Farm manager

A farm manager training by USAid Dairy Project


Farm managers plan and organise the daily operations, resourcing and business management of animal producing farms.

The duties of a farm manager include, but are not limited to:

  • 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

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to farm manager:

farming operations manager
farm managers
agricultural operations manager
agricultural manager

Working conditions

Farmers, ranchers, and farm managers typically work outdoors but also may spend time in an office. Their work is often physically demanding.

Some farmers work primarily with crops. Other farmers and ranchers handle livestock.

Injuries and Illnesses

The work environment for farmers and farm managers can be hazardous. Tractors, tools, and other farm machinery and equipment can cause serious injury, and exposure to substances in pesticides and fertilizers may be harmful. These workers must operate equipment and handle chemicals properly to avoid accidents and safeguard themselves and the environment.

Work Schedules

Most farm managers work full time, and many work more than 40 hours per week. Farm work is often seasonal, and the number of hours worked may change according to the season. Farm managers on crop farms usually work from sunrise to sunset during the planting and harvesting seasons. During the rest of the year, they plan the next season’s crops, market their output, and repair and maintain machinery. Managers of greenhouses, nurseries, or farms that operate in mild or temperate climates may work year round.

On livestock-producing farms and ranches, work goes on throughout the year. Animals must be fed and cared for every day.

On large farms, farmers and farm managers meet with farm supervisors. Managers who oversee several farms may divide their time between traveling to meet farmers and landowners and working in offices to plan farm operations.

Minimum qualifications

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 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.

Prospective farm managers typically work as agricultural workers for several years to gain the knowledge and experience needed to run their own farm. Some gain experience while growing up on a family farm. The amount of experience needed varies with the complexity of the work and the size of the farm. Those with postsecondary education in agriculture may not need additional work experience.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Farm manager is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Farm manager career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to farm manager.

mixed farmer
vineyard manager
vineyard supervisor
crop production manager
vineyard cellar master

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of farm manager. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of farm manager with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

air pollution analyst
mine surveying technician
chemical plant control room operator
department store manager
hospitality entertainment manager

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of farm manager.

  • Environmental policy: Local, national and international policies dealing with the promotion of environmental sustainability and the development of projects which reduce negative environmental impact and improve the state of the environment.
  • Agricultural business management: Understand business principles behind agricultural production and the marketing of its products.
  • Agronomical production principles: The techniques, methods and principles of conventional agronomical production.
  • Pollution prevention: The processes used to prevent pollution: precautions to pollution of the environment, procedures to counter pollution and associated equipment, and possible measures to protect the environment.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of farm manager.

  • Manage production enterprise: Organise and instruct staff, plan production strategies and programmes including sales. Carry out input purchase orders, materials, equipment and manage stocks etc. Awareness of demands of the businesses customers and adjustments accordingly to plans and strategies. Estimate resources and control budget of enterprise applying business economics, production development and project management principles.
  • Manage farm products: Manage the farm products by making contracts with customers and business partners to ensure the optimal production, taking into account the farms production plans and purpose.
  • Supervise hygiene procedures in agricultural settings: Ensure that hygiene procedures in agricultural settings are followed, taking into account the regulations of specific areas of action e.q. livestock, plants, local farm products, etc.
  • Present the farm facilities: Perform customer adapted presentations of the farm organization and farm processes taking under consideration the farm sustainability and local environment.
  • Market farm products: Market the products of the farm. Make sure that the product is ready for marketing and introduce the products to customers by using appropriate marketing methods.
  • Assess the necessity of new farming technologies: Evaluate the development of new technologies and ideas and make decisions as to their use and appropriateness to a given farming situation.
  • Negotiate loan agreements: Negotiate with banking professionals or other parties functioning as lenders in order to negotiate the interest rates and other aspects of the loan contract in order to obtain the most beneficial agreement for the borrower.
  • Manage farm supplies: Manage farm supplies by taking care of the purchase and storing procedures. Select and purchase supplies and equipment such as seeds, livestock feed, fertilisers and farm machinery.
  • Operate farm equipment: Supervise the smooth running of farm equipment which can include high pressure cleaning equipment, heating or air conditioning and monitor the temperature of premises. Make sure tractors and other vehicles are running smoothly. Interpret instructions given by computer programs and report simple operations.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of farm manager. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Pest control in plants: Types and features of pests in plants and crops. Different kinds of pest control methods, activities using conventional or biological methods taking into account the type of plant or crop, environmental and climate conditions and health and safety regulations. Storage and handling of products.
  • Livestock species: Livestock species and relevant genetics.
  • Plant disease control: Types and features of diseases in plants and crops. Different kinds control methods, activities using conventional or biological methods taking into account the type of plant or crop, environmental and climate conditions and health and safety regulations. Storage and handling of products.
  • Livestock: The various types of animals that are bred, held captive and killed for human consumption.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of farm manager. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Use a computer: Utilise computer equipment or digital devices to facilitate quality control, data management, and communication. Follow instructions given by a computer programme, create computer files or documents.
  • Monitor forage grazing plans: Manage the forage plan for grazing following the chosen production system. Determine the required quantity of conserved forages and the grazing plan based on the production systems and available resources.
  • Implement marketing strategies: Implement strategies which aim to promote a specific product or service, using the developed marketing strategies.
  • Manage plans for the storage of organic by-products: Implement methods and procedures for the storage of organic by-products in line with existing legislation and health and safety policies. Monitor the plans implementation and react to potential issues.
  • Maintain farm equipment: Use oil, grease guns, and hand tools to lubricate, adjust, and make minor repairs to farm equipment.
  • Estimate harvest costs: Reasonably estimate harvest equipment needed, provide accurate harvest estimates and work within assigned budgets.
  • Maintain plant soil nutrition: Manage and support overall soil nutrition. Practice sustainable gardening techniques and integrated pest management in gardens both outdoor and indoor.
  • Manage the health and welfare of livestock: Assess the current health status of your livestock. Manage any existing disease or disorder, including the requirements for isolation of livestock. Plan and manage a livestock health and welfare plan including clearly defined targets, consulting with specialists/advisers where appropriate. Work closely with the veterinary surgeon and other specialist consultants/advisers.
  • Handle chemical products for soil and plants: Handle chemical products for soil and plants includes cleaning the equipment used for spreading and spraying, mixing of chemicals, preparing pesticides and herbicides for spraying, preparing fertilisers for spreading.
  • Manage plans for the utilisation of organic by-products: Implement plans for the utilisation of organic by-products. Ensure that plans for the utilisation of organic by-products are in accordance with relevant legislation, codes of practice and cropping policies. Ensure that systems are in place to protect humans and animals from the dangers of working with organic by-products such as slurry gasses. Monitor the utilisation of organic by-products and take appropriate action if problems are identified.
  • Maintain plant health: Manage and support overall plant health. Practice sustainable gardening techniques and integrated pest management in gardens both outdoor and indoor.
  • Create soil and plant improvement programmes: Develop and advise on implementation of soil health and plant nutrition programs.
  • Create crop protection plans: Monitor crops for issues with crop protection. Design integrated control strategies. Assess the consequences of pesticide application. Keep up with developments in biotechnology to help reduce usage of chemicals. Manage pesticide resistance.
  • Implement sales strategies: Carry out the plan to gain competitive advantage on the market by positioning the company’s brand or product and by targeting the right audience to sell this brand or product to.
  • Manage mechanically controlled livestock production environments: Ensure any equipment malfunctions within the mechanically controlled livestock production environment, are dealt with and reported to appropriate person where they are above your responsibility, as soon as possible. Ensure any external factors which might have an impact on the maintenance of the mechanically controlled livestock production environment are dealt with appropriately.
  • Manage livestock: Manage production programmes, birth plans, sales, feed purchase orders, materials, equipment, housing, location and stock management. Manage the destruction of relevant animals in humane manner and in accordance with national legislation. Follow businesses requirements and integration into qualitative research and knowledge transfer.
  • Report pollution incidents: Examine the extent of the damage and consequences when an incident causes pollution, and report it to the relevant institution following pollution reporting procedures.
  • Train employees: Lead and guide employees through a process in which they are taught the necessary skills for the perspective job. Organise activities aimed at introducing the work and systems or improving the performance of individuals and groups in organisational settings.

ISCO group and title

6130 – Mixed crop and animal producers

  1. Farm manager – ESCO
  2. Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Farm Manager Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  4. Featured image: By USAID Pakistan – 3 – First batch of Dairy Project farm manager trainees attending Farm Managers Training by USAId Dairy Project, Public Domain,
Last updated on October 24, 2022

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