AskDefine | Define farmer

Dictionary Definition



1 a person who operates a farm [syn: husbandman, granger, sodbuster]
2 United States civil rights leader who in 1942 founded the Congress of Racial Equality (born in 1920) [syn: James Leonard Farmer]
3 an expert on cooking whose cookbook has undergone many editions (1857-1915) [syn: Fannie Farmer, Fannie Merritt Farmer]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Farmer




  1. A person who works the land or who keeps livestock, especially on a farm.


person who works the land or who keeps livestock

Related terms

Extensive Definition

A farmer is a person who is engaged in agriculture, raising living organisms for food or raw materials. This is a way of life that had long been the dominant occupation of human beings since the dawn of civilization. Related, but much different, is gardening.


The term for a farmer usually applies to a person who grows field crops, and/or manages orchards or vineyards, their products usually sold in a market or, in a subsistence economy, consumed by the family or pooled by the community.
A farmer engaged in raising horses, cattle, or sheep for meat is usually referred to as a rancher, 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. These terms almost always refer to livestock operations that use unmanaged rangeland and must import most, if not all, supplemental feed. When livestock are raised on well-managed pastureland and/or most silage is grown on-site, most practitioners refer to themselves as 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.
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.
farmer in Thai: ชาวนา
farmer in Tajik: Кишоварз
farmer in Yiddish: פארמער
farmer in Chinese: 农民

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Bauer, Internal Revenue Service, accumulator, agriculturalist, agriculturist, agrologist, agronomist, assessor, bill collector, boor, bucolic, bumpkin, clod, clodhopper, clown, coffee-planter, collection agent, collective farm worker, collector, connoisseur, country bumpkin, crofter, cropper, cultivator, customhouse, customs, dirt farmer, douanier, dry farmer, dunner, exciseman, farm laborer, farmhand, gatherer, gentleman farmer, granger, grower, harvester, harvestman, haymaker, hayseed, hick, hillbilly, husbandman, kibbutznik, kolkhoznik, kulak, looby, lout, magpie, miser, muzhik, pack rat, peasant, peasant holder, picker, planter, plowboy, plowman, publican, raiser, rancher, ranchman, reaper, revenuer, rube, rustic, sharecropper, sower, tax assessor, tax collector, tax farmer, taxer, taxman, tea-planter, tenant farmer, tiller, tree farmer, truck farmer, yeoman, yokel
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