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Knowing the Differences Between Ranches and Farms

If you’ve spent your entire life in a city, you might think there is no difference between ranches and farms. However, if you talk to an agricultural industry expert, or passionate farmers and ranchers, you’ll soon realize that you are wrong.
Would you like to know the difference between a ranch and a farm? It can be critical when buying rural property and deciding which type of use is the right fit.

Are Ranches and Farms the Same Thing?


Farms and ranches indeed, have some similarities. Both terms describe a piece of land (usually a big one) focused on agriculture production, and you will find both mechanical and human labor on both types of land. Farmers do many things themselves, but they also utilize machines for added efficiency.
Ranches and farms both produce food and other items by using natural resources, such as water and land. The products made on these properties are later sold on the market.

The Differences Between Ranches and Farms

Now that we understand the basics, let’s discuss the differences between ranches and farms. Here are the definitions of each.
A farm is a location where land and other natural resources are used for agricultural purposes. You will find people cultivating crops and raising livestock on their farms.
A ranch is a place where people focus solely on livestock. These are raised for food, but also milk, eggs, leather, and other animal-based products. You won’t often see people harvesting the land on their farms. Instead, they usually leave it for grazing.
It wouldn’t be wrong to call a ranch a subcategory of a farm.

Are Ranches and Farms the Same Size?


No rule exists when defining the size of ranches and farms. However, ranches require more space because of the cattle and other livestock. They tend to require more space than farms that focus on cultivating crops.
Farms can operate on a small piece of land, which is not the case with ranches. It is especially true if the owners are serious about the agriculture business.

Do Ranchers and Farmers Use the Same Tools?

A farmer needs a variety of equipment to do the job right. A good equipment supply includes tractors, trucks, combines, hay balers, etc. Farms also require manual gardening tools to help keep everything looking good.  There are also production and storage buildings to maintain. Milking machinery may also be required, especially for those running dairy farms.
Things are a bit easier with ranches, which primarily rely on ATVs, trucks, and horses for herding and pasturing the livestock. It is worth noting that every ranch needs to have a secure fence around the perimeter so that the animals don’t leave the property. Stable fencing can be pricey due to the property’s size and the strength and durability needed to keep the animals contained.

Initial and Operating Costs

The primary difference is the land size. Since ranches tend to be bigger, that might mean they are pricier than farms. However, the specifics of the land, as well as the location, will also affect the price.
Another thing to take into account is whether there are any structures on the property such as  houses, storage rooms, barns, etc.
Purchasing a small farm for the purpose of homesteading (providing for your family rather than selling what you have grown) can be affordable. However, don’t forget about the equipment that you need to buy. On the other hand, ranchers will need to acquire livestock that they will raise on the property.

Are You Ready to Invest in a Ranch or a Farm?

Ultimately, the difference between a ranch and farm lies in what you plan to do with the land. Both can be a smart investment, but they require a lot of hard work and dedication. If you’re ready to invest in a ranch or a farm, Land.US is here to help! Search across our wide selection of U.S. properties for the perfect piece of land.