Job description

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

    • 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, qualities and knowledge

Physical stamina
Analytical
Problem-solving
Decision-making
Numerical
Communication
Leadership
Teamwork
Time management
Organisational
Critical thinking

Working hours and environment

Average working hours

40hweek

Typical schedule

Full Time

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.

Salary

Bottom 10%

$35k

Median

$68k

Top 10%

$140k

Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

High school

DVM / VMD degree

Study time

N/A

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.

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2016 to 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 7%.

-1%

No of new jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2016 and 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.

-8k

Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.

4.7%

Career progression

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.