Farmers wear a lot of different hats! Check out these 5 roles farmers play and remember to thank a farmer for all their hard work!
1. Soil Scientist
CC Image courtesy of Soil Science on Flickr
A very important hat that farmers wear is that of a soil scientist. Farmers manage the nutrients in the soil by using strategies like crop rotation, intercropping, mulching, using compost and fertilizer. They must know what seeds to plant in each type of soil and how much water these crops need. To create healthy soil many farmers also use conservation tillage which is the method of leaving crop residue (such as corn stalks) on the field before and after planting the next crop.
Want to know more about soil science? You can download Elementary School and Middle School & High School curricula from Nutrients for Life here.
CC Image courtesy of cafnr on Flickr
Meteorology, or the study of Earth’s atmosphere, is very important in farming. Farmers need to be able to predict weather, both long term and short term, and know how to make adjustments when the weather doesn’t cooperate. This may mean adjusting harvesting and planting times or using irrigation systems.
Watch this video from America’s Heartland on how one Ohio farming family deals with less than ideal weather conditions.
Farmers use tractors, pickers, combines and other machines in day to day operations. They need to be able to operate and repair these machines so they will work properly. It is crucial that equipment works during key times so that crops can be planted and harvested. When a tractor doesn’t work, a farmer can’t do his or her job!
Play the My American Farm game “Equipment Engineer” and learn about the types of equipment farmers use all over the world!
CC Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture on Flickr
Farmers and ranchers that raise livestock need to be able to be able to take care of their animals and make sure the animals are healthy. They must recognize disease and sickness in animals and know how to give sick animals medicine. They also need to know how to assist in the birth of animals. Ranchers work closely with veterinarians to give each animal a good quality of life!
Meet Nancy Martin, a large animal veterinarian, in this America’s Heartland video.
5. Businessman or Businesswoman
CC Image courtesy of Suzie’s Farm on Flickr
Farming is a business! A good farmer needs to know how to make good financial decisions for the farm. They have to pay bills and their workers, as well as purchase equipment and supplies like seeds. Farmers also must understand the market in order to sell their produce or animals and make a profit.
The Farm Bureau Entrepreneurship Challenge is a national business competition that focuses on rural entrepreneurs that work in agribusiness. Check out the Challenge’s website to see last year’s finalists and learn more about the 2016 Challenge!
Watch this video from the author of Who Grew My Soup? about the many different hats farmers wear! You can also play "My Little Ag Me" to find out more about careers in agriculture.