Whats the difference between a Farm and a Ranch?

topic posted Thu, April 20, 2006 - 7:56 PM by  Unsubscribed
A question that came to mind when I saw the name of this tribe. Would the differance be topography, or maybe number of trees, or if the crop is vegetable rather than animal. But if thats true the" dairy farm" wouldnt be correct would it? Well, as for me, I live on a ranch, a small one, with three horses, and some machinery. Does a farm/ranch have to have a crop for sale? Maybe ours is a "tree farm". Could it be a "tree ranch". Whatever it turns out to be, I dig the hell out of it. BH
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  • Unsu...
    Gee Billy, to someone who was raised in the city, a farmer is anybody who lives on more than a 1/4 acre of land, and grows anything besides a lawn. It's all a matter of perspective.

    The way I see it, Ranches are usually West of the Mississippi, and Farms are usually East of the Mississippi. In Kentucky, for instance, they call it a "horse farm" not a ranch. I guess the other difference is that farms are more agriculture related, and ranches are more livestock related. There may be better definitions, but I think you can call your spread whatever you like.
    • Unsu...
      Thanks Jay. Thats as good a def as any. I wouldnt know about east of the mississippi. I feel lucky when I can make it down to a WalMart. I like your profile and album. My attitute exactly. But which one is you?
      • Jay, does have a good def, as I see it, yet Billy, you touched on the rest of it with your initial topography comment.

        Way back, before there was a "west", the difference was between a farm & a plantation. A farm was generally accepted, as requiring at least 40 workable acres, it could support a hard working family. A bit more than that,added expences, that ate up the potential profits. A whole lot more (1,000's) acreage than that, started to show significant profit. These larger "farms" were called plantations. Plantation owners ruled.

        Proof that long before there were openly gay farmers, size DID matter!

        Then came the Civil War. Plantation owners lost thier power (CHEERS!!!)

        Large & small 'farmers' lost thier homes & lifestyles all across the southern US... many of them attempted to start over, by moving west. "Manifest Destiny" was envigorated.

        Once these farmers arrived in the 'West' they quickly discovered that 40 acres wasn't enough. It didn't matter if they chose to farm wheat or cattle. Not if they wanted to feed an honest family that is. They discovered that they needed huge tracts of land to support themselves. That wasn't a problem to them, there were huge tracts of land available. (It was a prob to the native folk, but that's another thread...).

        The problem boiled down to semantics... They were farmers, who now controled huge tracts of land, so they were technically plantation owners. Yet, they lacked both, the wealth and power of plantation owners. While realising that the term "plantation owner" now lacked respect....

        The solution was to coin a new word... "Rancher"

        Ultimately proving that, while size does matter, it's knowing how to work with what you have, that is ,far more important, than working with a lot & thinking that that's enough.

        Be Well, Lee
        • Unsu...
          Now that was a good explanation. I thought I was in class for a second. Thanks Lee.. There isnt going to be a test or anything is there? lol. So the ranches had to be bigger because of lack of water or the soil or something? You know what bro. I'd go back there in a heartbeat, to the old west, Indians and all. I'd go before the calvary, before the wagons. Maybe do the Jeremiah Johnson thing. I think I could too but problem is, how'd I get my playstation to work or where to get new games. lol. Thanks for being a good teacher.
          • LOL, ain't no stinkin tests from me... Well maybe the taste test, but don't bother studying for that one...

            I'ld go back with ya, except for two things... First off, I was born in the mid-west & swore I would never click my heals again, once I got out... (tis true, my ruby slippers are separately packed, never to meet again!) Secondly, my heart is in Tennessee, the land of redundant spelling & working playstations...

            If ya ever cross the Ole Mississippi, look for me around SMS... Lee
          • Unsu...
            I have a feeling that even if you could take your playstation with you, you probably wouldn't have time to even think about it with all the work of just trying to survive! I used to work in a living history museum, I was a soldier in the Revolution. It was great, gave me a chance to work on a lot of basic skills that used to be a part of everyday life. I can start a fire at least a couple of ways that don't involve a lighter, know a little bit about food preservation, wild foods and medicines, all kinds of stuff. I would love to have been here pre-western contact. Maybe a Chaco Canyon Anaszi. In an awful lot of ways it would have been so much better a life. Hey you would look great in buckskins!

            Thanks for the ranch/farm clarification, too. I always wonder that whenever I'm out west in the land of the ranch (I'm an east coast farm boy).
            • Unsu...
              Isnt it just possible that I'd look great without them also. lol
              • Unsu...
                I expect it's entirely possible;) Highly probable, even.

                One of the best things about living in the country is going nekkid outdoors. Just watch out for the poison ivy! My partner is current covered waist to knees, poor guy.
                • Unsu...
                  Thanks for the tip bro. Fortunately, there isnt any poison ivy around here. I go nekkid outdoors all time cuz Im lazy and its easier and want to freak out the forest service dudes when they come around
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.
                    I used to be a park ranger, highlight of my day was always finding nekkid people in the woods or on the beach. sometimes i would chat with them and just never mention they were nekkid. when all the park rangers get together for meetings, they spend hours telling stories of finding nekkid people in their parks. i betcha the foreat rangers hang around waiting to bump into you nekkid, lol.

                    no poison ivy out there? cool! must be nice. my bf has finally healed up, it was really nasty tho! and we couldn't do anything for like two weeks!! better now:)
                    • Unsu...
                      They seem kinda rednecked, the rangers, so I doubt that. lol. They dont come by too often because usually our gate is locked. Glad your BF is healed up. Poison ivy can be a bitch. They got poison oak in California where I used to live. Got lucky there. Imagine getting it around your balls? (shudder) Billy
        • ranch is an americanized ranchero, from the Spanish, which colonized the western continental north America... even the smallest farm in california was a ranch.. my mothers italian immigrant grand parents, (Nonna & Nonno), eventually bought 20 acres they called a ranch, and made a good living off of truck farming produce for market, raised 4 childern and retired from's still in family, farmed.. My dad's italian immigrant grand parents accumulated large tracts of land for produce, cattle, pigs, orchards.. all called ranches... alot of that is still in the family, farmed, developed.....

          and yes i had gay relatives back then that farmed, one that committed suicide we think because he was queer, and another that was black mailed most of his life because of being queer... and queer cousins today...
  • Unsu...
    I believe a ranch is more about live stock, where a farm is more about veg/fruit farming (although dairy farms do exist. I worked on a ranch with 280 black angus cattle, it also had fields of wheat. I also woofed on lots of organic farms. This is the difference I noticed.
    • I was raised in the eastern part of Nebraska. As I grew up a common assumption and belief was the eastern half of the State had farms and the western half had mostly ranches. Farms usually meant great emphasis on growing corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and some oats and barley with somewhat less emphais on large amounts of "grazing " livestock.
      Ranches in the western half of the State usually were many more acres in size than the eastern farms; and they were composed of vast amounts of grasslands and wheat acres with large amounts of cattle (sometimes sheep) and often a fair number of horses. The ranches raised very little corn, soybeans etc. The soil on ranches was almost always considered to be more arid and only fitting for some wheat and grass. Both still fostered horny farm boys!