Farms and ranches are often confused with each other or thought to be the same thing. Specifying things like whether the ranch or farm is a horse property or does cattle raising can be helpful if you already know the differences between the two but if you don’t, horse property or not, it all sounds like the same thing. Knowing the difference is crucial to running a good farm or ranch. You have to think of it like a business. You would never open up a business before you were not sure of all the details. In order to help you understand a little better about the different processes, here are the primary differences between a ranch and a farm.
On a farm, the focus is usually around the crops. Planting and harvesting are the main priorities for a farmer. Some hog, dairy and poultry producers can be called farmers but for the most part, a farmer is an expert in soil and fertilizer over animals. They are known as growing professionals and use their land to its full potential by which crops they choose to grow. Their soil is the key to producing an income. There is a lot of working that goes into preparing the soil and making it ready for seeding and harvest so there’s not much time for investing in live stock also.
Farms tend to be smaller than ranches but can be just as high. Farmers spend most of their time planting, growing and harvesting their crops.
Farms are divided into fields and paddocks that have different agriculture means growing in them. The goal is to have a harvest that gains more income than went into planting it.
This is where cattle and sheep are raised. They use horses or pick up trucks to assist in herding the cattle and sheep. The way that ranchers make the most of their land is by using the grass as a form of food for their livestock.
Ranchers maintain their facilities just like a farmer does but their facilities are more focused on the animals rather than the ground and surrounding areas like farmers. Ranchers must make sure that their animals and fed and watered and healthy in order to be able to make a profit off of them.
Ranchers spend much of their days gathering and moving their livestock and finding more efficient ways to work with them.
Ranches are divided up in to pastures. Basically, a ranch is a landscape and practices raising animals that can make them money by selling the wool or meat.
Now, phrases like ‘horse property’ can be a little confusing and it might be better to specify like when you say ‘cattle ranch.’ However, a horse property and a cattle ranch both are typically ranches. While the meat and coat of a horse are not sold, the horses on the property are used to help further the ranch and herd the sheep and cattle. The horses are often used for recreational purposes as well for the rancher and his workers and families to enjoy. A specific horse ranch might focus on riding and offering lessons and trail rides to make money but if the ranch is traditional, the horses will be used for herding, mostly.
Understanding the difference between a ranch and a farm is important to knowing how our culture and agriculture works. If you are considering building a ranch or farm, you will definitely need to look into the duties of each and find out which one would best suit you. Both ranches and farms require a high amount of work and commitment to results. It may be a season or two before you start seeing your ranch or farm turn a profit but once you do, it’ll be worth if it’s been done correctly. While a ranch and farm never get to a point where they ‘run themselves’ you can get into a decent routine where it seems like the work is slowing down and you aren’t as stressed out as in the beginning. Especially if you hire some work hands and the crops or livestock begin to turn a profit for you. That’s when things get exciting!