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Career and Education Opportunities for Farm Ranchers in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for farm ranchers. There are currently 58,880 working farm ranchers in Illinois; this should shrink by 7% to 54,530 working farm ranchers in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for farm ranchers are expected to shrink by about 8.0%. In general, farm ranchers , on an ownership or rental basis, operate farms, or other agricultural production establishments which produce crops, horticultural specialties, or animal specialties.

The average wage in the general category of Farm and Livestock jobs is $15 per hour or $30,380 per year in Illinois, and an average of $22 per hour or $44,890 per year nationwide. Farm ranchers work in a variety of jobs, including: crop farm operator, inside horticultural specialty grower, and bonsai culturist.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including five within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a farm rancher. Given that the most common education level for farm ranchers is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a farm rancher if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Farm Rancher

Farm Rancher video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, farm ranchers, on an ownership or rental basis, operate farms, or other agricultural production establishments which produce crops, horticultural specialties, or animal specialties. They also may plant, cultivate, harvest, perform post-harvest activities, and market crops and livestock; may hire, train, and supervise farm workers or supervise a farm labor contractor; may prepare cost, production, and other records.

Farm ranchers decide on and purchase supplies and equipment such as seed and farm machinery. They also lubricate and make minor repairs to farm equipment, using oilcans, grease guns, and hand tools. Equally important, farm ranchers have to monitor crops as they grow in order to insure that they are growing properly and are free from diseases and contaminants. They are often called upon to perform crop production duties such as planning and harvesting. They are expected to formulate crop efforts on the basis of factors such as crop maturity and weather conditions. Finally, farm ranchers prepare and operate farm machinery to cultivate and haul crops.

Every day, farm ranchers are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements.

It is important for farm ranchers to evaluate product marketing alternatives, then promote and market farm products, acting as the sales agent for livestock and crops. They are often called upon to maintain financial and employee records. They also obtain financing from lenders to purchase machinery and feed. They are sometimes expected to destroy diseased or superfluous crops. Somewhat less frequently, farm ranchers are also expected to clean and sanitize milking equipment and cows' udders, or insure that procedures are followed to maintain sanitary conditions for handling of milk.

They also have to be able to buy or sell futures contracts, or price products in advance of future sales so that risk is limited and/or profit is increased and purchase and store livestock feed. And finally, they sometimes have to maintain pastures or grazing lands to insure that animals have enough feed, employing pasture-conservation measures such as arranging rotational grazing.

Like many other jobs, farm ranchers must be reliable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Aquaculture Director. Direct and coordinate, through subordinate supervisory personnel, activities of workers engaged in fish hatchery production for corporations, cooperatives, or other owners.
  • Crop and Livestock Manager. Direct and coordinate, through subordinate supervisory personnel, activities of workers engaged in agricultural crop production for corporations, cooperatives, or other owners.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Farm Rancher Training

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has 3 areas of study related to Farm Rancher. They are:

  • Agricultural Production Operations, associate's degree which graduated 12 students in 2008.
  • Greenhouse Operations and Management, associate's degree which graduated 7 students in 2008.
  • Plant Nursery Operations and Management, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated two and four students respectively in 2008.

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has 2 areas of study related to Farm Rancher. They are:

  • Ornamental Horticulture, less than one year which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Plant Nursery Operations and Management, one to two year which graduated 3 students in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Plant Nursery Operations and Management which graduated one and one students respectively in 2008.

McHenry County College - Crystal Lake, IL

McHenry County College, 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012-2761. McHenry County College is a medium sized college located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,374 students. McHenry County College has a less than one year program in Greenhouse Operations and Management which graduated two students in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has an associate's degree program in Ornamental Horticulture which graduated three students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence: The Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence is a professional who leads and champions process-improvement initiatives’ everywhere from small businesses to multinational corporations’ that can have regional or global focus in a variety of service and industrial settings.

For more information, see the American Society for Quality website.

Accredited Farm Manager: Farm Managers offer professional management services to farmland owners to help them optimize the returns from their asset.

For more information, see the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers website.

Business and Employer Services - Professional Certification: Professional certification exam for Business and Employer Services in workforce development.

For more information, see the Dynamic Works Institute website.

Certified Manager: Certified Manager certification is valued for the credibility and recognition it brings to managers and the organizations for which they work.

For more information, see the Institute of Certified Professional Managers website.

Certified Ornamental Lanscape Professional: Earn the Certified Ornamental Landscape Professional (COLP) designation by completing the "Principles of Landscape Tree & Shrub Maintenance" self-study course.

For more information, see the Professional Landcare Network website.

Program Management Professional: Project Management Institute's newest credential is specifically developed to acknowledge the qualifications of the professional who leads the coordinated management of multiple projects and ensures the ultimate success of a program.

For more information, see the Project Management Institute website.

LICENSES

CERTIFIED LIVESTOCK MANAGER

Licensing agency: Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau of Environmental Programs
Address: State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL 62794-9281

Phone: (217) 785-2427
Website: Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau of Environmental Programs

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.