David Skudder on Understanding the Difference Between a Ranch and a Farm

David Skudder
2 min readDec 22, 2022


If you’re planning on investing in agriculture or land, it’s essential to understand the differences between a ranch and a farm .

Land terms such as “farm” and “ranch” are often used interchangeably in the market. If you’re planning on investing in agriculture or land, it’s essential to understand what these terms mean.

Many people ask what the difference between a ranch and a farm is when buying agricultural land. Knowing the differences and similarities between these two types of land can help you find the perfect property.

Defining a Farm

A farm is a type of land used for agriculture, which means it’s used to produce crops, fuel, and other goods used in the industry. It can be divided into two categories: pasture and cultivable.

Rangeland or pasture land is used for grazing livestock such as horses, pigs, cattle, and sheep. Arable land is utilized for producing crops like wheat, corn, cotton, and rice.

When you think of pasture land used for grazing livestock, you might think of a ranch, but this isn’t the case. All of these are farms, and not every ranch is one.

The Census of Agriculture states that farmland accounts for around 40% of all land in the U.S. There are over two million farms in the country, and the average size of one is over 400 acres.

A farm can be small or large and can vary in size and ownership. Some are owned by large corporations, while independent farmers or families operate others.

Defining a Ranch

A ranch is a type of farm that raises livestock by grazing pasture land or rangeland. It’s commonly used to produce meat, though it can also be used for other purposes. Some operate solely with one animal, while others raise various animals, such as pigs, cows, horses, and sheep.

Ranches are often equipped with luxury homes and various types of crops and wildlife for the animals.

Most people think of a ranch as a vast area filled with grasses and scrubland. However, smaller ranch types can also be found throughout the U.S. These are typically combined with leased public grazing land managed by the Bureau of Land Management or the Forest Service. These individuals are referred to as cowboys, cattlemen, and ranch operators.

Originally published at https://davidskudder.org on December 22, 2022.



David Skudder

David Skudder is an agricultural commodities professional who runs pitchforkfarm.us in Stanton, TN. Read about David at his website, davidskudder.net.