don’t find another job in a different field.
Is it easy for farmers to find a new job?
Since farmers work self-employed, it will be pretty hard to find a job as an employee since they just don’t have the mindset to work for someone else.
Moreover, farmers are also pretty specialized and apart from working as a farmworker, there are not many jobs in this industry farmers could actually do.
Is it hard to switch from being a farmer to another field of work?
Since farmers are pretty specialized, they will also have a hard time switching fields since they will just often lack the skills necessary for a career change.
In fact, barely anyone would be willing to employ farmers in a completely different field of work and farmers will therefore work in their field for many years or decades just due to the lack of alternatives.
Do farmers have a high social status?
Farmers don’t have a high social status.
Even though farmers are important to keep our system running and to assure our food supply, many people don’t appreciate the work of farmers that much and rather admire people like lawyers or investment bankers who just make far more money on average.
Can you help out your family and friends as a farmer?
You can help out your family and friends as a farmer since you can give them useful tips on how to raise animals at home in the best possible manner and also on how to increase crop yields.
You may also be able to fix some things around the house to support your loved ones as best as possible.
Can farmers work remotely?
Farmers are not able to work remotely.
Instead, they have to be present at their workplace in person since they have to feed animals, water crops and so on.
You simply can’t do farm work on a computer and rather have to be present at work all day long which takes away lots of flexibility from you.
Is it easy to find a partner as a farmer?
It is pretty hard for farmers to find a partner since they often don’t make good money and also have a rather low social standing.
Moreover, farmers often have to work every day and therefore don’t have that much time for their partners.
Consequently, not many people aspire to a relationship with a farmer and rather go for a long-term relationship with someone who makes good money and also has time for them.
Do farmers have to work on weekends?
Farmers have to work on weekends on a regular basis.
If you raise cattle or other animals, you have to feed them every day and also have to clean up everything to meet hygienic requirements.
Consequently, you will barely have any days off and will also have to work long hours every day.
Do farmers have to work on holidays?
There are no holidays for farmers.
Farmers just have to work every day of the week to keep things running and if you don’t really love what you are doing for a living, your farming career can become really exhausting and you may even quit in the long run.
Do farmers have to work at nighttime?
While most farmers don’t work at nighttime, they still often work during the evening to feed and milk their animals.
Consequently, you should be willing to work long hours every day before you decide on becoming a farmer to avoid unpleasant surprises in this regard later.
Do you have to travel as a farmer?
You don’t have to travel as a farmer.
While other people have to do business trips and will be away from home quite often, you as a farmer can enjoy your time at home with your family instead.
Are farmer pensions good?
Since farmers work self-employed, they don’t get an official pension but rather have to build a retirement fund themselves.
Hence, if you don’t save and invest enough money, you may end up in serious trouble once you have to quit your active career since you may not have enough money to pay your bills anymore.
Are farmer salaries going up?
Farmer salaries have not been going up substantially over the past years.
Salary is also the wrong word.
Since farmers work self-employed, they also don’t get a salary but rather the profits of their farming company.
However, global competition has become quite fierce and due to the low world market prices for agricultural goods and stricter regulations, many small farmers struggle to survive and their profits are pretty low.
Can you have a positive effect on society as a farmer?
Since you will assure our food supply, you will do a pretty important job for society as a farmer.
However, you will still not have a strong educational impact and while teachers and other people who work with kids all day long will be able to shape their thinking, you will rather do basic stuff and may not be able to make the world a better place.
How long does it take to become a farmer?
Since you don’t need a college degree for becoming a farmer, you can start your farming career right after high school.
However, you might still want to work as a farmworker for a few years to gather some experience and to save up some money before you eventually start your own farming business.
Is it difficult to become a farmer?
While it is not difficult to become a farmer from an educational point of view, you still have to make a huge upfront investment for land and machines and you also need to gather some experience so that you can operate a farming business in a profitable manner and this can take many years to accomplish.
Do you need to be smart to work as a farmer?
You don’t need a high IQ for succeeding as a farmer.
What’s much more important is that you are really interested in this kind of work and that you also have a passion for producing food.
Only then will you stay motivated to learn every day and will finally become a real farming expert.
Do farmers have a good work-life balance?
Farmers don’t have a good work-life balance at all.
In fact, they have to work every day of the week and will barely be able to even take one day off since they have to care for their animals that are always hungry.
Consequently, you should really love farming since you might get pretty exhausted and unmotivated otherwise in the long run.
Do farmers have to work many extra hours?
Having a farm is not a classical 9 to 5 job.
Instead, you will get up in the morning and work until the evening.
You just have to work every second of your day since you have to make sure that everything works according to plan and to meet the strict rules and regulations related to farming.
Hence, if you want to have lots of leisure, becoming a farmer is definitely not the right career path for you.
How to maximize your chances of becoming a farmer?
The sooner you get experience in this field, the better you are prepared for a farming career.
Thus, you may want to work as a farmworker intern when you are still in high school and may also want to work as a farmworker at a quite young age to learn the basics that will be really useful and valuable for you once you want to start your own farming business later in your life.
Can farmers work part-time?
Farmers are not able to work part-time since animals will always be hungry and you will have to feed them at least twice a day.
You will also have to clean the barn on a regular basis and you will have to sell your products to grocery stores and wholesalers.
All this takes time and you will therefore have to work all day long, at least if you don’t have someone who can do this work for you.
Do farmers work indoors or outdoors?
Farmers work indoors as well as outdoors.
Consequently, you should be willing to work outdoors during times of bad weather and if you are a rather sensitive person who rather wants to work in a fancy office environment, you should rather get an office job instead of becoming a farmer.
What does the workplace of a farmer look like?
Farmers often work in the barn or sit in a tractor to till the fields.
Consequently, you will spend lots of time in nature and with animals and if you don’t like this sort of work, you will be better off doing something else.
Do you have to look good for working as a farmer?
You don’t have to look good for succeeding as a farmer.
What’s much more important than your looks is that you are passionate about farmwork and also get lots of expertise in this industry.
Once you are a true expert, you will be able to operate your farm in a rather relaxed manner and your looks will not matter for that at all.
Is a farmer career beneficial for your private life?
Working as a farmer can be problematic for your private life since you will have to work almost every day of the week and will have barely any time for your loved ones.
Consequently, your relationship may end pretty soon and you may be alone for most of the time.
Do you need a college degree for becoming a farmer?
Even though you can get degrees in agriculture, it is not necessary to do so as long as you get practical experience in this field from your parents or by working as a farmworker for someone else for a few years to learn everything you need to know to operate your own farm in a successful manner.
Do you need to be certified to work as a farmer?
There are no fancy certificates you need to get for working as a farmer.
However, if you want to sell organic products, you will have to get additional certifications that assure the high quality of your products and you will also be tested on a regular basis regarding whether you meet organic requirements or not.
How much does it cost to become a farmer?
Becoming a farmer can be pretty costly since you will have to invest lots of money on machines, land and equipment.
Consequently, if you are not born into a farmer family, you will often have a pretty hard time paying for all those things and you will often have to take on enormous amounts of debt.
Is being a farmer a good career?
While many farmers really love what they are doing since they love producing food and spending time in nature, many of them also complain about the harsh working conditions and the lack of leisure.
Many farmers are also not happy with the low world market prices and are barely able to compete with products from low-wage countries, which makes working as a farmer less lucrative and satisfying for them.
Is it easy to start your own business as a farmer?
Starting a farming business is not easy at all since you need decent knowledge of farming processes and you also need lots of money to spend on land and machinery.
Consequently, you will have a pretty hard time starting out as a farmer if you haven’t inherited the farming business from your family and already have almost everything you need to work in this field.
Can farmers teach themselves?
Farmers learn many things on the job and it is therefore relatively easy to teach themselves and to learn from their mistakes.
However, it still helps to get in touch with experienced farmers to avoid the biggest mistakes and to get better in the long run.
Do farmers make good money?
While small farmers are often barely able to make a living from what they are doing, big farmers often make decent money and some of them even get wealthy or rich.
Hence, there is a huge range of profits in the farming industry and it is hard to say how much you will make since there are so many variables involved.
Is it ever too late to become a farmer?
Since farmwork is physically demanding, you should start your farming career as early as possible.
Moreover, since you will have to make a huge financial commitment, it will only pay off if you start it at a rather young age since you will need many years to get your money back and if you are too old, you will really struggle to make it worth it.
Do farmers have to quit their careers early?
Since farming involves lots of physical work, you may also have to quit your career early due to physical health issues.
In fact, many farmers complain about back pain and other spinal issues and some of them are just not able to work until retirement age.
What is the most challenging thing about working as a farmer?
The most challenging part about being a farmer is that you have to work all the time. You will just not have any leisure and there will always be something to do.
This can be really emotionally stressful since you will not have much time for your family but rather have to work and get things done if you want to do farming in a profitable manner.
Can you provide for your family by working as a farmer?
While small farmers often struggle to provide for their families due to the low world market prices and the fierce competition, big farmers often make good money and have an easy time providing for their families.
Will farmers suffer from old-age poverty?
Farmers often suffer from old-age poverty since they don’t save and invest enough money for retirement and once they quit their active careers, they are often no longer able to pay their bills and may get into serious financial trouble.
Can farmers retire early?
Most farmers are not able to retire early since they just don’t make enough money from what they are doing.
Many of them also don’t want to retire early since they just love what they are doing and want to work as farmers even at retirement age.
Do farmers get a fixed or variable salary?
Since farmers work self-employed, they don’t get a salary at all.
Instead, their income depends on the profits they make and the more and the better they do their work, the higher their income will be.
Can you get rich as a farmer?
If you want to get wealthy or even rich as a farmer, you will have to scale your business quite a lot since you will never get to this stage with just a small farm.
Do farmers need a second job?
While big farmers are able to make a living from what they are doing most of the time, small farmers often need a second job to pay their bills and often work on the side to make an extra income.
Do you get continuous training as a farmer?
Since you work on your own, you will not get any training at all.
In fact, you have to learn everything yourself and have to make sure that you get better at what you are doing pretty soon since you will just go out of business otherwise.
Do you get paid when you are sick as a farmer?
Since you work self-employed, you will not get sick-pay as a farmer.
Instead, you have to build an emergency fund that you can use in case you get sick and are not able to make any money from your farming business.
Do farmers have a high level of responsibility?
Farmers have a high level of responsibility in the sense that they have to make sure that they treat their animals well and also that they comply with hygienic requirements to avoid the spread of diseases.
Can farmers work abroad?
Since we all need food all over the globe, you can also work as a farmer in various parts of the world.
However, working conditions and profits may be quite different and you should therefore inform yourself about those things before you eventually make the step of starting a farming business in a foreign country.
Is it stressful to work as a farmer?
Working as a farmer can be really stressful since you will have to work all day long and will not be able to afford longer breaks.
You will also have to worry about many things and in case of natural disasters, your business may also just get wiped out from one day to the other.
Is it boring to work as a farmer?
Working as a farmer only gets boring if you are not passionate about what you are doing.
If you love nature and the production of food, chances are that you will never get boring with your farming career and rather love to get to work every day.
Is being a farmer hard?
Working as a farmer can be pretty hard since you will often have to work in a heavy physical manner and also don’t have many days off.
Consequently, your body will not have much time to recover and you may therefore ruin your spine or other parts of your body in the long run.
Are farmers at risk of burnout?
Since farmers have to worry about many things and also have to do lots of work, they are also at great risk of burnout.
However, whether you burn out or not still depends on your attitude towards work and also on how well you learn how to deal with pressure.
Is there a dress code for farmers?
There is no dress code for farmers.
Since you work self-employed, you can wear whatever you want and don’t have to care about the opinion of a third party like you would have to do when working for someone else.
What kind of farmers are paid the most?
The bigger your farming business is, the more lucrative it will be in general.
Hence, if you want to make really good money from farming, a small farm will not be enough and you would really have to scale your business as much as possible.
What percentage of farmers are women?
Only around 35% of farmers are women while 65% are men.
Since farmers have to do lots of physical work, women just have it harder to succeed in this industry, at least if they do all the work themselves and don’t have farmworkers to support them.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as a farmer?
Having a mentor or a strong network can help you push through difficult times since experienced farmers often had the same problems as you in the past and can share their insights with you so that you can get out of trouble.
You can also learn many technical skills from experienced farmers and can apply this knowledge to your own business to improve your overall results.
Will you be personally liable for mistakes as a farmer?
Since you work self-employed, you will also be personally liable for your mistakes or sometimes even for the mistakes of your employees.
Consequently, you should get proper insurance in this regard so that you are financially covered in case of emergency.
Do farmers have a high life expectancy?
Since farmers are at risk of serious accidents at work and also have to work in a hard physical manner, farmers don’t have a great life expectancy.
Instead, life expectancy of farmers is below-average and if you want to have a really high life expectancy, you should rather work in a classical office job instead.
Do farmers suffer from sleeping problems?
Since farmers don’t work during nighttime, they also don’t suffer from sleeping problems related to their work that much.
However, some farmers still worry about their future and may therefore sleep rather poorly.
What states are best for working as a farmer?
The best states to work as a farmer are the states where land prices are rather low since you don’t have to spend that much money on land to operate your business and can increase your profits due to that.
Who do farmers work with?
Farmers often work on their own.
Bigger farming businesses also often employ farmworkers or operational managers who help manage those businesses to take away the huge workload from the farmer.
Is working as a farmer cool?
A farmer career is not considered cool by most people out there.
However, if you really love farming and spending time in nature, you should still go for it even though your friends may not understand your decision.
Can you start a side hustle as a farmer?
Since you will have so many things to do, there will often not be any time to start a side hustle as a farmer.
However, you could still document your journey and start a YouTube channel to build an audience and to make some extra money through ads.
Do you have to be creative as a farmer?
You don’t have to be creative as a farmer since most processes are pretty standardized and you will do the same work over and over again.
How employable are farmers?
Farmers and farmworkers are not that employable since many small farming businesses had to give up over the past decade since they have simply no longer been able to compete in the fierce global environment where world market prices are pretty low.
Are farmers happy with their jobs?
Even though farmers face many challenges and also have to work long hours every day and barely have any days off, many farmers still enjoy what they do for a living since they really love producing food and everything that comes along with it.
Is working as a farmer exciting?
If you are interested in this kind of work, a farmer’s career can be really exciting since you can live your dream life and spend your time on things you would even do without getting paid for it.
Can you have a positive effect on our environment as a farmer?
Farmers can have a positive effect on our environment, at least if you focus on organic farming and also minimize the adverse impact you as a farmer will have on our planet.
What are the pros and cons of working as a farmer?
If you want to learn even more about a farming career, also make sure to have a look at the pros and cons of a farmer career.
Interviews and own research.
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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