How to Put Together a Job Description

Tips for an excellent agricultural job description:

  • First, we recommend following all labor law regulations for your state. While we suggest consulting with an attorney and/or accountant to make your employment decisions, Farm Commons (and this page in particular) is a really helpful resource on topics such as:
    • Compensation that includes housing or food, 
    • Classifying workers as 1099 or W-2, 
    • Overtime pay requirements,
    • And more!
  • Clear is kind! Be clear and honest about the job conditions, compensation, and any unique aspects of the job/ranch from the start.
  • Include photos if you can. It’s always great for applicants to be able to visualize the team and what living there might be like.
  • Send it to a colleague (or to get another perspective before posting.


Below is a job description template. Feel free to copy/paste the text into a new document. When you’re done, you’ll want to delete this text, and the writing prompts in each section.

Blue Sky Ranch

Full-Time Summer Ranch Hand Position

Description of Ranch: [What is the name and location of your ranch? What is it like there, in terms of climate, ecology, and culture? What type of ranch is it (dude/guest ranch, cow/calf operation, direct market beef finishing, etc.)? What are the ranch’s values? What are some things that make your ranch stand out from the rest? Why would someone want to work for you?] 

Blue Sky Ranch (link to website or social media here) is located in Idaho’s West-Central Mountains, about an hour south of the ski town of McCall. Over the years we’ve done business in a number of different ways: We direct-market some of our own beef; We’ve raised grass-fed beef for grocers like Whole Foods and the Boise Co-op; We’ve custom-grazed grass-fed yearlings. Although our business model changes depending on the cattle market, our ethos doesn’t.

We’ve always felt that we’re grass farmers, first and foremost. The care we show to the land is reflected in how well our cattle gain weight. Most of our pastures are numbered, and forest management is also a sizable part of how we do business. We maintain an on-ranch sawmill for the production of fenceposts and corral boards. Beyond cows and trees, though, we’re people who cherish our land’s bounty — we know all the best mushroom and huckleberry spots, as well as the grazing honey-holes for our mother cows. Our land is our everything, and we’re happy to teach others about land stewardship values and management.

Overview of Job: [What is the title of the position? What will this person’s general/broad scope responsibilities be (details are next section)? What are some values you might be looking for in a candidate?] 

We are looking for a full-time summer ranch hand to help with irrigating and fencing. We are a cow-calf operation with a herd of about 170 head. We also custom-graze outside cattle in the summer, and run a portion of our in-house herd on a public grazing allotment. Our family and ranch put a high value on land stewardship and low-stress livestock handling. Our ideal candidate has a strong desire to learn about agriculture and a willingness to experience ranching from the ground up. The right person will also have a strong work ethic and the physical ability to do manual labor outdoors for long hours. 

Job Duties Include: [Here are the bullet points of responsibilities you’d ideally hold this person accountable for. Will this person be involved in any activities they might not associate with ranching, but are needed from the ranch (i.e. mowing the headquarters, speaking to meat customers, helping with horseback tours, etc.)? Notice that the word “assisting” can be helpful to identify duties that your candidate doesn’t need to be proficient in just yet.]

  • Overseeing flood irrigation on approximately 600 acres; Coordinating water use with neighbors who share the same water right
  • Repairing and building fence as needed
  • General ranch maintenance like repairing/replacing corral boards, seeding, weed maintenance, salt lick movement, repair/maintenance of irrigation ditches; electric fence maintenance, etc.
  • Working at the corrals on days when the herd is brought in for vaccinations, branding, or doctoring


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