Career Development

What Does a Farm Manager Do?

Find out what a farm manager does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a farm manager.

Farm managers are responsible for overseeing all aspects of a farm’s operations. They may be involved in everything from planting and harvesting crops to caring for livestock, purchasing supplies, and managing employees.

Farm managers often work long hours and weekends as they oversee the day-to-day activities on their farms. They may also travel between multiple farms that they manage at different times of the year.

Farm Manager Job Duties

Farm managers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Monitoring crop conditions, weather patterns, and other factors that could impact crop yields or livestock performance
  • Overseeing employees and providing guidance, training, and feedback to ensure they are performing their jobs effectively
  • Ensuring that all work activities meet relevant safety standards to prevent accidents or injuries
  • Creating budgets and financial plans for the farm based on projected income from sales of crops or livestock, operating costs, and expected government funding or grants
  • Developing strategic plans for the future of the farm based on current demands in the industry and changes in technology
  • Reviewing reports from the accountant to ensure that the farm is complying with government regulations regarding taxes, labor laws, environmental regulations, etc.
  • Overseeing the planting and harvesting of crops, including selecting varieties best suited for local conditions and deciding when to plant and harvest them
  • Managing all aspects of operations including maintenance of facilities and equipment, inventory control, record keeping, and customer service
  • Developing new business opportunities for the farm by identifying potential markets, negotiating contracts with clients, and planning production cycles

Farm Manager Salary & Outlook

Farm manager salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and type of farm. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $112,550 ($54.11/hour)

The employment of farm managers is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Demand for farm managers depends largely on the overall health of the agricultural industry. As demand for food and fiber increases, more farms will need managers to oversee production and ensure that their businesses are profitable. However, productivity gains from technological improvements in farming should limit the need for managers.

Farm Manager Job Requirements

Farm managers typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: A high school diploma is often a minimum requirement for farm managers, but many employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, animal science or a related field. Some of the coursework you can expect to complete in these programs includes animal science, agricultural economics, agricultural business management, agricultural engineering, agricultural education, agricultural production, animal husbandry, animal nutrition, animal reproduction, animal science, genetics, nutrition and physiology, and soil science.

Training & Experience: Many farm managers learn the specific skills and techniques they need for their role while on the job. Training may include learning how to use farm equipment, how to manage livestock and how to manage crops. Training may also include learning how to manage the finances of a farm, how to manage employees and how to manage the day-to-day operations of a farm.

Some farm managers may have previous experience in a related role. For example, a farm laborer may advance to a farm hand, and a farm hand may advance to a farm manager.

Certifications & Licenses: A valid license to operate heavy equipment is often a requirement for farm managers. Some states require individuals to pass an exam to obtain a license, so you should check the requirements in your area before applying for farm manager positions.

Farm Manager Skills

Farm managers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Leadership: As a farm manager, you may be responsible for supervising and delegating tasks to other employees. Effective leadership skills can help you motivate your team and encourage them to work together to achieve common goals. You can also use leadership skills to train new employees and help them develop their own leadership skills.

Communication: Communication is the act of relaying information to others. As a farm manager, you may need to communicate with employees, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders. Effective communication can help you convey information clearly and answer questions. You can also use communication to build trust with others.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow a farm manager to identify potential issues and develop solutions to them. This can include identifying potential hazards, such as a pest infestation, and developing a plan to eliminate them. It can also include identifying potential issues with production, such as a lack of rain, and developing a strategy to overcome them.

Organization: Farm managers often have to manage multiple tasks at once, so organizational skills can be beneficial. You may be responsible for scheduling employees, maintaining records, ordering supplies and more. Having strong organizational skills can help you manage your time and responsibilities effectively.

Time management: Time management is another skill that can be useful for a farm manager to have. This is because you may need to manage multiple tasks at once, including overseeing the work of employees, maintaining records and ensuring that the farm is meeting its production goals. Having strong time management skills can help you stay on top of your responsibilities and ensure that the farm is operating smoothly.

Farm Manager Work Environment

Farm managers typically work long hours, often more than 50 hours per week. They may work early mornings, late nights, weekends, and holidays, especially during planting and harvesting seasons. Farm managers usually work outdoors and are exposed to a variety of weather conditions, including sun, rain, snow, and extreme temperatures. They may be exposed to hazardous materials and equipment, and they may work with dangerous animals. Farm managers must take precautions to protect themselves from injuries, such as wearing protective clothing and using safety equipment.

Farm Manager Trends

Here are three trends influencing how farm managers work. Farm managers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for Agile and Adaptable Leaders

The agricultural industry is changing rapidly, and farmers are increasingly looking for managers who can adapt to these changes. This means that farm managers will need to be agile and adaptable in order to stay ahead of the competition.

To be successful in this environment, farm managers will need to be able to quickly identify new opportunities and make changes to their operations as needed. They will also need to be able to work well with a team and communicate effectively with employees.

A Focus on Sustainability

As society becomes more aware of the importance of sustainability, the agriculture industry is beginning to focus on practices that promote environmental stewardship. This is leading to an increased demand for farm managers who have experience in sustainable farming methods.

Farm managers who are able to utilize sustainable practices will be better positioned to meet the needs of their customers, while also helping to protect the environment. In addition, they may find that they are in high demand from employers who are looking for professionals who can help them achieve their sustainability goals.

More Collaboration Between Farmers and Technologists

There is a growing trend towards collaboration between farmers and technologists in order to improve efficiency and productivity. This trend is being driven by the increasing availability of technology that makes it easier for farmers to collect and analyze data about their crops and livestock.

As a farm manager, you should be aware of this trend and how to take advantage of it. By collaborating with technologists, you can get access to the latest tools and technologies that can help you run your farm more efficiently.

How to Become a Farm Manager

A career as a farm manager can be very rewarding. It offers the opportunity to work outdoors, with animals, and on the land. You’ll also have the chance to help run a business that provides food for people all over the world.

To become a farm manager, you’ll need to have experience in agriculture and farming. This could include working on a farm or ranch, or doing other jobs related to agriculture. You should also have strong leadership skills and be able to manage people and resources effectively.

Related: How to Write a Farm Manager Resume

Advancement Prospects

Farm managers typically start out as farmhands or laborers. With experience, they may be promoted to positions such as foreman, superintendent, or ranch manager. Some farm managers eventually become partners in their farm operation or open their own farm.

Farm managers must have a strong understanding of all aspects of farm management, including crop and livestock production, farm equipment, farm finances, and agricultural laws and regulations. They also must be able to communicate effectively with farm workers, farm owners, and others.

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