Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers usually have at least a high school diploma. As farm and land management has grown more complex and costly, farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers have increasingly needed postsecondary education, such as an associates degree or a bachelors degree in agriculture or a related field.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 7% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
To show competency in farm management, agricultural managers may choose to become certified. The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) offer the Accredited Farm Manager (AFM) credential. The AFM requires 85 hours of coursework in land management and business ethics; a bachelors degree; 4 years of experience in farm or ranch management; and passing an exam. A complete list of requirements is available from ASFMRA.
Median pay: How much do Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers make?
$66,360 Annual Salary
$31.91 per hour

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

What do Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers do?

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

  • Supervise all steps of the crop production and ranging process, including planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and herding
  • Determine how to raise crops or livestock by evaluating factors such as market conditions, disease, soil conditions, and the availability of federal programs
  • Select and purchase supplies, such as seed, fertilizers, and farm machinery
  • Ensure that all farming equipment is properly maintained
  • Adapt their duties to the seasons, weather conditions, or a crops growing cycle
  • Maintain farm facilities, such as water pipes, hoses, fences, and animal shelters
  • Serve as the sales agent for livestock, crops, and dairy products
  • Record financial, tax, production, and employee information

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

Most farm output goes to food-processing companies. However, some farmers now choose to sell a portion of their goods directly to consumers through farmers markets or use cooperatives to reduce their financial risk and to gain a larger share of the final price of their goods. In community-supported agriculture (CSA), cooperatives sell shares of a harvest to consumers before the planting season in order to ensure a market for the farms produce.

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers also negotiate with banks and other credit lenders to get financing, because they must buy seed, livestock, and equipment before they have products to sell.

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