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Farm Manager: Employment & Career Info

Farm managers make the decisions related to the financial and practical operation of a farm, making sure that farms are producing enough products for their distributors and that they are operating at maximum profitability. Their decisions are based on weather, disease, crop and stock prices and governmental subsidy programs. Read on to learn more about this managerial position.

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Job Description of a Farm Manager

Farm managers have many responsibilities and not only supervise a farm, but may perform any necessary manual labor as well. Farm managers have to decide which plants and how many crops to lay down every season. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that farm managers will have to make these decisions based on weather projections, disease and fluctuations in the market. Farm managers may have to seek out buyers and sell products for the maximum amount of profit. Managers will create planting and harvesting schedules and oversee the work done by operators and other farm employees farm.

Education Associate's degree in a related field, or strong relevant background
Job Skills Leadership, technology familiarity, analytical ability, and physical fitness
Median Salary (2015)* $64,170 (farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 2% decrease in jobs (farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

Farm managers must have either a strong background in farming or at least an associate's degree in farm management, agricultural business, or animal science. According to the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, potential farm managers can become certified in order to prove their farming skills and leadership abilities. To be eligible for certification an individual must have a bachelor's degree and farm-related experience in business, law and finance. Many farm managers get their education from on-the-job training and will begin their career by working under an experienced farm manager, and learn about important farming topics, including fertilizer, weather patterns, seeds, breeding and feeding.

Skills Required

Managers must have strong leadership skills, and be able to communicate effectively with any staff and coworkers. Computer and technology skills are being increasing important in this field, and having business and analytical abilities are essential for sustaining success. Managers must have an aptitude for using tools and operating machines for when they are called upon to perform manual farm labor.

Career and Economic Outlook

Farm managers can find employment opportunities working for individual farm owners, farming corporations or firms. According to the BLS, job opportunities in this field are expected to decrease 2% from 2014-2024, due to changes in the nature of American farming. The BLS also reported that in May 2015, the median annual salary for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers was $64,170.

Alternate Career Options

Other options in this career field include:

Agricultural and Food Scientist

Normally earning at least a bachelor's degree in a related scientific field, these scientists research crops and farm animals, study the soil or discover new types of food products. In general, the median annual salary for these scientists in 2015 was $62,470, said the BLS, and a 5% increase in job openings was expected between 2014 and 2024.

Agricultural and Food Science Technician

Average employment growth of 5% was predicted by the BLS for this occupation during the 2014-2024 decade. These techs assist agricultural and food scientists by measuring agricultural and food products for analysis. Usually having an associate's degree in animal science or biology, these technicians earned an annual median wage of $36,480, per the BLS in 2015.

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