Farm managers are responsible for the smooth, efficient running of farms. The work involves planning budgets, keeping records, managing farm workers, dealing with technical issues, and making decisions about buying and selling.
Also known as
- Agricultural Manager
Video: - Chris: Farm Manager
As a Farm Manager, you will be responsible for the smooth running of the farm, and for all the staff, activities and resources involved in this. You'll meet the needs of, and report to, the Owner(s) of the farm.
One of your main aims is to make a profit - so you will spend a lot of your time planning, and working out budgets. You could also be responsible for marketing the farm's products and making sure products are ready for auctions or markets.
As a Farm Manager, you will have to keep and study financial records. This will help you to make very careful decisions, in agreement with the Owner, about buying and selling things like seeds, crops, livestock, machinery and fertilisers.
Deciding what and when to buy or sell means studying how well the farm is doing and also understanding the market for crops and livestock.
Throughout the year, you will follow your plan and budget closely, to avoid spending too much money and to know when you can buy more machinery or take on extra workers, among other things.
You will need to recruit workers, including temporary or contract workers to help out in very busy times. As a Manager, you are responsible for setting up training programmes, including in health and safety, so workers are able to do their jobs properly and safely. You'll need to plan each worker's duties and working hours.
To become a successful Farm Manager, you will need to have a strong understanding of practical farming, including crop nutrition and how to look after livestock. Increasingly, you'll also need to know about environmental and conservation issues. Your farm may be organic e.g. not using chemical fertilsers.
The Farm Manager has to deal with any technical problems that come up. You will maintain and monitor the quality of the yield, whether that is for livestock or crops. It is also vital that you carefully monitor the latest weather reports, and fully understand the impact certain weather conditions might have - you must protect your crops or livestock.
You will make sure that farm activities meet with government regulations, applying health and safety standards across the farm estate.
Apart from farming, you might also be responsible for other activities, such as running a farm shop or garden centre on the farm, or organising visits and farm holidays.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Farm Manager, you'll need:
- strong knowledge of farming
- financial awareness to plan and keep to budgets.
- IT skills
- strong planning, organisation and decision-making skills
- the ability to get on with people (this is just as important as an interest in farming)
- knowledge of health and safety, and environmental and conservation issues
Depending on the size of the farm and the number of workers, you might have to help out with day-to-day jobs like harvesting crops and driving farm vehicles. This means being willing to do hard physical work and be outside in all types of weather. You are likely to need a full driving licence.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £22,000 - £24,000
- With experience: £26,000 - £32,500
- Senior Farm Managers earn £36,500
Hours of work
Farm Managers usually work 39 hours a week. However, you might need to work long, irregular hours and weekends, especially during lambing, at harvest time and at peak selling times.
Where could I work?
Tenant Farmers, owner-occupiers and commercial organisations employ Farm Managers. Opportunities for Farm Managers occur mainly in rural areas throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).
Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.
Take a look at our General Information Article
GreenJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in green careers:
Entry Routes and Training
To become a Farm Manager, you'll usually need a degree, foundation degree or HND/HNC in agriculture, an agricultural science or a closely-related subject. It can also be possible to enter with subjects such as business management and land/estate management.
An Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship is also a great place to start.
Some Farm Managers have a relevant postgraduate qualification.
Some employers consider people for management posts who either have lower-level qualifications, for example, a BTEC level 3 qualification, or someone perhaps who doesn't have any qualifications - provided they have gained relevant skills and knowledge through practical experience.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
You'll usually need to have gained relevant skills and knowledge through practical farming experience before you become a Farm Manager. This experience could be as a Supervisor or Assistant Farm Manager, for example.
If you would like some training, ACS Distance Education offer a farm management course. This course will allow you to learn how to manage a farm. This includes:
- natural resources
- production levels
- business assessment
- viability analysis
- physical resources
- strategic planning
- human resources
- management strategies
- business plans
Check the website for dates and availability.
Other courses could be available in your area.
A small number of the larger farm and farm consultancy companies run graduate management training schemes.
You could progress to managing several farms. Experienced Farm Managers can move into areas such as agricultural advice consultancy, teaching or technical sales.
Some entrants have relevant farming experience and qualifications which would be really useful for this career.
For entry to a degree in agriculture or agricultural science, the usual minimum requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels, with at least one science subject. Some universities prefer biology and/or chemistry. Other acceptable subjects can include environmental studies, maths, physics and geography.
- GCSEs at grade C/4 and above in your A level subjects. You might need biology and/or chemistry if you are not offering these subjects at A level.
- a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 and above
Equivalent qualifications might be acceptable for entry, such as:
- BTEC level 3 qualifications in agriculture, animal management or land-based technology
- the International Baccalaureate Diploma
Entry requirements vary so please check college/university websites carefully.
To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Some entrants have relevant farming experience and qualifications.
Working as a technician or supervisor in agriculture can lead (usually after part-time study) to entry into management-level posts.
If you don't have the qualifications you need to enter a degree, foundation degree or HND course, you might be able to start one after completing an Access course. You don't usually need any qualifications to start an Access course, although you should check individual course details.
The Scottish Agricultural College, together with the University of Glasgow, offers an MSc/PG Dip in Organic Farming, by distance learning.
Funding for further study is available from the Studley College Trust. Candidates should see the Trust website to check on eligibility.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills for land-based and environmental industries
Address: Lantra House, Stoneleigh Park, Coventry, Warwickshire CV8 2LG
Tel: 02476 696996
Farmers Weekly Interactive
Publisher: Reed Business Information Ltd
National Skills Academy for Food & Drink
Sector Skills Council for the food and drinks industry
Food and drink careers
Studley College Trust
Address: The Old Post Office, Lower Boddington, Daventry, Northants NN11 6YB
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD)
Address: Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Ballymiscaw, Belfast BT4 3SB
Tel: 0300 2007852
Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE)
Address: Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire CV8 2LZ
Tel: 02476 858252
Address: Foundry House, 3 Millsands, Riverside Exchange, Sheffield S3 8NH
Tel: 0845 6003078
Address: Pendeford House, Pendeford Business Park, Wobaston Road, Pendeford, Wolverhampton WV9 5AP
Tel: 0845 7660085
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)
Address: Great Glen House, Leachkin Road, Inverness IV3 8NW
Tel: 01463 725000
Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators (IAgSA)
Address: The Studio @ The Mill, Mill Lane, Little Shrewley, Warwickshire CV35 7HN
Tel: 01926 485543
Farm Office Handbook
Publisher: Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators (IAgSA)
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844
National Farmers Union Cymru (NFU CYMRU) (Welsh Enquiries)
Address: Agriculture House, Royal Welsh Showground, Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, LD2 3TU
Tel: 01982 554200
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society
Address: Royal Welsh Showground, Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, Powys, LD2 3SY
Tel: 01982 553 683
Address: South Plaza, Marlborough Street, Bristol, BS1 3NX
Tel: 0117 314 5000