Job Description

From what I gather, if there were ever a job description typed out for a farmer, I think it would look something like this:

Responsibilities:

  • To provide food for 155 people annually
  • Provide food, shelter, water, health care, and attention to their livestock every day
  • Be environmental stewards
  • Ensure that America’s food is healthy, great-tasting, and safe, free of drugs or harmful chemicals or disease

Qualifications and Skills:

  • Physical capabilities of lifting upwards of 100 lbs
  • Mechanical skills to fix farm equipment without a shop
  • Accounting skills to manage the operation’s funds
  • Carpentry, Plumbing and Construction skills to build fences, repair water lines, etc to maintain animal facilities
  • Record keeping, to great detail, to provide food traceability
  • Basic veterinary skills to help birthing, give accurate dosages of vaccines and medications, minor surgical skills, etc
  • Stay updated on laws passed in the areas of animal welfare, soil, waste management, fertilizers, vaccines, medications, withdrawl times, etc

Work Conditions

  • Your hours will be 7 days a week, an average of 10-12 hours a day
  • Sundays you may be able to get by with 3-4 hours, just enough to feed and check up on the animals
  • During calving/lambing/farrowing season, you may be sleeping in the barn or waking up every 2 hours to check on the mothers and babies
  • No paid holidays or sick days. In fact, if you miss any days, you will lose pay. Even if you are sore, sick, or puking, you must take a few hours to at least feed the animals. Unless you can find someone else to do it for you. If you do not have family members who can fill in, you may be out of luck.
  • If you would still like a day off, you are responsibly for finding your substitute and paying them if necessary. (If you think finding a pet-sitter for your 2 dogs is hard, imagine trying to find someone to go outside in -10°F weather and feed 500 animals)
  • You will likely work outside most hours of your shifts. The temperatures will range from 110°F to -20ºF.
  • You may come under fire from media who do not understand your lifestyle and practices.
  • Unlike those who provide safety to our country (such as police, military, firemen), you may never get thanked for providing one of the biggest human necessities of life: Food.
  • There are no health benefits, 401k matching programs, or company discounts. (unless you count the meat you keep instead of selling for profit)
  • Your average net income will be less than $20,000/year, so please prepare to work a second job. This income is contingent upon the weather, prices of gasoline, corn, and other feedstuffs. Please note that if you manage to do all your work in just 60 hours a week, this averages to around $6.00/hour.

So, anyone still interested?

At the very least, I bet you’re no longer surprised that less than 2% of America loves their land and animals enough to sign up for this kind of work environment. That really says something about that 2% though, doesn’t it?

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About Farm the Start

I grew up in cities from North Carolina all the way to Asia, but never really interacted with farm animals or farmers until I began college at Virginia Tech as an Animal & Poultry Sciences Major. I thought I would become a vet for puppies and kitties. Little did I know what I would learn and the love I'd find for the lifestyle, practices, people and animals involved in food production.

Posted on February 18, 2011, in Ag-the-Culture and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. This is a great blog that you have going here, you now have my e-mail and as an Agriculturist I will be glad to help you with anything that you may need. This job description is actually quite scary, I mean why in the world did i sign up for this job (oh, it probably had quite a bit to do with the love and compassion for animals that all of us agriculturists have). I do have one correction for you though. The American Farm Bureau states that the average farmer produced enough food in 2010 to feed 155 people. Here is the link http://www.fb.org/index.php?fuseaction=yourag.facts

    • Thanks for reading, Cody! I was hoping with this post to just bring a little bit of the reality that farmers really are outside every day, and its not some huge cooperate face thats trying to make a ton of money. Of course, I do know some who have made a very nice living from farming alone. But I also know of at least one who goes in the red every year, and must use supplemental jobs to pay for running the farm and on top of that, make an income to live on. It’s so amazing to me how much Agriculturalists are really in this, for the long haul, no matter how tough it is.
      Also, thanks for the correction. My source was mediocre but I had trouble finding a more accurate one. 🙂

  2. Interesting post topic. Enlightening, too.

  3. Really cool post definitely going to post it on my facebook page later today. You can search crystal cattle.

    • Crystal,

      I really appreciate your positive feedback and helping spread my blog! I look forward to reading yours as well. 🙂 I always love sharing and reading everyone’s perspectives and opinions on Agriculture

  4. Awesome, awesome post. You portrayed perfectly what it means to feed the world. Thank you, farmers!

  5. True,add about 20hrs to your week…lol

  6. This is awesome. This really needs to go out to every internet site possible. Every politician should also have a copy.
    Thank you so much for this.

  1. Pingback: Follow up to post “I love Farmers, they feed my soul” « Farm The Start…

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