Crop Manager: Education Requirements and Career Information

Sep 15, 2019

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

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The crop manager supervises every aspect of crop production, from doing manual labor to handling administrative and business duties. Crop managers need on-the-job experience and training, though they may choose to complete an associate or bachelor's degree program to bolster their job expertise.

Essential Information

Crop managers, sometimes referred to as agricultural managers, use their knowledge and skills in crop science and farm management to plant, harvest and market crops. While many managers receive some on-the-job training, they might also look at postsecondary degree programs for academic instruction in agricultural science and agribusiness.

Required Education Associate's or bachelor's degree programs in agricultural fields available but not always required
Other Requirements On-the-job training typically required
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -1% for all farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers
Average Annual Salary (2018)* $79,940 for all farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for a Crop Manager

Technical schools and community colleges offer 2-year associate degree programs in agricultural business, crop science and farm management. These programs include both general education classes in math, English and social sciences, as well as courses in cereal grain production, agricultural accounting and farm machinery. Some programs offer specializations in crop production or agribusiness management. Students may also work on individual projects, such as growing and harvesting crops or marketing produce.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Prospective students may also consider 4-year bachelor's degree programs offered by colleges and universities. In addition to a general education, these programs include advanced courses in ecology of weeds, plant pathology and pest management. Students may have the option to choose a concentration in agronomic business, pest management or crop biotechnology. Courses in business, accounting, finance and management may help future crop producers with business analysis, financial decision-making and inventory procedures.

Career Information for a Crop Manager

Crop managers oversee crop production on small and large farms. Managers assess soil to determine quality and then choose the appropriate preparation methods, including quantity and quality of fertilizers. These professionals may then direct tilling, planting, irrigation and pesticide application.

Throughout the cultivation period, managers monitor weather patterns, use disease prevention measures and counteract adverse weather conditions. Once the crop is mature, managers direct marketing, harvesting and storage. Other duties include inspecting equipment, instituting safety measures and determining financial loss due to weather or pest damage.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers can expect a 1% decline in job opportunities in the decade between 2018 and 2028. These managers earned $79,940 on average in 2018 (www.bls.gov).

Business and Financial Duties

While managers on large farms might specialize in growing and harvesting crops, those on smaller farms may take on additional roles in sales, marketing and business operations. After assessing production and monitoring fluctuating prices, crop managers choose which crops to grow and if the produce should be stored or sold. Other duties include establishing output goals, monitoring production and using the futures markets to hedge financial risks. Some managers may also take on administrative tasks, such as maintaining input costs, keeping records of machinery service and determining crop transportation methods.

Crop managers work a physically demanding job that involves many different tasks, ensuring we get the goods we use on a daily basis. These workers must possess stamina and substantial agricultural knowledge. While experience is most important, an educational background in a relevant field is beneficial to job effectiveness.

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