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Become A Ranch Hand

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Working As A Ranch Hand

  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Getting Information
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $21,830

    Average Salary

What Does A Ranch Hand 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 Ranch Hand

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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Ranch Hand Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Ranch Manager 4.4 years
Crop Ranch Hand 3.6 years
Farm Hand 3.2 years
Ranch Hand 3.0 years
Hand Driller 2.4 years
Hand Sprayer 2.3 years
Roustabout Hand 1.4 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 11.8%
Internship 7.2%
Farm Hand 6.7%
Welder 5.9%
Assistant 4.8%
Waitress 4.6%
Mechanic 4.6%
Volunteer 4.3%
Cook 4.0%
Server 4.0%
Technician 3.7%
Manager 3.7%
Foreman 3.6%
Top Employers After
Cashier 8.5%
Welder 8.0%
Internship 6.4%
Technician 5.5%
Manager 4.7%
Farm Hand 4.7%
Assistant 4.2%
Server 4.1%
Operator 4.1%
Driver 3.9%
Cook 3.8%
Mechanic 3.8%

Do you work as a Ranch Hand?

Ranch Hand Demographics

Gender

Male

76.5%

Female

22.6%

Unknown

0.9%
Ethnicity

White

82.4%

Hispanic or Latino

10.5%

Asian

5.4%

Unknown

1.2%

Black or African American

0.4%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.9%

German

8.1%

Dakota

6.7%

French

3.7%

Swedish

1.5%

Carrier

1.5%

Portuguese

1.5%

Choctaw

1.5%

Arabic

1.5%

Cheyenne

0.7%

Mandarin

0.7%

Korean

0.7%

Indonesian

0.7%

Hawaiian

0.7%

Russian

0.7%

Filipino

0.7%

Greek

0.7%

Italian

0.7%

Irish

0.7%

Japanese

0.7%
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Ranch Hand Education

Schools

Tarleton State University

12.8%

Texas A&M University

10.3%

Texas Tech University

7.1%

Montana State University - Bozeman

5.7%

University of Wyoming

5.7%

Oklahoma State University

5.3%

Kansas State University

5.2%

Northwest Lineman College

4.6%

Utah State University

4.6%

University of Montana

4.3%

Blinn College

4.3%

Sam Houston State University

4.3%

Angelo State University

3.8%

Colorado State University

3.8%

Texas State University

3.7%

Universal Technical Institute

3.4%

University of Idaho

3.3%

Brigham Young University

2.7%

Southwest Texas Junior College

2.6%

Texas A&M University - Kingsville

2.6%
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Majors

Business

15.9%

Animal Science

9.9%

Precision Metal Working

8.1%

Automotive Technology

7.2%

Agricultural Business

7.1%

Biology

5.6%

General Studies

5.5%

Criminal Justice

5.5%

Mechanical Engineering

3.5%

Management

3.3%

Education

3.2%

Nursing

3.1%

Environmental Science

3.1%

General Education, Specific Areas

3.0%

Kinesiology

2.9%

Agriculture

2.9%

Psychology

2.8%

Computer Science

2.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.4%

Agricultural Production Operations

2.4%
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Degrees

Other

40.5%

Bachelors

34.6%

Associate

13.8%

Certificate

5.7%

Masters

2.9%

Diploma

1.5%

License

0.7%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Ranch Hand Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Ranch Hand Singletree Ranch New Castle, CO Jun 17, 2016 $42,515
Cattle Ranch Hand Finney Cattle Cuero, TX Dec 21, 2015 $31,305
Cattle Ranch Hand Finney Cattle Cuero, TX Nov 21, 2016 $31,305
General Ranch Hand Jessica Weldon Ray, ND Dec 15, 2016 $29,218
Ranch Hand Topp Land and Cattle Jamestown, ND Nov 25, 2016 $29,218
General Ranch Hand Donald B Lambourn Scranton, ND Jan 01, 2016 $29,218
General Ranch Hand Smith Cattle LLC SD Jan 11, 2016 $28,801
General Ranch Hand Walton Swathing LLC Johnson City, KS Nov 15, 2016 $28,801
General Ranch Hand Lindskov-Thiel Charolais Ranch Isabel, SD Jun 02, 2016 $28,801
Farmworker/Ranch Hand/Grape Pruner/Harvester Gwinllan Estate CA Jan 15, 2015 $28,529
General Ranch Hand Smith Cattle LLC SD Dec 21, 2015 $28,362
General Ranch Hand Jessica Jean Weldon Ray, ND Dec 15, 2015 $28,362
General Ranch Hand Edwards Family Farm, Inc. Alexis, IL Nov 15, 2015 $24,230
General Ranch Hand Guymon Farms, Inc. New Burnside, IL Dec 20, 2015 $24,230
General Ranch Hand Timothy D Pearson Cattle Park Rapids, MN May 11, 2015 $24,126
Ranch Hand II-Ff, LLC CO Apr 01, 2015 $23,729
Ranch Hand Fogel Ranch LLC Silt, CO Mar 10, 2015 $23,729
General Ranch Hand Wheatland Farms Hudson, CO Dec 19, 2016 $23,520
Ranch Hand II-Ff, LLC CO Jan 04, 2016 $23,520
Ranch Hand OOPW, LLC Lovelady, TX Mar 28, 2016 $23,270
Ranch Hand Cw Ranch & Cattle Co., LLC Woodward, OK Aug 31, 2016 $23,192
Ranch Hand Cw Ranch & Cattle Co., LLC Woodward, OK Sep 11, 2016 $23,192
Ranch Hand II-Ff, LLC CO Apr 01, 2014 $22,727
General Ranch Hand Bar A Ranch CO Mar 05, 2014 $22,727
Ranch Hand Camp Mystic, Inc. Huntington, TX Feb 24, 2015 $22,665
Ranch Hand OOPW, LLC Lovelady, TX Mar 25, 2014 $22,665
Ranch Hand Guadalupe George Garcia Lopeo, TX Apr 14, 2014 $22,665
Ranch Hand Guadalupe George Garcia Lopeo, TX Feb 09, 2015 $22,665

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Top Skills for A Ranch Hand

CattleRanchWaterLivestockTractorsHeavyMachineryFarmEquipmentBarnHeavyEquipmentDifferentPasturesYardRanchEquipmentCleanStallsGeneralRanchMaintenanceHandToolsFarmMachineryEquipmentMaintenanceFrontEndLoaderHorseStallsRepairEquipmentIrrigationSystemsArtificialInsemination

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  1. Cattle Ranch
  2. Water Livestock
  3. Tractors
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assist in day to day duties and operations commonly found on dry land wheat farms and cattle ranches.
  • Fill feed troughs with feed, water livestock, and herd livestock to pasture for grazing.
  • Attach farm implements such as plows, discs, sprayers, or harvesters to tractors, using bolts and hand tools.
  • Experienced operating a tractor and other heavy machinery and proved my ability to perform intensive labor for many hours.
  • Performed landscaping duties while using heavy farm equipment including large tractors and large brush hogs.

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