Textile Farming Jobs
Another type of “crop” that some farms produce is material for textiles. The most common animal raised for these raw products is the sheep, but goats, alpaca, llamas, and rabbits can also be raised for their fur. In addition, cotton, flax, hemp, and other plants are grown in the United States for textile production.
You can read more about cotton production under “regional crops,” since this is such a popular option for farmers in the southern part of the country.
Most textile farms that don’t raise cotton, however, are concerned with raising animals. Sheep are most popular and typically go through the shearing process once per year. Some larger farms shear thousands of sheep every day, usually during the spring so the animal is cool during the summer months and warm for the winter. Some farms pay workers per sheep, which is common if they hire seasonal employees. Others simply pay a per-hour wage or pay workers on salary. The process for other textile-producing animals is similar, though some, such as the angora rabbit, have their fur collected more than once a year.
After collection, no matter what the animal, you may also be involved in grading the product. This is different for every animal, but in general, workers use nationally-accepted guidelines to separate the different types of fur or hair. Farmers may also have the product separated by color, and some farms clean it before selling it to larger companies for processing.
While springtime is the busiest season for a textile farm, they also hire workers during other parts of the year. Like livestock farms that raise animals for meat, textile farms may have fields to produce grain for their animals, which cuts the cost of feed. The animals must be cared for every day, of course, and some farms are also involved with breeding. Breeding is actually a booming business in the textile industry, especially with more exotic animals like alpacas, since better quality fur in certain colors brings in a higher price. Getting a degree in genetics, biology, or a related field can help you land a breeding job or even start your own breeding business.