How Do I Become a Livestock Farmer?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Barley, which is often used to feed livestock.
Barley, which is often used to feed livestock.

One of the most common ways to become a livestock farmer is to simply take a job on a livestock farm and learn the techniques and methods used to properly tend to livestock. You will need to have a strong stomach for some of the aspects of livestock farming, and you should be prepared for plenty of physical labor. It helps to be comfortable around animals, and it also helps to be prepared to work long hours on a daily basis.

Livestock cattle will be sold, slaughtered, or used as work animals.
Livestock cattle will be sold, slaughtered, or used as work animals.

While not usually necessary, you can pursue a post-secondary degree to become a livestock farmer. An associate's or bachelor's degree in relevant fields can prepare you for the tasks you will need to complete on a daily basis, though most people who work as livestock farmers do not have formal education pertaining to the job. Instead, a person is most likely to receive job training by working on a livestock farm. In most cases, a person who wants to become a livestock farmer will start by working menial jobs, usually entailing hard manual labor. As that person gains more skills and builds his or her knowledge base, other jobs may become available.

Livestock farmers may use horses to help pull machinery.
Livestock farmers may use horses to help pull machinery.

The livestock farmer is likely to work with heavy machinery, so learning how to use these machines properly is an essential step if you want to become a livestock farmer. Such machines can be very dangerous, so it is best to learn how to use them properly under the guidance of an experienced farmer. The safety and health of the animals being tended to is also of the utmost importance to ensure the livestock does not get sick or die prematurely. The overall goal is to keep the livestock healthy so they can serve their purposes: much of the cattle will be sold, slaughtered, or used as work animals.

Many livestock farmers continue a family tradition by taking over the farm from parents.
Many livestock farmers continue a family tradition by taking over the farm from parents.

If you want to become a livestock farmer on your own rather than working on someone else's farm, you will need a substantial monetary investment and a fair amount of research before you begin. Starting a farm from scratch can be very expensive, and it is important to research local laws and regulations pertaining to the practice. You may also need to apply for and obtain certifications pertaining to livestock farming in your area, and you will very likely need to gain some business skills, such as managing a payroll, paying taxes, hiring and firing employees, and so on.

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    • Barley, which is often used to feed livestock.
      Barley, which is often used to feed livestock.
    • Livestock cattle will be sold, slaughtered, or used as work animals.
      Livestock cattle will be sold, slaughtered, or used as work animals.
    • Livestock farmers may use horses to help pull machinery.
      Livestock farmers may use horses to help pull machinery.
    • Many livestock farmers continue a family tradition by taking over the farm from parents.
      Many livestock farmers continue a family tradition by taking over the farm from parents.
    • Beef cattle are a type of livestock.
      Beef cattle are a type of livestock.