Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station [Later Life Farming]

Module 2d: If Not Farming, What Else?

Many full-time farmers have a very difficult time "hanging-up their hat" when the time comes to retire. The reasons are many but often center around that 24/7 work ethic and personal drive that led them into farming in the first place. Most farmers have developed a lifelong attachment to farming and many find it hard to accept the slow down that generally comes with retirement.

What to do? Take that drive, work ethic, and passion for outdoor work and agricultural pursuits and apply it to other more easily managed, and possibly less demanding, forms of employment that can begin a transition to a modified retirement lifestyle. Many opportunities exist within the network that farmers have participated during their full-time farming career. Additionally, if a farmer is transferring the farm to family members (next generation), or even to a non-related successor, he or she can use the transition time as a way to phase into retirement.

Many farmers have numerous talents and skills to offer other industries that need qualified "self starters" to assist them with their enterprises. They simply need to think "out of the box" and examine the talents they can bring to the table for other businesses. To do this, focus on the parts of farming you enjoy the most and turn the ones you like the least over to others. Later life is the time to focus on the aspects of farming that you are passionate about!

A list and description of possible post-farming employment options and job qualifications follows:

Type of EmploymentJob Characteristics and Requirements
Farm ConsultantGive advice on all related aspects of farm management
Equipment Operator Knowledgeable about all phases of equipment and cropping procedures
Equipment MechanicGeneral maintenance, emergency repair, diagnosis, etc.
WeldingFarm equipment repair, commercial and novelty items, etc.
TruckingLicensed to handle big rigs (CDL) and familiar with truck operation
Livestock ConsultantKnowledge of hauling, handling, animal husbandry, etc.
Material ApplicatorPesticide license (private and commercial if for hire), work for local private pesticide/fertilizer company
Seed SalesPart-time local representative for national seed companies

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