Monday, September 19, 2011

~Is It a Farm or a Ranch?~

When you pass by a place that is obviously an agricultural environment, do you call it a farm or a ranch?  Does it depend on what you see happening?  You know, growing wheat or cotton....raising sheep or cattle....growing corn and raising pigs?  What do you call it...a farm or a ranch?

For years, I always based my label on whether a crop was being raised or whether I saw animals being raised.  If it was a place that raised wheat, then it was a wheat farm.  If it was a place that raised cattle, then it was a cattle ranch.  But then I got to thinking.  Okay, usually one calls a place that raises pigs...a pig farm not a pig ranch.  If it was sheep, it was a sheep farm not a sheep ranch.

It is usually is the same for crops....corn, soybeans, pecans...they are all called farms.  But why is raising animals different...some are called farms and some are called ranches.  Then you have animals such as cattle that are used to produce milk and it's called a dairy farm not a dairy ranch.

Then, again, what if they raise both crops and animals... is it a farm/ranch or is it a ranch/farm?  I tried to come up with a combination of the two words, but it made my brain hurt.

So, to settle this dilemma, I went to doing a Google answer I found said:
"The difference is a rancher raises livestock for consumption and/or it's by-products, and at times also grows the feed for them.
A farmer works with the soil, growing crops for both people and animals.
Usually farmers have some livestock, but not to the extent that a rancher does."

Several dictionary definitions of a ranch said:
        "1. An extensive farm, especially in the western United States, on which large herds of cattle,        sheep, or horses are raised.
2. A large farm on which a particular crop or kind of animal is raised: a mink ranch."

Several definitions of a farm:
1.  a tract of land, usually with a house, barn, silo. etc., on which crops and often livestock are raised for livelihood.
2.  land or water devoted to the raising of animals, fish, plants, etc.; a pig farm, an oyster farm, a tree farm.
3.  a similar, usually commercial, site where a porduct is manufactured or cultivated; a cheese farm, a honey farm.

According to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary 2nd ed., (c) 2004:

Farm:  noun (1) an area of land, and the buildings on it, used for growing crops, rearing animals, etc. (also attributive: farm machinery, farm workers).  (2)  A place of establishment for breeding a particular type of animal, growing fruit, etc. (fish farm, mink farm).  Verb (1a) a transitive use (land) for growing crops, rearing animals, etc.  (1b) transitive be of a farminer, work on a farm.  (2) transitive breed (fish, etc.) commercially.
Ranch:  noun (1a) a cattle breeding farm esp. in the western US and Canada. (1b) a farm where other animals are bred (mink ranch, aquaculture ranch).  Verb (1) intransitive run or work on a ranch.  (2) transitive breed or rear (animals) on or as on a ranch.  (3) transitive use(land) as a ranch.

And then I found this answer....
"What really seems to set the words apart is where it's localed. People rarely have a farm in the west and there are very few ranches in the east."

 So, now that you've had your agricultural lesson today and you may or may not be more bumfuddled (that's what happens when I start thinking...sorry) than ever, what do they call these places in the area where you live?

Wherever you call home, be thankful for farmers and ranchers today ~


Cindy said...

Ha...that's interesting! I've always thought as a ranch being out West with cowboys and cattle roaming open fields. Down South always called them farms. Either way it must be such a blessing to live on one!
Hope your having a wonderful weekend! :)

Rodger said...

This is very interesting, Velma. Yep, ranches are residential and not commercial areas. In a slightly related note, I think this is the reason why most ranches are well-maintained even after a long time. When you live in a very peaceful and breathtaking land, it’s only natural to preserve it as much as possible. :)

Rodger Ciliberto


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