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Farm Crops

Are crops like corn and wheat grown on ranches?


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August 06, 2009 4:52PM

Absolutely. Almost everyone involved in the agriculture business does a little of both. That's why there is so much confusion in the general public about what constitues a farm or a ranch. Strictly speaking, on a farm, you raise plants, on a ranch, you raise animals. But even on the smallest sized acreages, both are usually done. For example, on my ranch, I primarily raise cattle. but I also grow sunflowers and wheat. But my neighbor grows hay and cotton mostly, but he also has cows. So, when asked the question, "Are you a farmer or a rancher?". I usually say I do some of both, but I am mostly a rancher.

While the answer to the question itself is correct, the additional information ("Almost everyone involved in the agriculture business does a little of both.") is not. Though most beef cattle ranchers will have some crops (at least hay, if they're raising cattle), most crop farmers do not have livestock. Personally I object to the overly-general use of the word "ranch" to describe all livestock operations, since dairies, pig farms, chicken operations, fish farms, and other livestock operations on small acreages, are not, traditionally, referred to by that term. The term "ranch" is traditionally limited to beef cattle and sheep operations, which require large tracts of land. However, whether you call them ranches or not, pig farms, chicken operations, and fish farms seldom grow crops (though dairies will often grow some silage to feed the milk cows). When all types of agricultural operations are considered, it most definitely is not true that "Almost everyone" grows both crops and livestock, and I seriously doubt that it's even a majority. I also object to the statement "even on the smallest sized acreages, both are usually done". It is true that small farms often raise both crops and livestock. However, large farms generally do not. This statement implies that, if small farms do it, then surely the large farms do too. That is not true at all. Small farms are far more likely to grow crops and livestock than large farms, which tend to focus on one or the other. It is also worth noting that, among crop farms, there is a tendency, more pronounced in larger farms, to grow multiple crops, while among livestock operations, there is a tendency to raise only one species of livestock.