Graduate Careers Advice

Graduate Farm Manager Careers

James Thornhill

Farm managers are essential to the successful running of a farm, overseeing all operations during the production process whilst providing leadership and organisation.

They perform a wide range of roles in bring the process to a successful completion including contacting suppliers, selecting seeds for the planting season and acquiring new farm machinery. These managers are the people who keep all the cogs in the farm machine working together.

Farm managers often specialise in livestock, crops or horticulture and can often oversee more than one facility.

The work is split between on-site work and administrative office based tasks in the successful management of the farm.

In this role you must satisfy regulations set by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for safe, high-quality produce farmed in an environmentally sustainable manner.

How much can I earn as a Farm Manager?

Salaries from Farm Managers are dependent on the size of the farm and your experience.

According to data from the Farmers Weekly 2015 pay can careers survey, in association with De Lacy Executive, Farm Managers can expect to earn:

  • Assistant or trainee managers may expect to start on salaries of £20,000 to £22,000.

  • Once the position of manager has been achieved, salaries are in the region of £23,000 to £35,000.

  • With significant experience of more than ten to 15 years, farm managers may earn over £50,000. In senior consultancy or advisory roles pay may reach £70,000.

These figures are intended as a guide only.

What qualifications do I need to be a Farm Manager?

Technical knowledge and previous farming experience are as important in this role as academic qualifications. It has been known for some employers to hire candidates on experience alone.

However, there is a growing requirement for applicants to have a degree or HND/foundation degree in an agriculture related subject like:

·        Agriculture

·        Farm business management

·        Crop management

·        Horticulture

It is possible to take the academic route to MSc or PhD level, but this usually leads to teaching and research positions and not farm management.

What skills do I need to be a Farm Manager?

Farm managers need a number of key skills to succeed:

·        Organisational skills

·        Communication

·        Team work

·        IT skills

·        Technical knowledge of agriculture and the environment

·        Analytical skills

·        Marketing

·        Management skills

·        Ability to work under pressure

·        Knowledge of food production

·        Negotiation skills

A solid understanding of modern farming methods is essential for this role, as well as an understanding of animal welfare and how agriculture impacts the environment.

What experience do I need to get a job in Farm Manager?

It is normal to have obtained a fair amount of work experience before taking on a trainee manager position. It is practical experience that will make you stand out from the crowd.

This experience is usually obtained with a sandwich course, apprenticeship, holiday work or a gap-year placement.

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