Friday, March 6, 2009


Farmers and ranchers may be owners or tenants who rent the use of land. The type of farm they operate determines their specific tasks. On crop farms - farms growing grain, cotton, and other fibers, fruit, and vegetables - farmers are responsible for planning, tilling, planting, fertilizing, cultivating, spraying, and harvesting. After the harvest, they make sure the crops are properly packaged, stored, or marketed.

Livestock, dairy, and poultry farmers must feed, plan, and care for the animals and keep barns, pens, coops, and other farm buildings clean and in good condition. They also oversee breeding and marketing activities. Horticultural specialty farmers oversee the production of ornamental plants, nursery products - such as flowers, bulbs, shrubbery, and sod - and fruits and vegetables grown in greenhouses.

Aquaculture farmers raise fish and shellfish in marine, brackish, or fresh water, usually in ponds, floating net pens, raceways, or recirculating systems. They stock, feed, protect, and otherwise manage aquatic life sold for consumption or used for recreational fishing. Responsibilities of farmers and ranchers range from caring for livestock, to operating machinery, to maintaining equipment and facilities.

The size of the farm or ranch often determines which of these tasks farmers and ranchers will handle themselves. Operators of small farms usually perform all tasks, physical and administrative. They keep records for tax purposes, service machinery, maintain buildings, and grow vegetables and raise animals. Operators of large farms, on the other hand, have employees who help with the physical work that small-farm operators do themselves.

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