Barn Manager: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 16, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a barn manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary experience to find out if this is the career for you.

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Barn managers supervise employees and oversee the daily operations of barns in a variety of industries. These positions may be obtained through promotion, requiring little or no education, or may require a bachelor's degree for certain industries or positions. The median annual salary for these types of farm workers is about $68,000, though the number of jobs is expected to decline.

Essential Information

Barn managers facilitate the day-to-day operations of a barn. They also manage the equipment, livestock and sporting animals housed therein. Barn managers aren't required to have degrees in many cases, but a sufficient amount of postsecondary education and training can boost career prospects.

Required Education Varies; some employers require a bachelor's degree in agriculture, equine studies or a related field
Other Requirements 3-5 years of similar work experience
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -1% for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers
Median Salary (2018)* $67,950 for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Barn Manager Job Description

Barns are used for more than just sheltering horses, so the daily tasks of barn managers may vary widely depending on the employment setting. What all barn managers share, though, is the basic function of being the person most responsible the maintenance of buildings and grounds. They also make sure the animals housed in the barn are tended to and the business of the barn is efficiently carried out. Barn managers may be required to work long hours, especially during peak seasons.

Barn Manager Duties

Barn managers may be placed in charge of a variety of operations. Some barn managers are employed by family farms and are responsible for housing conventional livestock such as cows, pigs and horses. Some may be employed by large factory farms, where the setting is much more industrial and the responsibilities more complex. Others may be employed by individual or commercial race horse breeders. And still others may work for universities on experimental farms.

While the job qualifications and daily responsibilities of barn managers vary, some managerial functions are consistent across employment settings. Virtually all barn managers are responsible for hiring, training and firing employees and other human resources duties like scheduling. They also order materials, supplies and animal feed.

Barn Manager Requirements

Many barn managers are able to work their way up from lower-skilled positions, such as stable hand or entry-level farm laborer, by accumulating years of quality work experience. Some barn manager positions require candidates to possess at least a bachelor's degree in a field related to the work before being considered for the job. A horse barn manager employer may require all qualified candidates to have a bachelor's in equine studies or a similar discipline. This may be in addition to three to five years of related work experience.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, bachelor's degree programs in agriculture are offered in every state by land-grant universities. Farm management courses are often included in many agriculture degree programs, and students can often specialize in particular areas.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

The median annual salary earned among farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers, including barn managers, was reported as $67,950 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2018. The BLS also reported that the employment of such managers could decline by as much as 1% from 2018 to 2028, due to the ever-increasing ability of the farming and ranching industries to operate with fewer and fewer workers.

While experience is generally all that's required for entry to this career field, barn managers can complete an agriculture degree program or one that's more specific to a particular industry, such as equine studies, in order to qualify for more positions. Barn managers work in a number of industries, including family farms, factory farms, horse racing and academic and research farms.

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