A farmer performs a number of different roles on a farm, potentially working as a businessperson, laborer, manager, planner, and financier. Farmers must operate or maintain equipment such as milkers, combines, horse haulers, and trucks to move animals, grain, and crops. They also perform a number of labor-intensive tasks related to the animals and/or crops under their care.
If the farmer is independent and manages their own land, they must have excellent business skills to fund all of their farm's operations, including necessary equipment and resources such as tractors, silos, hay balers, seeds, and potentially animals. They plan when to make purchases, what quantity to purchase, and their farm's growing cycle. Depending on the size of their operation, the farmer may need to manage laborers who drive equipment, assist with animal care, and perform other necessary tasks. Additionally, the farmer decides where and when to sell the farm's products.
Farmers may also work on a larger corporate farm, performing a number of tasks related to farming but not owning the property on which they work.
Independent and corporate farmers may work a variety of shifts depending on the farm's needs. Work may not be steady, as they may only be needed during certain times of the year when crops come in or the animals have specific needs such as birthing or preparing for market. Farmers may be self-taught, taught by another farmer, and/or provided with on-the-job training. They may also receive relevant training from an agricultural institution such as a cooperative extension center or university.
Manage and participate in daily farm operations such as crop planning, tillage work, planting, and more.
Make operational and crop management recommendations based on advancements in technology and new farming techniques.
Ensure that farm operations and practices meet health, safety and environmental standards and regulations.
Maintain and communicate operational and crop management records.
Hire, train, and supervise farm crew.