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The management skills of a farm manager management essay

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My position for this assignment is as a farm manager. Farm management deals with the organization & operation of a farm with the objective of maximizing profits from the farm business on a continuing basis. The farm manager needs to adjust his farm organization from year to year to keep abreast of changes in methods, price variability & resources available to him.

Topic 1.  Management skills

As a farm manager I discussed leadership as management skills. Leadership means knowing when to lead and when to allow others to lead. Farm managers are employed by farm owners or tenants to make sure the farm runs efficiently and profitably. They may run a whole farm or just part of it, such as an arable (crops) unit.

As a farm manager, you could work on one of three main types of farm – livestock (animals), arable (crops) or mixed (animals and crops). Your work would depend partly on the type of farm, but could include:

planning the running of the farm

setting budget and production targets

buying and selling animals or produce

keeping financial records and records of livestock and/or crops

Recruiting, training and supervising staff.

Farm managers must know what crops will be profitable during a growing season based on factors such as disease, weather projections and market fluctuations in prices of domestic farm products, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. They then must develop planting and harvesting schedules and supervise farm employees. Farm managers also must know how to apply fertilizer and pesticides to crops, or they must care for animals and lead breeding activities if they manage livestock farms. Farm management training programs teach students how to perform these many critical responsibilities.

A farm leader is persistent in achieving the goal that will benefits others (as well as him- or herself). A farm leader is patient in their persistence; although the leader wants to achieve the goal as quickly as possible, the farm leader will not abandon the effort just because the goal is not achieved immediately. Instead, the leader will explore alternatives — if one strategy did not lead to fulfilling the goal, a leader will look for another strategy.

A farm leader develops their successor; no one will last forever but a person who is committed to the goal that benefits a group, will take steps to assure the group continues to strive for the goal even after the farm leadership has transferred to other people.

Topic 2.  Strategic planning

What are some of the basic questions to be addressed in a strategic plan?

Strategic planning is the formal consideration of an organization’s future course. All strategic planning deals with at least one of three key questions:

“What do we do?”

“For whom do we do it?”

“How do we excel?”

How might a manager facilitate strategic planning?  HINT –Review the decision making process addressed earlier in the semester.

The preparatory phase of a strategic business plan of a farm manager relies on planning. The first phase of a strategic business plan include:

Analysis of the current situation – past year

Business trends analysis

Market analysis

Competitive analysis

Market segmentation


SWOT analysis

Positioning – analyzing perceptions

Sources of information

Marketing plan strategy & objectives – next year

Marketing strategy

Desired market segmentation

Desired marketing-mix

TOWS-based objectives as a result of the SWOT

Position & perceptual gaps

Yearly sales forecast

What are some of the similarities and some of the differences between strategic planning and the decision making process?

Strategic planning is the process that clearly defines business objectives and assesses both the internal and external situation to formulate and implement the strategy, evaluate the progress, and make adjustments as necessary to stay on track. On the other hand decision making can be regarded as an outcome of mental processes (cognitive process) leading to the selection of a course of action among several alternatives. Every decision making process produces a final choice. The output can be an action or an opinion of choice.

Topic 3.  Information management:  address the following questions.

Many of you are involved or will likely be involved in a business.  In one sentence, identify the type of business, such as an agricultural supply firm, or a grain farm, or a feedlot operation, or a food processing plant.

As a farm manager I would like to involve in agricultural supply firm.

What type of market and production information is needed to operate that type of business and where will that information be found?  Is the market and production information likely to be public or private?  How do you know it will be public or private information?  How does the answer to this question relate to the level of competition the business faces? (HINT:  consider and apply relevant economic theory to the business you are considering (characteristics of competition).)

The type of market and production information which is needed to operate aggrictural suppy farm is An agricultural cooperative. It also known as a farmers’ co-op, is a cooperative where farmers pool their resources in certain areas of activity.

A broad typology of agricultural cooperatives distinguishes between agricultural service cooperatives, which provide various services to their individually farming members, and agricultural production cooperatives, where production resources (land, machinery) are pooled and members farm jointly.[1] Agricultural production cooperatives are relatively rare in the world, and known examples are limited to collective farms in former socialist countries and thekibbutzim in Israel. Worker cooperatives provide an example of production cooperatives outside agriculture.

The default meaning of agricultural cooperative in English is usually an agricultural service cooperative, which is the numerically dominant form in the world. There are two primary types of agricultural service cooperatives, supply cooperative and marketing cooperative. Supply cooperatives supply their members with inputs for agricultural production, including seeds, fertilizers, fuel, and machinery services. Marketing cooperatives are established by farmers to undertake transformation, packaging, distribution, and marketing of farm products (both crop and livestock). Farmers also widely rely on credit cooperatives as a source of financing for both working capital and investments.

Where will you find the information; that is, what type of sources willl you use (e.g., government agencies, private firms, your own research)?  What type of data banks will you use?  Be sure to cite appropriate examples of data sources, such as government web sites. The information must be private.

Topic 4. Risk Management

Address the following questions in this part of the memo.

What risks or uncertainties does or will your business face?  Why do you consider them risks or uncertainties?  How did you identify or recognize them?  How do you assess them or measure the amount of risk or uncertainty?  How do you prepare for them?  What is the rationale for your risk management decision?

Consider the ideas on risk management presented in the Kay text.

Risk can be described as the uncertainty or the unknown relating to an action or an activity. For example, the outcome of an action or event could be better than expected or less than expected.

As a farm manger the risk or uncertainties the business face/ identify/ recognize and prepare are:

Production/technical risk

Price/market risk

Financial risk

Legal risk

Personal risk

Availability of labor

Availability of capital

Equipment breakdown

Health of the business owner

Natural disasters such as rain, drought, storms, floods, etc. Power outage following a storm or other natural disaster

Natural event that damages your product, such as e-coli entering the food system

Availability of transportation

Changing government regulations

Business activity or event that violates an environmental regulation

Availability of a market in which to sell our product or service

Topic 5.  Position description and performance review

Farm manager Position description

Farm managers raise animals, tend crops, plan strategies for maximum yield, organise farm administration, work machinery, organise associated businesses and manage staff. They need to have technical and practical competence, coupled with the ability to make sound business decisions.

Farms are generally arable, dairy or livestock, run by management companies or single-owner farmers. Crops range from cereals, oil seed rape and potatoes to vegetables and salad crops. Livestock are usually pigs, cows or sheep.

Farm managers must appreciate the need to satisfy regulations set by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) (http://www.defra.gov.uk) for safe, high-quality produce farmed in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Typical work activities

Farm managers are responsible for planning, organising and managing the activities of a farm to meet the objectives of the owner.

Typical work activities include:

planning finances and production to maintain farm progress against budgeted parameters;

practical activities, e.g., driving tractors, operating machinery, feeding livestock, spraying fields, etc;

marketing the farm’s products;

buying supplies, such as fertiliser and seeds;

arranging the maintenance and repair of farm buildings, machinery and equipment;

planning activities for trainee staff, mentoring and monitoring them;

maintaining and monitoring the quality of yield, whether livestock or arable crops;

Work conditions

An assistant or trainee farm manager can expect to start on around £22,000 (salary data collected Sep 09).

After two years’ training, salaries rise to around £28,000. Experienced farm managers earn in the region of £60,000. Senior posts, including those in a consultancy or advisory role, can pay in excess of £70,000 (salary data collected Sep 09).

Salaries are usually dependent on experience and the size of the farm. Other benefits usually include farm produce, a pension scheme and private health insurance. Continuing professional development (CPD), e.g., in crop management is now available. Farm managers may also have accommodation included as part of their salary package, and/or the use of a vehicle and phone.

Entry requirements

Previous hands-on farming experience and technical knowledge are as important as academic qualifications, and some employers may appoint candidates on the basis of their experience alone. However, a degree is greatly valued and most farm managers hold at least a degree or HND/Foundation degree in agriculture, or a related subject.

In particular, the following subjects may improve your chances:


farm business management;

crop management;


land/estate management;

agricultural engineering.


Lantra: The Sector Skills Council for the Environmental and Land-based Sector (http://www.lantra.co.uk) runs a variety of regional and national courses. These include short courses at all levels, from training on specific kinds of equipment, such as chainsaws, through to assessing and validating NVQs up to level 5 – a trainee assistant farm manager would be working towards NVQ Level 4 in the first instance.

Career development

Most beginners in farm management expect to start as an assistant or by managing an enterprise, such as a pig unit, depending on their interests. After that, experience can progress to more responsibility and management.

Most farms now are focused on a single activity so, in order to gain a broad range of experience, a farm manager may move from one farm to another. Different areas of the country specialise in different types of production as the climate and soil

Farm manager Performance reviews are often used as a tool for evaluating employee raises, potential layoffs, productivity metrics and job security. Therefore, farm manager job performance reviews naturally create stress on the part of the manager reviewing an employee and the employee being assessed. With farm manager review, planning and inclusion of detail, farm managers can create job performance reviews for their employees that foster increased productivity, ensure clarity of goals and simultaneously lower the stress of the review process.

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