Do You Know These Things That Farmers Should Know?


By: Lauren Lubas

6 Min Quiz

Image: jeffbergen / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

If you're a farmer, or you know a farmer, you're aware that there is more to farming than planting and watering seeds or blocking traffic with incredibly large, slow vehicles. As a matter of fact, the agriculture industry employs nearly 17% of America's workforce according to 

The job of a farmer doesn't end with the harvest; it is a year-round occupation that supplies not only your own community but the entire country (and even some foreign countries) with food, medicine, clothing and fuel that they need to sustain life. Whether you were born into the farming life or you decided that it was the life for you, there are a lot of different aspects to farming that the average person doesn't know. This has created an agricultural culture that only those who have close personal experience with farming can truly understand. If you are one of the exclusive members of this interesting culture, you know that the majority of farming is all about intense labor, long days and little appreciation. 

You know things the average American can't comprehend, and now it's time to test your skills. Let's see if you know these things that only farmers should know.

What is a cash crop?

This term defines itself, it's basically anything that can be turned into cash. "Cash crop" is a term for any crop or livestock that a farmer can sell for money. This includes cows, pigs, chickens and vegetables.


Which of these is NOT a cause of erosion?

Erosion is both natural and man-made. It's generally caused by flooding, but it can also be caused by overgrazing, because the roots of the grass hold the soil in place, and when the grass is gone, the soil is more vulnerable.


If you're a lifetime farmer, you were probably a member of this extracurricular group in school.

The Future Farmers of America is meant to educate students who aspire to have a career in agriculture. They host events and raise funds just like every other extracurricular group.


If a farmer chooses the no till method, what are they avoiding?

The no till method is used by farmers who don't wish to plow their fields before planting. This can help them avoid soil erosion and reduce fuel costs, which is financially beneficial all around.


About how big is an acre of land?

An acre is 43,560 square feet. While this may seem like a lot, the average farm in the US is nearly 450 acres. That means that there are over 19.5 million square feet on the average farm.


What does pH mean to a farmer?

It is essential for soil to be pH balanced. This will ensure germination and a healthy crop, because too much or not enough acid in the soil can affect how the crop grows or if it will grow at all.


If a farmer is talking about their yield, what are they talking about?

The yield of a crop can tell a farmer if they had a successful year or not. The higher the yield, the higher the profit. Many farmers depend on high yields to ensure they can plant again the following year.


What do you call the large points at the end of a combine?

Long ago, large animals and a farmer's hands were all that could collect the crops. These days, row dividers at the end of combines are generally used to pick up corn. It's an excellent tool to help farmers harvest quickly.


When does a male cow become a bull?

Unlike their female counterparts, bulls are generally more muscular and exhibit more aggressive behavior, making them a little more difficult to work with. If a bull is castrated, it is considered a steer.


If someone is cultivating their land, what are they doing?

When a farmer plows and fertilizes the soil, they are cultivating the land (basically, getting it ready for planting). This can help the farmer get a larger yield when it comes time to harvest.


Which farmer would own a flail?

Flails are generally made out of wood. They are hit against stalks to extract seeds and grains; therefore, only plant farmers would use this. If any animal farmer used this, he might get arrested.


About how many millennials are farmers?

Believe it or not, about 20% of today's farmers are new farmers, and they are Millennials. The millennial generation recognizes and appreciates the need for farming, and is willing to put in the work to ensure natural crops.


When a farmer sees humus, what should they do?

Humus is a major part of the circle of life, and it essentially is the natural compost of dead plants and animals on the soil. It is rich in nutrients and great for plant growth throughout the season.


How many of today's farmers are women?

That's right, about 30% of farmers are females, and believe it or not, the percentage of female farmers has actually decreased slightly in recent years, leaving men to do the dirty work.


If a sheep farmer wants to collect wool, what do they have to do?

The great thing about sheep is that they are a recurring revenue for farmers. A farmer can shear their sheep at least once a year, and it isn't necessary to slaughter them to get their wool. They're a sustainable source of fiber.


Where do farm animals graze?

Generally most cattle and animal farmers make sure to set aside a plot of land for animals to eat the grass. These are called pastures. Pastures must be rotated, to ensure that overgrazing doesn't occur, because it can lead to erosion.


If a farmer is talking about a shock, what are they talking about?

A shock is a way to stack grains during the harvest to ensure that the heads of the grains stay off the ground. You'll see these most in wheat and barley fields throughout the United States.


What is the Farm Bureau?

The farm bureau works with farms to solve major agricultural problems. It is not in any way associated with the American government, so they work off of registration fees and ensure that farming is kept to certain standards.


Do farmers have to worry about grades?

Food grades are put on tested foods to ensure quality. Farmers have to send in portions of their yield to ensure that their food is properly packaged for consumers. Grades also dictate the market value of the farmer's yield.


What do you call a farmer who produces milk, cream and cheese?

There are around 42,000 dairy farms in the United States. 95% of them are owned and operated by families. These farms produce all of our domestic cheese, milk, butter and other dairy products.


What is 4H?

If you're wondering, the four H's are Head, Heart, Hands and Health. This group is all about teaching kids the importance of farming and connecting with the community at an early age.


If someone from your grange is calling you, what will they need?

A grange is a group of farmers who help each other, support each other and hold social events. This is a great way to discuss different concerns about the crops in a specific area, and it helps to ensure that farmers are socializing.


If a farm has high inputs, should you buy it?

Inputs are the amount of time, energy, and money you have to put into a farm before you even plant. Buying a farm with high inputs means that it needs a lot of work before you see results.


How do cattle farmers avoid overgrazing?

Intensive grazing is much like crop rotation in that they move cattle among pastures to ensure the grass can grow back. This is a great way to avoid soil erosion, but it requires a lot of monitoring.


If a farmer says you're a hard row to hoe, what are they telling you?

"A hard row to hoe" is an expression that derives from hand hoeing field (which was hard enough, but if one was especially hard, it was a hard row to hoe, for sure). It has evolved into "You're a hard road to hoe" due to assimilation.


What will a farmer call you if you like nice things and enjoy creature comforts?

"High on the hog" is a way of telling someone that they're upper class... and usually not in a nice way. For example, if a farmer's son is dating a city girl who wears makeup and likes fancy things, that farmer would refer to his daughter in law as high on the hog.


Is it good to be as happy as a pig in mud?

If you're happy as a pig in mud, you are in your element. This kind of happiness doesn't happen often, so enjoy it. For the most part this phrase is reserved for children who get presents or have fun with small objects.


Which is NOT something a farmer can produce?

Farmers produce crops and livestock that we can attribute to nearly everything we eat and drink. They can also produce crops that create fuel sources and clothing like corn, cotton, and hemp.


About what percent of the final yield do farmers actually earn?

Yes, farmers only receive 15% of food costs. The rest is spent on marketing, distribution, and other overhead. While it doesn't necessarily seem like a large take, it is a great way for farmers to help keep the cost of our food down.


Which of these is not a part of a total mixed ration?

Total mixed ration includes hay, corn, barley, cotton seed and pretty much anything a cow can eat. These items are mixed together to create feed for the cows when grazing is not enough and in the winter months.


If you're running around like a chicken with its head cut off, what are you probably feeling?

This phrase refers to a chicken slaughtering method where the head is cut off but the body still runs around. Gruesome, yes. Accurate depiction of someone confused and excited, also yes.


Why do farmers like cats in their barns?

If you go to a farm, you may see a few cats roaming around. Farmers have found that they are great to have around for pest control purposes. While these cats can reproduce (a lot), they are still necessary for protecting the barn.


About how many farms are there in America?

With around 2.1 million farms in America, we're a relatively sustainable country. Nearly 99% of our farms are operated by families, individuals, and partnerships, which helps make local buying even easier.


What percent of the US population are considered farmers or ranch families?

While there are a lot of farmers in the United States, they make up only 2% of the population. That's right, that 2% produces food, fuel, alcohol, clothing and so much more for the other 98%.


Which of these is NOT in the top three US farm products?

Even though soy is a major US farm product, it is not in the top 3. The US produces more cattle, corn and dairy products. However, with the attraction and versatility of soy, this ranking might change.


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