How To Become A Farmer: Education And Career Roadmap
Although it may not look like it, farming is a lucrative career that’s quite rewarding.
If you like to get your hands dirty and love to grow your own crops, then you could go into farming and become a farmer.
This article will shed light on how to become a farmer including education requirements and the career roadmap, that is steps to take to become one.
Before we get into that, let’s properly define what a farmer does. This will be discussed in the next section.
What Does A Farmer Do
A farmer oversees farms, ranches, greenhouses, nurseries, and other entities engaged in agricultural production.
Depending on the type of farm, farmers are involved in planting, cultivating, carrying out post-harvest tasks, managing livestock, and directing farm labor.
They gather their produce and market it to produce markets and food businesses both domestically and abroad.
Getting into farming is a risky business since it is impacted by the weather, susceptible to disease, and vulnerable to price fluctuations.
Long days are normal for farmers, and some of the jobs can be physically demanding.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professionals were primarily self-employed in 2014, working outdoors with their hands in most types of weather (BLS).
Below is a list of various farming industries a person might decide to specialize in:
- Flower farming
- Commercial farming
- Dry farming
- Organic farming
- Tree farming
- Fish farming
- Cattle farming
- Poultry farming
- Micro farming
- Urban farming
Now, we’re going to see how to become a farmer in the next section of this article.
How To Become A Farmer
The following are four steps to take to become a farmer:
1. Get Obtainable Farming Education
In the past, many farmers were brought up on family farms. From the moment they are young, they learn through observation and practical experience.
The development of the agricultural sector has, however, increased the demand for formal education and training among farmers and ranchers.
So just having knowledge of a house farm is no longer enough to make you successful in this field.
A future farmer can enroll in a university or college and choose a degree in dairy science, agricultural economics, or farm management.
To get an associate’s degree, students can enroll in courses in horticultural concepts, farmer science, animal science, and resource conservation.
A bachelor’s degree program may include agricultural business management and economics courses.
There are also certificate programs in agriculture that may be perfect for people who are currently employed in the industry and want to deepen their expertise in particular fields, including organic farming.
Food quality and safety, crop development, plant diseases, organic farming, nutritional science, and soil fertility are just a few of the possible study topics.
Some of the relevant degree programs that are available for individuals who want to be farmers include the following:
- Animal Science
- Fisheries biology
- Farm management
2. Gain Work Experience In The Field
Internships, which some educational institutions mandate, can help farming students learn more about the sector.
Students can gain practical, hands-on farming experience through these important internships.
Students might ask teachers or school counselors for help in finding internship opportunities.
In addition, a lot of farmers receive on-the-job training while assisting a more seasoned farmer.
Some farms provide apprenticeship programs to teach persons without formal education the skills necessary to start a career in farming.
You can also look for government aid if you need an extra boost. Unexperienced farmers have the chance to work as an intern or apprentices through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginner Farmer and Rancher Competitive Grants Program.
This program as well as others can assist aspiring farmers in gaining experience and gain more knowledge on the farming industry and how it works.
3. Become A Certified Farmer
The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers offers the Accredited Farm Manager credential to farmers and farm managers.
Both a test on the code of ethics and a four-part certification exam must be passed successfully by applicants for them to receive this certificate.
For this accreditation, you must also have at least a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and four years of farming experience.
4. Enroll In Courses For Continuing Education
The abilities of a farmer can be enhanced and improved through continuing education courses.
For those who already hold degrees in agriculture, certain universities offer continuing education courses in the subject.
Programs are adaptable and made for experts in agriculture who are also busy farmers.
Technical teaching may be provided in a classroom setting or a lab setting as part of the continuing education course too.
We’ve just discussed some important steps you need to take to become a farmer.
By following these steps accompanied by the dedication and hard work, you’re just an inch away from becoming the best in your field.
Educational Requirements To Become A Farmer
Farmers are mostly educated through practical experience; a college degree is not always necessary.
There are, however, associate’s and bachelor’s degrees available in agriculture or farming. Aspiring farmers can learn by participating in apprenticeship programs or by being guided and instructed by more seasoned farmers.
Even though only high school graduation is normally needed, some farmers have bachelor’s degrees in agriculture.
Basic agricultural and animal husbandry courses are taught in several high schools, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also offers training programs for aspiring farmers.
Some farmers, on the other hand, learned the trade by working on farms while they were kids and teenagers.
Some prospective farmers, who lack experience, work on other farms to obtain the expertise they will someday need to run their farms.
The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers offers an optional certification that demonstrates a farmer has the abilities required to manage a farm.
A passing grade on a test and 85 hours of education are required for the Accredited Farm Manager credential. A bachelor’s degree and at least four years of ranch management experience are additional requirements.
Skills Needed To Become A Farmer
Farming is an active profession. To sow, irrigate, fertilize, and harvest crops, farmers need a significant level of stamina and endurance.
A farmer needs to be able to make difficult decisions, examine the quality of the land and cattle, and successfully communicate with employees.
A farmer also has to have experience running and maintaining sophisticated agricultural equipment.
Farmers use massive tractors, plows, and harvesters in larger-scale operations (and even most small ones), thus mechanical proficiency is essential.
Farmers need to be able to think critically, examine a variety of circumstances, and make decisions when issues emerge.
Salary Outlook Of Farmers
As a farmer, your income or pay is completely dependent on a range of factors, some of which are beyond your control.
Your annual salary will be impacted by the weather, supplier costs, and the final sale price of any crops.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2020, the median income for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers was $68,090.
Farming Career Prospects
The BLS anticipates little to no change in the number of farmers employed in the future.
There are fewer farms, but they are bigger as they become more centralized. Additionally, the need for many hands-on tasks is declining due to technological advancements in farming equipment.
The BLS estimated that from 2020 to 2030, the employment of farmers would decline by 1% overall.
Do farmers Make Money?
According to Lisbdnet.com, the average farm income per acre in 2021 was $790.
The size of the farm, loan repayments, taxes, and other operating expenses all have a significant impact on net income.
Many farmers work outside of farming to pay for their living expenses.
How many Farmers Have a Degree?
Between 2019 and 2020, the number of graduates in the field of agriculture increased by 3.2%, from 520,950 to 537,605 people.
Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers make up the largest single group of graduates in agriculture (5.2%).
Why Do People Leave Farming?
According to research, more than 40% of farmers despise farming as a career due to low profitability, high danger, and low social status; nonetheless, they stay in it because there aren’t many possibilities outside of agriculture.
Are Farmers in Demand?
Farmers receive a D employability grade from CareerExplorer, indicating that job possibilities will be limited in the near future.
In this article, we’ve discussed how to become a farmer.
Who a farmer is, what a farmer does, some areas of farming you could specialize in and the basic steps an individual can take to become a farmer were discussed.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in farming I’m sure this article has been useful to you. If you have further questions, please share them with us in the comments section.