Livestock Farm Management Career
If you work in the Animal Careers subsector of Livestock Farmwork, you likely attend to live farm, ranch, open range or aquacultural animals that may include cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses and other equines, poultry, rabbits, finfish, shellfish, and bees. Attend to animals produced for animal products, such as meat, fur, skins, feathers, eggs, milk, and honey. Duties may include feeding, watering, herding, grazing, milking, castrating, branding, de beaking, weighing, catching, and loading animals. May maintain records on animals; examine animals to detect diseases and injuries; assist in birth deliveries; and administer medications, vaccinations, or insecticides as appropriate. May clean and maintain animal housing areas. Includes workers who shear wool from sheep and collect eggs in hatcheries.
In the capacity of Livestock Management, you likely work as a farmer, rancher, or other agricultural manager that runs an establishment producing crops, livestock, and dairy products. This may require planning, directing, or coordinating the management or operation of farms, ranches, greenhouses, aquacultural operations, nurseries, timber tracts, or other agricultural establishments. Part of your job may be to hire, train, and supervise farm workers or contract for services to carry out the day-to-day activities of the managed operation. You also engage in or supervise planting, cultivating, harvesting, and financial and marketing activities.
- Care for animals.
- Examine animals to detect illness, injury or other problems.
- Treat animal injuries or illnesses.
- Prepare materials or solutions for animal or plant use.
- Mark agricultural or forestry products for identification.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Perform animal breeding procedures.
- Operate farming equipment.
- Maintain forestry, hunting, or agricultural equipment.
- Package agricultural products for shipment or further processing.
- Transport animals, crops, or equipment.
- Maintain operational records.
- Clean equipment or facilities.
- Supervise all steps of crop production or ranging, including planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and herding.
- Make decisions about crops or livestock by evaluating factors such as market conditions, disease, soil conditions, and the availability of federal programs.
- Choose and buy supplies, such as seed, fertilizer, and farm machinery.
- Maintain farming equipment.
- Maintain farm facilities, such as water pipes, fences, and animal shelters.
- Serve as the sales agent for crops, livestock, and dairy products.
- Record financial, tax, production, and employee information.
Median Wage May 2019: approximately $28,000 annually
Job opportunities are satisfactory as job growth in this subsector of farmwork is below average.
Median Wage May 2019: approximately $71,000 annually
Job opportunities are less likely in the future as growth in this career subsector is below average with a decline of 6% projected 2019-2019.
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Agricultural workers need physical strength and stamina to keep up with their tasks, but they also need technical skills and strong teamwork. These workers maintain crops and tend to livestock, under the supervision of farmers and ranchers. Although some agricultural workers do all types of work around a farm, many focus on a few tasks. Agricultural equipment operators use tractors, combines, conveyor belts, and other farm equipment to plow and sow seeds, then maintain and harvest crops. They also perform minor repairs on the equipment. Crop, nursery, and greenhouse farmworkers and laborers grow fruit, nuts, trees, flowers, and other crops through every phase from planting and pruning, to harvesting and loading for shipment. Farm and ranch animal farmworkers feed and care for animals, including cattle, pigs, goats, fish, and bees. They monitor their health, clean shelters, and administer medications or insecticides. Animal breeders select and breed animals to produce offspring with desired characteristics, such as chickens that lay more eggs. Some raise cats, dogs, and other pets. Many agricultural workers have seasonal schedules, with longer hours during planting or harvesting times. The work is nearly all outdoors in all kinds of weather, and involves lifting, crouching, and carrying heavy tools. Risks include exposure to pesticides, and injury from farm machinery or farm animals. Typically, specific education is not required, and on-the-job training is provided. Animal breeders need a high school diploma or equivalent and must be licensed in some states. A valid driver’s license is required for some jobs.
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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.
For more information
- American Hereford Association
- American Shorthorn Association
- Natural Rearing Breeders Association
- The Livestock Conservancy
- American Brahman Breeders Association
- American Rabbit Breeders Association
- American Boer Goat Association
- American Farm Bureau Federation
- Beginning Farmers
- Aquacultural Engineering Society
- East Coast Shellfish Growers Association
- New Farmers
- Farm Service Agency
- American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers
- National Association of Animal Breeders
- Breeder and Rescue Certification
- Farm and Livestock Magazine
- Farm Journal
- Graze Magazine
- Farming Magazine
- Journal of Fisheries and Livestock Production
- American Cattlemen
Many of the occupations in the career subsector of Livestock Farmwork and Management require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not. You will need at least a high school diploma or equivalent if considering a career in the field of livestock farmwork plus workers in these occupations typically also need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training. For livestock management, an associate or bachelor's degree program in the area of livestock and animal management may be necessary. To find an institution of higher education that offers a program relative to your career aspirations livestock management, the easiest place to start for most people is to perform a simple search by area of interest. A few colleges and universities offer advanced degree programs in the following areas:
- Animal Breeding
- Agriculture Animal Breeding
- Farm and Ranch Management
- Livestock Management
- Animal/Livestock Husbandry and Production
Use the link provided below and the ‘Browse for Program’ button to search by program area: