Farmer: Map


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Eastern European farmer
A farmer is a person who raises living organisms for food or raw materials.


The term farmer usually applies to a person who grows field crops, and/or manages orchards or vineyards, or raises livestock or poultry such as chicken and cows. Their products are usually sold in a market or, in a subsistence economy, consumed by the family or pooled by the community.

In some countries, a farmer engaged in raising cattle, horses, or sheep for profit is usually referred to as a rancher (US), grazier (Australia) or stockman. Special terms also apply to other people who husband domesticated animals, namely shepherd for sheep farmers and goatherd for goat farmers. The term dairy farmer is applied to those engaged milk production. A poultry farmer is one who concentrates on raising chickens, turkeys, domesticated ducks and geese, or is involved in egg production. A person who raises a variety of vegetables for market may be called a truck farmer or market gardener.

In the context of developing nations or other pre-industrial cultures, most farmers practice a meager subsistence agriculture – a simple organic farming system employing crop rotation, slash and burn or other techniques to maximize efficiency while meeting the needs of the household or community, using saved seed which is native to the ecoregion. In developed nations however, a person using such techniques on small patches of land might be called a gardener and be considered a hobbyist. Alternatively, one may be driven into such methods by poverty or, ironically--against the background of large-scale agribusiness--may become an organic farmer growing for discerning consumers in the local food market. Historically, one subsisting in this way may have been known as a peasant.

Farmers harvesting rice in Japan

In developed nations , a farmer (as a profession) is usually defined as someone with an ownership interest in crops or livestock, and who provides land or management in their production. Those who provide only labor are most often called farmhands. Alternatively, growers who manage farmland for an absentee landowner, sharing the harvest (or its profits) are known as sharecroppers or sharefarmers. In the context of agribusiness, a farmer can be almost anyone – and can legally qualify under agricultural policy for various subsidies, incentives, and tax relief.

Farmers are often members of local, regional or national farmers' unions or agricultural producers' organizations and can exert significant political influence. The Grange movement in the United States was effective in advancing farmer's agenda, especially in the early 20th century against the railroads and agribusiness interests. The FNSEA is very politically active in France, especially on the genetically modified food issue. Agricultural producers small and large are represented globally through the International Federation of Agriculture Producers (IFAP), which is the democractic voice for farmers' at the world level, representing over 600 million farmers through 120 national farmers' unions in 79 countries.


Farmers are sometimes given nicknames and these vary between countries:

See also


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