Is dairy farming really one of the worst jobs in America?

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No one ever said that being a dairy farmer was easy, but according to a new job rankings report from, it’s one of the worst jobs in the country.

Ranked No. 195 of 200, dairy farming sits firmly among the worst jobs in America.

“A dairy farmer provides a necessary service to food consumers,” the report said. “But the work is especially challenging. Larger farms streamline production, which forces smaller farms out of business and results in an anticipated 8% decline in the profession by 2020.”

Read the report here.

This year, dairy farming came in better than newspaper reporters, lumberjacks, enlisted military personnel, actors and oil rig workers, which is a step up from CareerCast’s 2012 report which ranked dairy farming no. 199 of 200. 

Dairy fans spoke up on the CareerCast web site, defending dairy farmers and their way of life.

“Better farming and working with animals than dealing with drones working in an office, hustling coffee and paper clips to the upper management, having "a case of the Mondays." At least animals can't talk back to you,” one person commented on the CareerCast website.  

“I love my local farmers and support them as much as possible! I hope no one is discouraged from this lifestyle, because as far as I'm concerned, it's a noble pursuit,” another reply said.

There’s no doubt that dairy farming has its risks both physically and financially. But for producers like Pennsylvania dairy farmer Mary Lou King, recently named the nation’s “Unstoppable Mom,” each day brings its own rewards, according to a report from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.    

“To me, that is the reward,” King said. “I still get so excited when a cow is calving and I’ve been in the barn since I was practically four. I have always loved cows. It’s just very personal to me. It’s our lifestyle and my kids love it. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

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April, 24, 2013 at 04:24 PM

I think what makes dairy farming so tough is start up costs for someone wanting to get in or the fact profitability is extremely low.

Farmer Mom    
Olar, SC  |  April, 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Agree! We love the lifestyle, but barely being able to pay the bills is stressful!

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