Raise cows, pigs, chickens, and other livestock for their meat.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$29,000 – $107,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Ranchers do?

A vegetarian looks at a piece of meat and sees cute animals. A Rancher looks at a piece of meat and sees dollar signs.

As a Rancher, you raise, prepare, and sell the livestock that end up as meat on the plates of consumers. The Rancher can raise the usual animals, like cows, sheep, pigs, or chicken, but you can also deal with the exotic, like buffalo or emus.

Ranching is a difficult job, and requires a lot of risk management and foresight. You take into account things like future meat prices, consumer demand, weather, and disease. All of these things influence the type of animals you’ll raise on your ranch, what you’ll feed them, and when to bring them to market. You need to make your predictions early since animals have to be bred and raised before being sold. So you look at past successes and future market predictions to come up with the best plan for the season. You then breed your animals, and decide how to keep your grazing lands from being overused.

Sick animals don’t make money, so you provide your livestock with food and clean water, health care, and safe, clean living spaces. But you don’t just handle animals. You also work with banks to get loans for equipment or feeds, fix broken fences or stalls, and negotiate prices with the businesses who sell your meat. This job has a lot of facets, and whether you handle all of them or focus on just a few will depend on how big your ranch is.

Should I be a Rancher?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Leader: You're good at taking charge, giving directions, and inspiring other people.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Bee Rancher, Canary Raiser, Cattle Rancher, Chicken Raiser, Dog Raiser, Fox Raiser, Fruit Rancher, Mink Rancher See More

    How to become a Rancher

    We recommend at least a Bachelor's degree. Check out these schools offering Rancher-related education!
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