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What is a Rancher?

Also known as: Cattle Baron, Cowman, Stock Grower, Cowboy, Cattleman, Stockgrower

A ranch is a large tract of land that is primarily for the purpose of raising and feeding grazing livestock. The people who own or operate a ranch are called ranchers, and they raise livestock such as cattle or sheep, or less common livestock such as elk, bison, ostrich, emu or alpacas. The ranching and livestock industry is growing faster than any other agricultural sector in the world.

Ranching is often a family run business, although outsiders can also be hired to supplement the family workers. It requires a great deal of work, and family members are a trustworthy and reliable source of labour.

A Rancher is a specialized type of Farmer.

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What does a Rancher do?

A rancher is the supervisor of operations, and therefore decides which animals to raise, when to rotate stock, and makes decisions about breeding. They sometimes use artificial insemination to introduce new bloodlines, or sell semen from their own herd so other ranchers can access the ranch bloodlines. They also are involved in the health of the herd (with the help of a veterinarian), are involved with ranch maintenance (making sure the buildings and fencing are intact), and generally are the ones to do the hiring and firing of employees. A rancher is also heavily involved in the business end of things, negotiating and selling the products they produce.

A rancher may decide to grow feed on the ranch in order to avoid the high cost of purchasing feed for their livestock. If this is the case, they would then need to manage where the feed is grown, the cultivation process, and the maintenance of the crop until it is harvested.

What is the workplace of a Rancher like?

Ranchers typically live on site in a ranch house, and the ranch may include housing for employees and family members as well. You will find a rancher mostly outdoors, herding cattle to and from different pastures, overseeing the maintenance of fences and buildings, and taking care of any sick or injured animals. Many ranchers use motorized all-terrain vehicles as a primary mode of transportation, with some horses as working animals.


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Further Reading

  • The Cow-Calf Operation

    To most effectively “sell the grass” on our ranch, we are always evaluating what we think will work the best—”best” being a balance between what is most profitable and what is best for the land. To accomplish this we run three types of operations on our ranch and adjust according to what we think will work the best.

  • An Accidental Cattle Ranch Points The Way In Sustainable Farming

    When Tom Steyer first learned that his wife, Kat Taylor, wanted to sell beef from the cattle herd on their ranch here, he rolled his eyes...

  • Cattle Rancher

    Ever since the mid-late 19th century, as soon as they took a gander at the wide open spaces of North America, a certain kind of feller (and gal—though mostly, truth be told, it was mainly the menfolk) fell in love with the lifestyle of cattle ranchin’ and cowboyin’.

  • Cattle Ranching

    Ranching is not just a business, it’s a way of life. And it’s a 365 day a year commitment. Regardless of the weather, holidays, or any other plans we may have, the cattle have to be taken care of.

  • Difference Between Farm And Ranch

    With the introduction of crop cultivation, different farming systems were introduced, and they were based on various factors such as geography and culture. Ranching and farming are two different systems, which have both similarities and differences.

  • Wanted: Young Farmers And Ranchers

    There is something that agriculture needs just as much as drought-tolerant corn or auto steering in tractors: It needs young farmers and ranchers. The average age of farmers in the U.S. is 57 and that number is not going down.

  • I Am A US Cattle Rancher. What Do You Want To Know?

    My husband and I run a farm with over 300 cows. The 'chores' never stop, but it's bliss working outside with the animals.

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