Job Summary : Plan, direct, or coordinate the management or operation of farms, ranches, greenhouses, aquacultural operations, nurseries, timber tracts, or other agricultural establishments. May hire, train, or supervise farm workers or contract for services to carry out the day-to-day activities of the managed operation. May engage in or supervise planting, cultivating, harvesting, financial, or marketing activities Job Tasks • Change processes such as drying, grading, storing, or shipping to improve efficiency or profitability. • Determine types or quantities of crops or livestock to be raised, according to factors such as market conditions, federal programs or incentives, or soil conditions. • Direct crop production operations, such as planning, tilling, planting, fertilizing, cultivating, spraying, or harvesting. • Direct the breeding or raising of stock, such as cattle, poultry, or honeybees, using recognized breeding practices to ensure stock improvement. • Evaluate marketing or sales alternatives for farm or ranch products. • Hire, train, or supervise workers engaged in planting, cultivating, irrigating, harvesting, or marketing crops, or in raising livestock. • Inspect farm or ranch structures, such as buildings, fences, or roads, ordering repair or maintenance activities, as needed. • Maintain financial, operational, production, or employment records for farms or ranches. • Monitor activities such as irrigation, chemical application, harvesting, milking, breeding, or grading to ensure adherence to safety regulations or standards. • Monitor pasture or grazing land use to ensure that livestock are properly fed or that conservation methods, such as rotational grazing, are used. • Negotiate with buyers for the sale, storage, or shipment of crops or livestock. • Obtain financing necessary for purchases of machinery, land, supplies, or livestock. • Operate or oversee the operations of dairy farms that produce bulk milk. • Operate or oversee the operations of poultry or swine farms producing meat, eggs, or breeding stock. • Plan crop activities based on factors such as crop maturity or weather conditions. • Prepare budgets or financial reports for farm or ranch operations. • Select or purchase machinery, equipment, livestock, or supplies, such as seed, feed, fertilizer, or chemicals. • Supervise the construction of farm or ranch structures, such as buildings, fences, drainage systems, wells, or roads. • Analyze market conditions to determine acreage allocations. • Analyze soil to determine types or quantities of fertilizer required for maximum crop production. • Buy or sell futures contracts or price farm products in advance of future sales to minimize risk or maximize profits. • Demonstrate or explain working techniques, practices, or safety regulations to farm or ranch workers. • Direct livestock or crop waste recycling operations. • Inspect farm or ranch equipment to ensure proper functioning. • Inspect orchards or fields to determine crop maturity or condition or to detect disease or insect infestation. • Monitor and adjust irrigation systems to distribute water according to crop needs and to avoid wasting water. • Plan and direct development or production of hardier or higher-yield hybrid plant varieties. • Replace chemical insecticides with environmentally friendly practices, such as adding pest-repelling plants to fields. Requirements: Education Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers typically gain skills through work experience and usually have at least a high school diploma. Traditionally, experience growing up on or working on a family farm or ranch was the way farmers and ranchers learn their trade. However, as farm and land management has grown more complex, more farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers now have a bachelor's degree in agriculture or a related field. Completing a degree at a college of agriculture is becoming important for workers who want to make a living from this occupation. There are a number of government programs that help new farmers get training mportant Qualities Analytical skills. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers must monitor and assess the quality of their land or livestock. These tasks require precision and accuracy. Critical-thinking skills. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers make tough decisions through sound reasoning and judgment. They determine how to improve their harvest and livestock, reacting appropriately to external factors. Interpersonal skills. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers supervise laborers and other workers, so effective communication is critical. Mechanical skills. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers—particularly those working on smaller farms—must be able to operate complex machinery and occasionally perform routine maintenance.
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