Careers in the Livestock Industry

— Written By and last updated by Elisabeth Purser
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Chart for Livestock CareersDid you know there are many career opportunities available to work with Livestock? I always loved animals growing up, and because of this most people expected I would become a vet. But the great thing about the livestock industry is the incredible diversity in career opportunities. If we follow a cow from the time it is born on the farm until it makes its way to your plate, we can see how many people and jobs are needed in this industry.

A farmer is there to take care of the calf as it grows up on the farm. But in addition to the farmer, there are people that provide necessary services like nutritionists, veterinarians, geneticists, sales reps for supplies like feed, equipment, vaccines, and other health products, and many more. It takes a lot of support to raise livestock.

If the animal is sold we can see that a whole new set of jobs is involved. Transporting animals is a special job and there are people managing livestock auctions and sales. Vets are needed here too to ensure animals are healthy as they are being sold. Cattle graders help sort animals by size and quality to create uniform groups of animals.

If the cow goes to a feedlot to finish growing, more jobs are needed. Managers at a feedlot make sure everything runs smoothly with new animals coming in and sending out animals that are ready. We also need nutritionists and vets for the best animal care here too. Pen riders help keep an eye on every animal to make sure they are well managed. 

Then the cow is processed to make various products, including steak, hamburger, leather, gelatin and many other things. Transportation is again needed for the animal and the products. Processing plants must be inspected by certified inspectors. Butchers must know how to properly cut the meat to give you the best steaks. Some meat can be further processed into value added products such as soups, freezer meals, and sandwich meats. Food scientists and manufactures are responsible for helping create these products.

Then these products are sold, either to a retail establishment like a grocery store or to a restaurant. Again, transportation is needed along with people to manage and work the retail stores and restaurants. 

Along every step of the way, there are numerous support companies that have positions like CEO, sales, marketing, graphic design, quality assurance, research and development, and data analysis to help them run smoothly.

From the farm to your plate, there are lots of people involved in making sure you have a safe and enjoyable final product. If you love animals, you can find a job in the livestock industry, whether you like science and math, art, or business, or if you would rather be hands-on in a field or prefer to work in an office. For more information on exploring careers in the livestock industry, you can reach out to me at