Whats the difference between a Ranch and a Farm?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by LMonty, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. LMonty

    LMonty Well-Known Member

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    Is there a difference?

    DH and I are having a continuing "discussion" about this, as we are trying to come up with a name for the new homestead! LOL I think it may well be an example of how men and women mentally categorize things differently :).

    His view is if you are growing row crops/grain- its a farm...if livestock is your primary product, its a ranch...

    Mine isnt quite so logically based- I tend to think of a Ranch as something quite large, like thousands of acres out west. A "Home on the Range" kinda thing. Somehow, it just sounds ostentatious to me to call small acreage a ranch, even if you are raising beef cattle! I think its really grass farming.

    I'm just wondering if anyone knows if there are any real definitions or differences. For example, is there a difference for tax purposes, or some other "official" criteria?

    Bottom line- I couldnt care less what we call it, as long as I get it and live on it and work it! And if he's happy, I'm happy- thats more important to me than semantics.

    But I think that an attractive name is important for marketing. Since our current developing "business plan" includes direct marketing naturally raised beef and other animal products I think coming up with an acceptable name has value. He agrees. Will calling it a ranch be a detriment or a benefit?
     
  2. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    Ive been to Eds worm ranch.I dont think I expected it to be very big before I got there.
    It WAS MUCH LARGER THAN I EXPECTED.
    It encompassed an entire defunct chest type freezer.
     

  3. sheepish

    sheepish Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It seems to me that a ranch implies free-ranging animals.
     
  4. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    According to my dictionary a ranch is an establishment for raising livestock under range conditions or a farm or ranchlike enterprise which raises a single crop or animal.

    Thus, a 2,000 acre farm in Kansas growing only wheat could be called a ranch. If they were to also grow rye, oats and barley, it would technically be more of a farm.

    I consider range conditions to be where many acres are required per animal unit with very limited fencing.

    I remember people being critical of LBJ since he own a very large ranch and only had a relatively small herd of cattle on it. However, that was likely the land's carrying capacity.

    Your name doesn't necessarily have to have either ranch or farm in it. For example, Coleman's Natural Beef if a single product or Coleman's Natural Farm if more than one type of livestock.
     
  5. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In my mind Ranch = animals primarily; Farm = crops primarily.
     
  6. Ken in Maine

    Ken in Maine Well-Known Member

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    It's also a regional mindset as well. I don't know of many ( if any) ranches in the Northeast. Everything here is a farm whether you raise meat cattle... milk cows... vegetables... flowers, strawberries or goats.

    Speaking of goats... What do you call someone who raises goats. Most people up here in Maine call them shepherds. That doesn't seem to fit because that's more sheep related.. I try to work the conversation around to simply saying I raise goats because goat herder ( which I think would be the more proper term) is not well accepted... even by the University Extension folks.
     
  7. Sammy

    Sammy Well-Known Member

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    A Herdsman. :)
     
  8. chris30523

    chris30523 Well-Known Member

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    We don't have ranch's in the south either.They are farms.I think it is because we don't have to have the thousand's of acres to raise livestock that is needed in the west.
     
  9. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You and your husband both make good points about which is which. In the east, you get a, "sure you are." reaction if you call what you do ranching, or your ground a ranch. Don't matter if you opperate several thousand acres. One exception I can think of is a mink ranch. I suppose that's because the furriers call the fur "ranch mink."
    A property name that invokes pleasant pastorial thoughts in peoples minds is better than either ranch or farm. Use words like meadow, sunny, breeze, shady, brook, bubbling, meadow lark. blue bird. or things that would give anyone a pleasing picture in their mind. LMONTYS would make a good preface to the name.
    Happy Trails from Unk on Gobblers Knob.
     
  10. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

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    LMonty,
    I think I agree with your idea for the definitions. BUT, if I were you, I'd use the term that would give the perception of what you want your customers to think of your place. To me farm would be more family farm oriented with a more personal touch. If you will be dealing mostly wholesale, ranch might seem more appropriate, but it all depends on where you are and what local/customers' perceptions of the name might be. Ann
     
  11. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    "One exception I can think of is a mink ranch. I suppose that's because the furriers call the fur "ranch mink." "

    I believe it is called ranch mink to show it was obtained commerically and not as the result of trapping.

    Then there is that house of ill repute in Navada called The Chicken Ranch. They may have some 'chicks' there, but doubtful they are any chickens there now.
     
  12. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I think whether it is a ranch or farm has to do more with the attire. What few ranchers I know wear cowboy boots and big hats. The farmers I know wear caps and work shoes. Then again, ranchers tend to drive very big pickups and the farmers drive regular pickups and have a big farm truck at home. Some ranchers in my area are all hat and no cows. Some farmers are all truck and no crops. So go figure! :)

    PS....Ken, with the dictionary stating "According to my dictionary a ranch is an establishment for raising livestock under range conditions or a farm or ranchlike enterprise which raises a single crop or animal." would I be a tree rancher since the bulk of the acres I own are planted to trees?
     
  13. Tricky Grama

    Tricky Grama Well-Known Member

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    I always thought a ranch was for animals & farm for crops or crops & animals both.

    What I want to know is why some name their place 'such & such FARMS' & others are just 'such & such FARM'?

    Patty
     
  14. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think it's regional. There aren't any ranches around here (mink exception as noted) and I always get a laugh when city people move in and call their four acres a ranch.

    Jennifer
     
  15. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    I agree Jennifer, it must be regional.
    Around here, anything under 500 acres is called a hobby. :)
     
  16. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Same here in Kansas.

    And, if you have 500 acres and cattle, it is still a farm: just not a HOBBY farm.
     
  17. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    That's the way it is here too Terri. :)
     
  18. nodak3

    nodak3 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Out here, if you need a plow (or drill) you farm.
     
  19. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    We are a farm. We do primarily livestock for sale (finisher pigs & piglets). We have a large acreage. Neither of those make us a ranch. When in doubt, check the dictionary.

    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 product is manufactured or cultivated: a cheese farm; a honey farm.
    4. the system, method, or act of collecting revenue by leasing a territory in districts.
    5. a country or district leased for the collection of revenue.
    6. a fixed yearly amount accepted from a person in view of local or district taxes that he or she is authorized to collect.
    7. a tract of land on which an industrial function is carried out, as the drilling or storage of oil or the generation of electricity by solar power.
    8. English History.
    a. the rent or income from leased property.
    b. the condition of being leased at a fixed rent; possession under lease; a lease.
    9. Also called farm team, farm club. Chiefly Baseball. a team in a minor league that is owned by or affiliated with a major-league team, for training or keeping players until ready or needed.
    10. Obsolete. a fixed yearly amount payable in the form of rent, taxes, or the like.

    Ranch:
    1. an establishment maintained for raising livestock under range conditions.
    2. Chiefly Western U.S. and Canada. a large farm used primarily to raise one kind of crop or animal: a mink ranch.
    3. a dude ranch.
    4. the persons employed or living on a ranch.
    5. ranch house.
     
  20. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    You might want to check what the IRS considers a "ranch" vs "farm".
    There are tax differences on each.