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Agricultural manager: job description

Agricultural manager: job description

Agricultural managers are responsible for the daily planning, organisation, supervision and administration of activities on farm estates.
Most farms specialise in one or two areas such as crop production or dairy cattle, so it may be necessary to change jobs regularly to gain a range of experience.

What does an agricultural manager do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Agricultural managers enjoy their managerial responsibilities, the chance to work directly with the land and see visible results for their efforts. Key responsibilities include:

  • forward planning
  • making policy decisions
  • budgeting and maintaining accurate financial records
  • organising sales and purchases of livestock, farm equipment, crops and agricultural products
  • handling paperwork and keeping administrative records
  • recruiting, training/instructing and supervising farm workers
  • making sure that work progresses satisfactorily
  • ensuring compliance with government regulations and health and safety standards
  • keeping an up-to-date knowledge of pests and diseases
  • ensuring that the farm is profitable and meets projected financial targets
  • organising maintenance/repair of farm property, equipment and machinery
  • advertising and marketing farm products

Variations in workloads relate to seasonal demands – some unsocial hours may be necessary during busy periods (eg during harvesting or lambing) and managers will be expected to deal with emergencies.

Typical employers of agricultural managers

  • Large farm estates
  • Research institutes
  • Agricultural colleges
  • Farm management consultancy firms
  • Smaller farms
  • Food producing companies
  • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

Vacancies are advertised by specialist recruitment agencies, in local/national newspapers and trade publications including Farmers' Weekly, Farmers Guardian and The Scottish Farmer. There are regular openings for overseas work, although substantial relevant experience may be necessary and many vacancies are offered on a temporary basis.

Qualifications and training required

Most agricultural managers possess degree qualifications in business, management, agriculture, horticulture, land or estate management or crop/plant science. However, many employers regard practical skills and experience as being equally as important as academic qualifications.

Key skills for agricultural managers

  • Initiative
  • Flexibility
  • Good communication
  • Analytical skills
  • IT skills
  • Technical knowledge of the environment
  • Marketing and sales skills
  • Teamwork
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