We explored the risk of lymphoma and its most prevalent subtypes associated with occupational contact with livestock, and whether risk was modified by age at first contact, in 2,348 incident lymphoma cases and 2,462 controls who participated in the EPILYMPH case–control study. A detailed occupational history was collected in cases and controls, including working in a livestock farm, species of livestock, its approximate number and circumstances of contact. For each disease outcome, and each type of livestock, odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated using unconditional logistic regression, adjusting for age, gender, education and center. Lymphoma risk (all subtypes combined) was not increased amongst those exposed to contact with any livestock (OR = 1.0, 95% CI 0.8–1.2). Overall, we did not observe an association between occupational contact with livestock and risk of lymphoma (all types) and B-cell lymphoma. The risk of diffuse large B cell lyphoma (DLBCL) was significantly lower amongst subjects who started occupational contact with any species of livestock before or at age 12 (OR = 0.5, 95% CI 0.2–0.9), but not at older ages. A significant heterogeneity in risk of B cell lymphoma by age at first contact was detected for contact with cattle, poultry and swine. Early occupational contact with livestock might be associated with a decrease in risk of B cell lymphoma.