What Does a Farmer Do?

The primary roles of a farmer include planting, growing and selling crops, along with raising livestock. Farmers also function as business operators and sell goods, keep financial records, hire and pay workers and monitor revenue and expenses.

The process of crop product is elaborate. Farmers and their employees turn over soil, plant seeds, water crops, spread fertilizer, spray pesticides and harvest fully grown crops for sale. To facilitate this process, a farmer must also buy the necessary seed and fertilizer equipment and repair machinery as needed. Farmers must keep a close eye on the weather to adapt growing, fertilizing and harvesting timelines to fit seasonal conditions.

To raise livestock, farmers buy and prepare food, water animals and care for them when they are sick. Specialized equipment is used to cut and bale hay to feed livestock. Some animals, such as chickens and cows, are raised to produce food or milk on an ongoing basis. Farmers also sell or slaughter animals, such as pigs and cows, for poultry.

Farmers must also carry out a number of farm management responsibilities over time. Barns, animal shelters, fences and water pipes all break or wear down. The farmer either repairs these items or hires someone to repair them.