Career Spotlight: Livestock Industry Jobs

Livestock Industry Jobs | Of The West

Determining what career you want to pursue can be so. tough. We have all been there! Researching different avenues, qualifications, and job duties can be time-consuming, so we are here to help. If you know you want a job in the livestock industry but aren’t too sure where you’d fit in, then keep reading! We are breaking down ten different jobs in the livestock industry, to help guide you into your future profession!

Cattle Buyer

A cattle buyer’s main responsibility is to buy and sell cattle for an individual or company. Cattle buyers must have a good working knowledge of the cattle market, livestock auctions, cattle health characteristics, and livestock transportation. A cattle buyer usually needs a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in animal science, ag business, marketing, or other related fields.

Livestock Producer

A livestock producer raises livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, and more) in a safe and ethical manner, for the purpose of producing food, wool, or other animal bi-products. Livestock producers must have knowledge of animal welfare, how to care for the land, and be up-to-date on happenings in the livestock market. Formal education is not required; however, industry knowledge and experience are recommended.

Brand Inspector

A brand inspector is someone who checks brands on livestock, determines ownership, and inspects certificates for legal sale, transport, and slaughter. These professionals must have knowledge and experience working with livestock and be able to determine the brand’s ownership. Brand Inspectors are employed by each state in the west where “brand laws” exist. Most brand inspector positions do not require formal education.


The job of a cowboy is probably one of the most well-known jobs in the livestock industry. Cowboys work on ranches, and spend the majority of their days on horseback. Cowboys are responsible for caring for cattle, moving them from place to place, and ensuring they have access to feed and water. A cowboy’s skills include riding, calving, feeding, fixing fences, roping, hauling, loading, and unloading livestock.

Ranch Hand

A ranch hand is someone who works on a ranch, and is responsible for a variety of tasks. Ranch hands can often be found tending to livestock, farming, fixing fences, welding, irrigating, or fixing broken equipment. Like cowboys, ranch hands also spend time horseback. Ranch hands do not require formal education; however, many have an Associate’s Degree in an animal science-related field of study. Instead of an Associate’s Degree, some ranch hands have trade certificates for skills such as welding or as a diesel mechanic.

Pen Rider

A pen rider is someone who works on a feedlot (also known as a feedyard, grow yard, or backgrounding operation). Pen riders ride through pens of cattle daily with the purpose of identifying any sick animals. Pen riders sort sick animals from the herd, and take them to an area to be doctored, where they are then isolated from the rest of the herd. A pen rider is also responsible for receiving new cattle to the feedyard (incoming cattle), as well as sorting and loading cattle that are leaving the feedyard (outgoing cattle). Pen riders must be well versed in animal health, including signs of sickness, how to calmly and quietly handle animals, and must be comfortable on horseback.

Feedyard Manager

A feedyard manager is someone who oversees the daily operations and activities of a feedyard to meet production standards. This includes cattle health, feeding, milling, and the maintenance of the feedyard. A feedyard manager doesn’t always require formal education but they must have knowledge of the cattle industry and cattle health.

Cattle Truck Driver

A cattle truck driver’s main responsibility is to transport cattle from one location to another safely abiding by all livestock transportation laws. These professionals must possess knowledge surrounding how to load and unload cattle. To become a cattle truck driver you must obtain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL).

Livestock Association Employee

Livestock associations have multiple positions within their organization. These positions include a CEO, marketing specialist, accountant, membership coordinator, or field representative, just to name a few. The main responsibility of any position within a livestock association is to provide services, programs, and knowledge to enhance its membership. Each position requires a certain amount of knowledge about the livestock industry and the position they serve. Education level varies based on position but most will require at least a bachelor’s degree. 

Ranch Administrator

A ranch administrator is a professional that is responsible for bookkeeping, account management, scheduling deliveries or transports, and on occasion, hiring. Ranch administrators must have a working knowledge of ranch operations. Ranch administrator jobs typically do not require a formal education.

Now you know exactly what you want to do, right?! Regardless of if you know your future career path or not, you can find livestock industry jobs like the ones above and so many more on Of The West!

Make sure to create your Job Seeker profile and add your updated resume so employers can find you in our Resume Database. Need help making sure your resume is in tip-top shape? We have you covered. Visit our Five Tips for Creating a Standout Resume!

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