Dairy Manager: Job Description, Duties and Outlook

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a dairy manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and professional designations to find out if this is the career for you.

As a dairy manager, you'll be working in a high-pressure environment, taking care of the production facility, regulating the herd, or running administrative duties. You'll need a college degree, and professional certification may be helpful. Job outlook is a tad unfavorable, so experience and agricultural knowledge are essential to getting work.

Essential Information

Dairy managers supervise employees in charge of dairy production and oversee daily operations. They may also be directly involved with the care of the herds, so a knowledge of animal husbandry may be needed. Many employers seek candidates who hold a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. A voluntary professional designation is available through the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Certification Voluntary professional designation as an Accredited Farm Manager available
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -2% for farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $64,170 for farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Dairy managers are responsible for the maintenance of facilities related to dairy production and the care of the dairy herd. Often, they are in charge of employees who work directly with the raising, feeding and milking of the herd.

Dairy managers work with all kinds of people. They need to be able to communicate their ideas effectively through writing or speaking, and they must be well versed in animal husbandry so that they can manage the health of the herd.

Additionally, dairy managers must demonstrate good leadership as well as dependability. Because they may fill in for subordinates, dairy managers also may have to be flexible in their work schedules.

Job Duties

Dairy managers are mostly involved with the supervision of workers in all aspects of dairy production, which can include preparing appropriate feed, maintaining the equipment for milking, designating good pastures and managing the herd. However, they may also need to perform lower-level job duties, in the case of employees' illnesses or vacation time. They may need to find treatment for sick animals, ease difficult births and designate breeding times for the animals.

Dairy managers also perform clerical and administrative job duties, like drawing up budget plans and maintaining records of day-to-day operations. They may be involved with payroll, personnel evaluations and personnel training. Furthermore, dairy managers may work with their supervisors or coworkers to meet production requirements.

Education

Associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees in dairy management are available. Examples of coursework include dairy herd breeding, dairy herd management, herd health and herd records. In addition to learning about the care of a dairy herd, dairy managers may take coursework in statistics, speech, business and personnel management.

Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 2% decline in employment for all farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). However, job prospects of agricultural managers may be favorable compared to the job prospects of farmers and ranchers. This may be due to the relatively complex job of running day-to-day business operations efficiently. As of May 2015, the BLS reported, farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers as a group earned a median annual salary of $64,170.

Dairy managers must supervise and control all the daily operations of the production, thus they need organization and management skills. Physical stamina and attention to detail are also needed. Jobs in the field are expected to decline by 2% through 2024, but obtaining a degree in dairy management or a related field will increase your knowledge, thereby job prospects too.


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