How Much Do Farmers Make a Year?

Farmers produce crops, livestock and dairy products. They can also be called ranchers or agricultural managers, depending on what they produce and whether they operate family or corporate establishments. Though they may have offices in which to manage paperwork, they typically work outdoors.

Average farm income per acre grossed ​$790​, according to in 2021. Net income varies widely depending on the size of the farm, loan payments, taxes and operational costs. Many farmers work non-farming jobs to defray personal household expenses.

Average Farmer Pay

Farmers earned an average ​$37.71​ per hour or ​$78,440​ per year as of May 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compensation could sink below ​$18.37​ per hour or ​$38,200​ per year, or rise above ​$60.74​ per hour or ​$126,330​ per year. Farmers oversee the growth of crops, including planting, fertilizing and harvesting.

They also manage the herding and growth of domestic animals such as cows, chickens and sheep. They buy and operate farm machinery such as tractors; maintain farm facilities such as barns and fences; and buy supplies such as seed and fertilizer.

Employment by Sector

In 2021, the biggest employers of farmers were support activities for crop production, which included family farms. Farmer pay here ran an average ​$38.00​ per hour or ​$79,030​ per year. The highest salaries were in wholesalers of non-durable goods, such as farm supplies. Average wages were ​$51.96​ per hour or ​$108,070​ per year.

Most farmers have a high school diploma though they learn most of their skills through work experiences. Many farmers grew up or worked on a family establishment. Many also obtain a bachelor’s degree in agriculture if they want to make a living with farming, or manage crop production in agricultural corporations.

Average Farm Income by State

The states with the best opportunities for farmers had the highest populations in 2021. California tops the list with average salaries at ​$44.03​ per hour, or ​$91,590​ per year. Texas was next, with average wages of ​$31.15​ per hour, or ​$64,780​ per year.

The highest pay was in New Jersey, at an average ​$55.82​ per hour, or ​$116,110​ per year, and North Dakota, at an average ​$51.59​ per hour, or ​$107,300​ per year. In rural areas, the highest wages were in southern Nebraska, at an average ​$32.13​ per hour, or ​$66,830​ per year, and west Texas at an average ​$32.00​ per hour, or ​$66,560​ per year.

Farmer Growth Trend

The Bureau of Labor Statistics sees jobs for farmers declining by 1 percent from 2020 to 2030, compared to a predicted increase of 8 percent for all occupations in all industries. Modern technology, which allows fewer workers to produce more crops, is closing many farms. In addition, only larger, corporate farms are able to withstand the price fluctuations and climate variations of modern agriculture. Most of the opportunities will go to agricultural managers, who manage crop production on facilities that they do not own.