Farmers and Farm Managers
Wages & Outlook
Farm income varies greatly depending upon the type and size of farm. For example, vegetable and cotton farms generally produce the highest income. Beef and hog farms generate some of the lowest income. Large farms generally produce more income than smaller farms. However, some small farms that produce specialty crops have high incomes.
Farmers' incomes vary greatly from year to year. The prices of farm products change depending upon weather and other factors. These factors influence the quantity of farm products produced and the demand for those products. Farms that show a large profit in one year may show a loss in the following year.
Many farmers receive payments from the government that supplement their incomes. Some of these price supports are being phased out and may result in lower incomes for these farmers. Thus, many farmers have business activities away from the farm to supplement their income.
Farmers and self-employed farm managers must supply their own benefits. As members of farm organizations, they may receive group discounts on health and life insurance. Farm managers who are not self-employed may receive housing as a benefit. They may also receive paid vacations and health insurance.
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In Minnesota, about 40,557 farmers and 3,976 farm managers work in this very large occupation.
About 79 percent of farmers and farm managers are self-employed.
Farm managers tend to work for large commercial farms. Others may work for companies that supply agricultural goods to farms. Some may work for agricultural worker supply services. These service companies contract with farms to help with the harvest or other services.
As the population continues to grow, the demand for food will grow as well. However, new technology is allowing farmers to produce larger crops than in the past. In addition, large farming companies are buying smaller farms. Some farms are sold because the farmer's children do not want to farm the land. Others are sold because the farm has too much debt. The end result is that there are fewer farms and farmers. Most job openings will result from the need to replace farmers who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons.
There are an increasing number of small-scale farmers who are finding success by meeting the demands of specific markets. For example, many small farmers grow foods without pesticides or chemicals because there is a demand for organic food. Other farmers are starting to raise trees or plants for nurseries.
Aquaculture is another area that is offering new job opportunities for farmers. This type of farming involves raising fish for sale. Fish are raised in the ocean, lakes, or in very large tanks. Because of over-fishing of many types of fish, this type of farming is likely to grow.