A farmer is a person who is engaged in agrarian business by using land. The term farmer usually applies to a person who grows field crops, orchards, vineyards or market gardens with a view to selling to others as food. They may, however, provide raw materials for industrial purposes such as grains for alcoholic beverages, fruit for juices, hides for leather, and wool or flax for yarns and cloth-making. Farmers may also be involved in rearing cattle for meat or milk. A farmer engaged in large scale cattle raising for meat is usually referred to as a rancher or stockman. The term dairy farmer is applied to those engaged milk production. A poultry farmer is one who concentrates on raising chickens, turkeys, domesticatedducks and geese, or is involved in egg production. A person who raises a variety of vegetables for market may be called a truck farmer or market gardener. Special terms apply to those who husband domesticated animals, namely shepherd for sheep farmers and goatherd for goat farmers. Often, a narrow range of crops or produce is sold for money with which the farmer buys everything else in a market. This is a lifeway that was the dominant occupation of the majority of human beings well into the 20th century.
In developed nations, a farmer (as a profession) is usually defined as someone with an ownership interest in crops or livestock, and who provides labour or management in their production. Those who provide only labour but not management, and do not have ownership, are most often called farmhands, or, if they supervise a leased strip of land growing only one crop, as sharecroppers or croppers. In the context of agribusiness, a farmer can be almost anyone - and can legally qualify under agricultural policy for various subsidies, incentives and tax reliefs.
Because of this diversity of terms, and the availability of money for those who "qualify" as farmers, grower is a more neutral word for this lifeway.
The Dutch word for farmer is boer, from which the Boer people of South Africa took their name.