Farm managers plan, organise, supervise and administer daily activities on farm estates. This can include anything from purchasing livestock to buying farm equipment as well as organising sales of agricultural products. They are also in charge of the farm’s financial and marketing activities.
Duties and responsibilities
- Oversee the daily operations of farms, ranches, nurseries or aquacultural outfits
- Ensure the farm has enough inventory of livestock, grain and equipment
- Direct crop planning, planting, fertilising, harvesting and spraying
- Supervise the breeding or raising of cattle or poultry and ensure it meets industry practices
- Assess the quality of all materials, machinery and other important products
- Analyse the soil to determine quality or issues that would require fertiliser to maximise output
- Plan and monitor crop activities, as well as external factors like weather conditions
- Keep accounts of the farm’s financial situation and maintain up-to-date records
- Perform regular inspections of the land, equipment, livestock and other areas of the farm
- Evaluate livestock regularly to ensure they are well-fed, healthy or correctly conserved
- Negotiate sales with buyers regarding land, machinery and supply transactions
- Establish a marketing plan to grow more sales for the farming operation
- Buy and sell futures contracts on the open market in advance of future sales to minimise risk or maximise profits
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Varying hours depending on season
A farm manager can expect to work long hours, but it is more pronounced during planting and harvesting times, which can last a few months. A farm manager will spend most of their time on the field, cultivating the land and ensuring that operations are running smoothly. They will hardly be confined to an office environment, except perhaps sometimes in the office of a ranch.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
No formal educational requirements
Although most farm managers typically only hold a high school diploma, a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree in agriculture, business administration or a related field can boost your job prospects.
Certification can further make you an attractive candidate to employers. The Accredited Farm Manager (AFM) credential, as offered by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA), is particularly prevalent within the industry.
When starting out in this industry, you will likely work intimately in the field. After that, however, you will be an attractive employee because of your education and experience. The main difficulty is advancing beyond farm manager, particularly if you are employed by a family-owned business. That said, you can always tap other areas of the sector by searching for employment opportunities in corporate-owned farms, white-collar jobs at large firms or perhaps even a position with the government.