Farm managers work in crop or livestock production, or in mixed farming. They are responsible for managing staff, planning production targets, and marketing and selling produce.
If you enjoy working outdoors and want a varied career with lots of challenges, farm management could just be the job for you. You will need excellent business skills, a good head for figures and the ability to get the most out of your team. You'll usually need a driving licence. Most farm managers have some farming experience and a qualification in agriculture.
Farm managers run their own businesses or are employed by owners or tenants to run a farm efficiently and profitably. They may run a whole farm or just part of it, such as a dairy unit.
As a farm manager, you could work on one of three main types of farm - livestock (animals), arable (crops) or mixed (animals and crops). Your work would depend partly on the type of farm, but could include:
- planning how the farm will run over the coming year
- setting budget and production targets
- buying and selling animals or produce
- keeping financial records and records of livestock and/or crops
- recruiting, training and supervising staff
- working with vets to monitor animals for infection and disease
- working with officials on areas like habitat conservation.
On smaller farms, you may do practical farm work, such as looking after livestock, driving tractors and other machinery, and harvesting crops. You could also have responsibility for other activities where the business has diversified, for example there may be a farm shop, horse riding facilities or accommodation for tourists.
- business management skills
- the ability to organise and motivate staff
- the ability to find and develop new activities to keep the farm profitable
- budgeting skills
- computer skills
- good communication skills
- knowledge of legislation and regulations relevant to farming
- the ability to work under pressure
- a willingness to work flexibly.
Average salary (2014):
United Kingdom: £20,000 to £22,000 a year.
Qualifications and training required:
You will need practical farming experience to work as a farm manager. This would normally be gained from working as a supervisor, dairy/arable unit manager or assistant manager. Most farm managers also have a qualification in agriculture. Courses and qualifications are available through agricultural colleges and universities. There is also a Level 4 Certificate in Work-based Agricultural Management.
Once you are working as a farm manager, you could develop your career by studying part-time, for example to top-up up a foundation degree to a degree. You would need to keep up to date with the latest developments in agriculture and farming issues. You could do this by attending short courses, workshops and seminars organised by agricultural colleges, and professional bodies like the NFU and the Institute of Agricultural Management (IAgrM).
Membership of a professional body like the NFU or IAgrM will also give you access to advice, support and networking opportunities.
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