How to become a Farm Manager. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Farm Manager do?
Farm managers are employed by farm owners or tenants to make sure the farm runs efficiently and profitably. They may run a whole farm or just part of it, such as an arable (crops) 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 the running of the farm
- 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.
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, for example the farm may have a farm shop, horse riding facilities or provide accommodation for tourists.
Your working hours would vary depending on the time of year. At busy times you are likely to work long hours, with early morning, evening and weekend work.
You will usually be office-based, but will also spend time outside around the farm in all weather conditions. If you are involved in practical farm work, this will often be physically demanding.
How much does a Farm Manager earn?
- Salaries can range from around £18,000 to over £25,000 a year.
- Experienced managers can earn over £37,000.
Farm managers may be provided with rent-free accommodation and a vehicle.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You will usually need practical farming experience, and will probably start as a supervisor, assistant manager or the manager of a unit, such as dairy or arable.
Most farm managers have a qualification in agriculture. You can do courses at universities and agricultural colleges throughout the UK. Relevant qualifications include:
- BTEC Level 3 Diploma and Higher National Diploma (HND) in Agriculture
- foundation degrees in subjects such as agriculture and agricultural management
- degrees in agricultural subjects.
To search for foundation degrees, HNDs and degrees see the UCAS website. You should check with colleges and universities for entry requirements.
You may be able to get started through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more about Apprenticeships, visit the Apprenticeships website.
You will need a driving licence for most jobs.
Training and Development
Once you are working as a farm manager, you could develop your career by studying part-time for qualifications such as:
- foundation degrees in subjects like agriculture and agricultural management
- degrees in agricultural subjects
- postgraduate courses in agricultural subjects.
You could also work towards NVQ Level 4 in Agricultural Management.
You would need to keep up to date with the latest developments in agriculture. You could do this by attending short courses at colleges of agriculture or studying by distance learning.
Skills and Knowledge
- business management skills
- the ability to organise and motivate staff
- the ability to find and develop new activities to keep the farm profitable
- budgeting and financial record-keeping skills
- computer skills
- good communication skills
- the ability to work under pressure.
You could find work with farm owners and tenants, commercial organisations, universities and research institutions.
You may need to change jobs to gain wider experience and promotion. With experience, you may be able to move into other areas, such as agricultural advisory work for government bodies, consultancy or teaching.