Farmers and Farm Managers

Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources > Farmers and Farm Managers > Preparation
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Farmers and Farm Managers

Farmers and Farm Managers - Preparation

To work as a farmer or farm manager, you typically need to:

  • have a high school diploma or equivalent; and
  • have more than five years of work experience in agriculture.

Education after high school

Most farmers and farm managers learn through years of work experience. However, with advances in modern farming practices, it is becoming more important that farmers and ranchers have formal training. Agronomy, dairy science, and agriculture economics are a few courses you can take. If you are interested in a particular crop or type of farming, look for schools in states that grow or support that type of farming. Every state has a land-grant university with a school of agriculture.

Business management courses are also very important. Community colleges offer two-year programs in business management.

Work experience

Most farmers and farm managers have years of work experience. Growing up on a farm provides good work experience. It is also helpful if you join clubs such as 4-H or the National FFA Organization while in high school. You learn how weather, fertilizers, seed, and feeding affect crops and animals.

On-the-job training

Some farmers learn their skills on the job. This is especially true on family farms.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.