well, granjero is a literal translation of farmer. So far so good.
Now, you have to look at this with a bit of perspective. Granjero is, somebody who has livestock and produces milk, general dairies, meat, ... That, by old standards, or at least by traditional Spanish standards, is no campensino. That is a wealthy chap.
Campesinos are probably closer to peasants as a meaning. People who live out on the fields, they work their land and mostly somebody else's land (as theirs is either non existent or too small) (note: those specific are called jornaleros as specific term. This mean somebody who works for a "jornal" which is the salary of one day, and sometimes used to name the salary)
Agricultores are those who also live off the land, but somewhat implies a richer status. Somewhat agricultor is an economical term, whereas campesino is a social term. That is probably the biggest difference.
hope it helps
I am also a native US English speaker--and the granddaughter of a farmer.
Not all farmers own their own land, but in general usage in English it means someone who farms, who is active in all phases of the process, not someone who performs a specific task at another's direction. A campesino is (according to RAMOSRAUL above) a laborer, a "peasant".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farmer excerpt: A farmer might own the farmed land or might work as a labourer on land owned by others, but in advanced economies, a farmer is usually a farm owner, while employees of the farm are known as farm workers, or farmhands.
New Oxford American Dictionary, farmer: 1. A person who owns or manages a farm. 2. (historical thing having to do with taxes, not agriculture)
New Oxford American Dictionary, farmhand: A worker on a farm.
Merriam-Webster's Spanish-English dictionary, campesino: peasant, farm worker
Merriam-Webster's Spanish-English dictionary, granjero: farmer
I totally agree with your definition. It means someone who farms, who is active in all phases of the process and not someone who performs a specific task at another's direction. But in common usage it doesn't generally relate to ownership. Many farmers lease or rent land but you would never call them something different because of this.
I'm really interested to find out that campesino has negative connotations! My grandfather was a Mexican ejidatario (I think I'm using that word right)- someone with rights to farm on an ejido, or land that is technically communally owned by his village. He had sole rights to a particular plot of land, and the right to hand it down to his oldest son. He did some work on the land himself but mostly hired other villagers, so by the standard of the village was considered better off than most. On his obituary he is called a campesino, not a granjero. Not sure what this means, but I'd be surprised if he was being outright insulted in his obituary, so maybe the pejorative meaning is contextual/regional?
I was reading an article posted in another discussion describing the differences between Spanish and English and one difference was Spanish is syllabal-timed whereas English is stress-timed. In tbis example it seems like the voice is placing heavy emphasis on/dragging out the "m", almost as if there is a quick pause between the "m" and the "p". Anyone else hearing the same thing? Is this correct/common? I've noticed the same thing in a few other words.
Among Chicanos and Mexicans in the U.S., campesino may be translated as farm worker or farmworker, depending on the context, or particular preference, but not as a peasant. Apparently, Duolingo seems to focus only on the usage in Spain. So don't refer to people in the U.S. who are picking our fruits and vegetables as peasants; you'll have some explaining to do. Btw, I used farmworker and Duolingo told me I missed a space.
That would more likely be "los aldeanos". Villager, and aldeano, are specific to where a person lives. "Campesino" focuses more on how they live.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Native English speaker - US, Southern Appalachian dialect. Other uses of English may vary. Advice about Spanish should be taken with a grain of salt.
I’ve spent months on farms and in farm towns in Central and South America and have not once used campesino or granjero in conversation. I did hear a town dwelling Nicaraguan lawyer refer to himself as a campesino once. A really likable guy, part owner of the little family farm I was living on.
I could probably get along with only one word for farmer. I doubt that living in a state with Latino farm workers or exposure to the works of Mr. Valdez would change that.
As an academic sociologist, I come to the word "peasant" from a very different perspective. Given the angst expressed here and in every other Duo forum where "campesino" appears, I tried to find out whether the Spanish word carries the same baggage. I still haven't reached a definitive conclusion, but here is what I've learned:
The English word "peasant" comes from Latin, by way of French, which also gave Spanish "país." So, a closer Spanish word to "peasant" would actually be "paisano." The word "campesino," of course, relates to "campo," and is both an adjective and a noun. There is no single English word that means the same thing and that undoubtedly accounts for translations like "peasant."
The formal definition of "campesino" refers to people who regularly live and work in "el campo." The sense of the word is that these are folks who work and live off the land. It seems to exclude rural villagers who derive their livelihood from commerce or activities specific to village life. The modern usage, however, seems more inclusive and I think "rural" or "countryside" come close to capturing the idea behind the adjective. For the noun, "field hand," "field workers," and similar terms would make sense. By extension, "farmer" would also work as long as the "farm" isn't solely or primarily a commercial venture (i.e., a factory farm).
In general, I think "campesino" has acquired a lot of negative connotations (much like "peasant" has) but can still have a neutral meaning in modern contexts. If you're still curious, google "campesino" and look at the images along with captions that pop up.