What is a Farm, Ranch, or Homestead?

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What is a Farm, Ranch, or Homestead?

I have been asked several times what is the difference between a farm, a ranch and a homestead? So today I am going to try to explain the differences between each of them and then, hopefully explain that none that really matters anyway. Besides there is no sense in putting time and effort into what it is called. All that really matters is that it is home, Right?

First we will look at farms, when I think of farms, I think of lots of rolling fields. Growing things as far as the eye can see. Large farm equipment like combines, plows, things of that sort. I guess that means at least in my head a farm is a place that grows lots of plants, fruits , veggies and things of that sort. Just close your eyes and think about corn fields, or wheat fields swaying in the wind. I bet you would even see a farmer there, and I bet he would be wearing a big floppy straw hat and some overalls. Bear in mind that most of this definition is based on perception.

What is a Ranch?

Second, ranching, ranches are in my opinion places that mainly focus on the raising animals. The main functions of a ranch would be to tend to the care and raising of livestock. Mostly for meat, think cattle, sheep, goats, and that sort of things. When I think of a rancher, I think about cowboys, branding, cattle drives. Close your eyes and think of a gritty cowboy, wrangler jeans, cowboy hat, Justin boots.  That is my stereotypical thoughts on a rancher. Right wrong or indifferent that is what I think.

What is Homesteading?

Finally we get to homesteaders, a homesteader is a person that is using their land to produce the things that they need. Fruit trees, and giant gardens, as well as animals like goats and chickens. To understand what a homesteader looks like, walk over to a mirror, and look into it. Homesteaders look like average folks and thees days more and more people are diving in to the realm of homesteading. A homestead is typically a smaller plot that is managed far more intensively, and the biggest difference is that most homesteaders are not producing the thing for sale but for their own use.

Farm vs Ranch vs Homestead

In conclusion, none of this matters in the least bit, if you want to call your place a ranch then do so and of you want to call your place a farm go right ahead and if you want to call your place a homestead, I am right there with ya. who cares what labels are being put on things. Use what ever makes you happy. Because at the end of the day, if your happy, nothing else matters.

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  1. I absolutely loved your definition! I consider myself a homesteading rancher and I’m sure there are many more of us out there. Your article was delightful

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