Since L.L. Nunn bought Deep Springs Ranch in 1917, the college has maintained both a cattle herd and an alfalfa farm. Although Deep Springs is not an agricultural college, students do play a large role in the operation of the ranch within the framework of the labor program.

Each seven-week academic term, every student is assigned a labor position, which can vary from washing dishes in the boardinghouse (BH) to delivering calves to cooking meals for the community. Students labor at least twenty hours a week. After a student's time in a position is up, he must submit a list of his preferred assignments for the next term to the student Labor Commissioner (LC), who compiles all the labor preferences and decides the next term's labor assignments. The only required position is BH, which all students must do for at least two terms.