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Career and Education Opportunities for Farm Ranchers in Des Moines, Iowa

If you want to be a farm rancher, the Des Moines, Iowa area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 88,220 people work as farm ranchers in Iowa. This is expected to shrink 8% to about 81,270 people 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%. Farm ranchers generally , 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 $27 per hour or $55,310 per year in Iowa, and an average of $22 per hour or $44,890 per year nationwide. Jobs in this field include: fish and game club manager, herb grower, and sheep herder.

There are fifteen schools of higher education in the Des Moines area, including one within twenty-five miles of Des Moines where you can get a degree to start your career as a farm rancher. The most common level of education for farm ranchers is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn to be a farm rancher if you already have a high school diploma.


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 Des Moines 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.


Grand View University - Des Moines, IA

Grand View University, 1200 Grandview Ave, Des Moines, IA 50316. Grand View University is a small university located in Des Moines, Iowa. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,936 students and an admission rate of 95%. Grand View University has a bachelor's degree program in Agricultural Business and Management which graduated two students in 2008.


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.


Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa photo by BinaryBoyXP

Des Moines is located in Polk County, Iowa. It has a population of over 197,052, which has shrunk by 0.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Des Moines, 79, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Des Moines cost $175,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, one hundred sixty-five new homes were built in Des Moines, down from three hundred nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Des Moines are finance and insurance, health care, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 21.8% of Des Moines residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.5%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Des Moines is 7.1%, which is greater than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Des Moines residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Epworth United Methodist Church, Union Park Baptist Church and Seventh Day Adventist Church are all churches located in Des Moines. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Des Moines is home to the Activities Center and the Blank Park Zoo as well as M L King Park and Des Moines Botanical Garden. Shopping centers in the area include Merle Hay Mall, Des Moines Park Fair Mall and Southridge Mall. Visitors to Des Moines can choose from Palace Inn, Holiday Inn Express Des Moines and Casa Bella Motel for temporary stays in the area.