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Become A Cowboy

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Working As A Cowboy

  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • $203,200

    Average Salary

What Does A Cowboy Do

Agricultural workers maintain the quality of farms, crops, and livestock by operating machinery and doing physical labor under the supervision of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers.

Duties

Agricultural workers typically do the following:

  • Harvest and inspect crops by hand
  • Irrigate farm soil and maintain ditches or pipes and pumps
  • Operate and service farm machinery and tools
  • Spray fertilizer or pesticide solutions to control insects, fungi, and weeds
  • Move shrubs, plants, and trees with wheelbarrows or tractors
  • Feed livestock and clean and disinfect their pens, cages, yards, and hutches
  • Examine animals to detect symptoms of illnesses or injuries
  • Use brands, tags, or tattoos to mark livestock in order to identify ownership and grade
  • Herd livestock to pastures for grazing or to scales, trucks, or other enclosures
  • Administer vaccines to protect animals from diseases

The following are examples of types of agricultural workers:

Crop, nursery, and greenhouse farmworkers and laborers perform numerous tasks related to growing and harvesting grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other crops. They plant, seed, prune, irrigate, and harvest crops, and pack and load them for shipment.

Farmworkers also apply pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to crops. They repair fences and some farm equipment.

Nursery and greenhouse workers prepare land or greenhouse beds for growing horticultural products such as trees, plants, flowers, and sod. They also plant, water, prune, weed, and spray the plants. They may cut, roll, and stack sod; stake trees; tie, wrap, and pack plants to fill orders; and dig up or move field-grown shrubs and trees.

Farm and ranch animal farmworkers care for live animals, including cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, horses, poultry, finfish, shellfish, and bees. These animals usually are raised to supply meat, fur, skins, feathers, eggs, milk, or honey.

These farmworkers may feed, herd, brand, weigh, and load animals. They also keep records on animals; examine animals to detect diseases and injuries; and administer medications, vaccinations, or insecticides.

Many workers clean and maintain animal housing areas every day. On dairy farms, animal farmworkers operate milking machines.

Agricultural equipment operators use a variety of farm equipment to plow and sow seeds, as well as maintain and harvest crops. They may use tractors, fertilizer spreaders, balers, combines, threshers, and trucks. These workers also operate machines such as conveyor belts, loading machines, separators, cleaners, and dryers. Workers may make adjustments and minor repairs to equipment.

Animal breeders use their knowledge of genetics and animal science to select and breed animals that will produce offspring with desired traits and characteristics. For example, they breed chickens that lay more eggs, pigs that produce leaner meat, and sheep with more desirable wool. Other animal breeders breed and raise cats, dogs, and other household pets.

To know which animals to breed and when to breed them, animal breeders keep detailed records. Breeders note animals’ health, size, and weight, as well as the amount and quality of the product they produce. Animal breeders also track the traits of animals’ offspring.

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How To Become A Cowboy

Agricultural workers typically receive on-the-job training. A high school diploma is not needed for most jobs as an agricultural worker; however, a high school diploma typically is needed for animal breeders.

Education and Training

Most agricultural workers do not need a high school diploma; however, a high school diploma typically is needed for animal breeders. Some jobs as an animal breeder may require some postsecondary education.

Agricultural workers typically receive some short-term on-the-job training. Employers instruct them on how to use simple farming tools and more complex machinery while following appropriate safety procedures. More experienced workers also are expected to perform routine maintenance on the tools they use.

Important Qualities

Dexterity. Agricultural workers need excellent hand–eye coordination to harvest crops and operate farm machinery.

Listening skills. Agricultural workers need to work well with others. Because they take instructions from farmers and other agricultural managers, effective listening is critical.

Physical stamina. Agricultural workers need to be able to perform laborious tasks repeatedly.

Physical strength. Agricultural workers must be strong enough to lift heavy objects, including tools and crops.

Mechanical skills. Agricultural workers must be able to operate complex farm machinery. They also occasionally do routine maintenance on the machinery.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Animal breeders sometimes need previous work experience interacting with livestock. Ranch workers may transition into animal breeding after they become more familiar with animals and learn how to handle them.

Advancement

Agricultural workers may advance to crew leader or other supervisory positions. The ability to speak both English and Spanish is helpful for agricultural supervisors.

Some agricultural workers aspire to become farmers, ranchers, or agricultural managers or to own their own farms and ranches. Knowledge of produce and livestock may provide an excellent background for becoming buyers or purchasing agents of farm products. Those who earn a college degree in agricultural science could become agricultural or food scientists.

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Average Length of Employment
Rancher 7.4 years
Herdsman 3.9 years
Cowboy 3.0 years
Pumper 2.8 years
Pen Rider 1.7 years
Chocolatier 1.3 years
Top Careers Before Cowboy
Ranch Hand 9.9%
Cashier 9.9%
Internship 6.9%
Server 6.0%
Welder 4.3%
Manager 4.3%
Pen Rider 4.3%
Waitress 3.4%
Assistant 3.4%
Cook 3.0%
Technician 3.0%
Wrangler 3.0%
Top Careers After Cowboy
Ranch Hand 9.5%
Manager 6.8%
Cashier 6.8%
Owner 5.9%
Supervisor 4.5%
Driver 4.1%
Foreman 4.1%
Assistant 3.6%
Farm Hand 3.2%
Welder 3.2%
Server 3.2%

Do you work as a Cowboy?

Cowboy Demographics

Gender

Male

65.0%

Female

33.4%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

63.7%

Hispanic or Latino

17.1%

Black or African American

9.8%

Asian

5.7%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.5%

German

12.5%

Swedish

12.5%

Portuguese

12.5%
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Cowboy Education

Schools

Oklahoma State University

28.7%

University of Wyoming

7.5%

University of Phoenix

5.0%

Sul Ross State University

5.0%

Texas Tech University

3.8%

Oklahoma Panhandle State University

3.8%

Lansing Community College

3.8%

Tarleton State University

3.8%

University of North Texas

3.8%

Texas A&M University

3.8%

Santa Monica College

3.8%

University of Texas at Austin

3.8%

Ohio State University

3.8%

McNeese State University

3.8%

Fort Hays State University

3.8%

Lamar Institute of Technology

2.5%

Northwest College

2.5%

Salisbury University

2.5%

Hill College

2.5%

Northeastern Junior College

2.5%
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Majors

Business

20.0%

Animal Science

7.3%

Criminal Justice

7.3%

Communication

6.7%

Psychology

5.3%

Agricultural Business

5.3%

General Studies

4.7%

Education

4.7%

Health Care Administration

4.7%

General Education, Specific Areas

4.0%

Automotive Technology

3.3%

Nursing

3.3%

Electrical Engineering

3.3%

Marketing

3.3%

Journalism

3.3%

Kinesiology

2.7%

Biology

2.7%

Environmental Science

2.7%

Medical Assisting Services

2.7%

Sociology

2.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.8%

Other

33.3%

Associate

11.6%

Masters

4.8%

Certificate

4.8%

Diploma

2.0%

Doctorate

1.7%
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Part Time
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Temporary

Real Cowboy Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Cowboy/Cowgirl Henrichson Feedyard, Inc. Cotulla, TX Nov 24, 2016 $23,270
Cowboy/Cowgirl 3C Cattle Company Laredo, TX Oct 24, 2016 $23,270
Cowboy/Cowgirl Asche Ranches Managing, LLC Cotulla, TX Nov 10, 2016 $23,270
Cowboy/Cowgirl Lynn A. Clapp Encinal, TX Oct 10, 2016 $23,270
Cowboy/Cowgirl Henrichson Feedyard, Inc. Cotulla, TX Nov 24, 2014 $22,665
Cowboy/Cowgirl 3C Cattle Company Laredo, TX Sep 09, 2014 $22,665
Cowboy/Cowgirl Henrichson Feedyard, Inc. Cotulla, TX Jul 12, 2015 $21,600
Cowboy/Cowgirl Chimney Creek Cattle Co., LLC Hico, TX Oct 05, 2015 $21,600
Cowboy/Cowgirl 3C Cattle Company Laredo, TX Sep 09, 2015 $21,600

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Top Skills for A Cowboy

  1. Beef Cattle
  2. Customer Service
  3. Herd
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Helped raise and sold pastured-poultry by building pens and transportation crates, as well as raising beef cattle.
  • Performed agency check-ins with outstanding customer service, urgency and diligence.
  • Oversee a herd of 20 +- roping cattle (feeding, doctoring, preparing for rodeos).
  • Position Duties: Protect the bull rider from any and all causes of injury in the arena during the rodeo.
  • Oil, lubricants, and grease checked daily with heavy equipment, trucks, and other machinery.

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