What is a Farm Manager?

A farm manager is responsible for the management and general maintenance of a farm. On a crop farm, a farm manager will supervise the fertilizing, planting, spraying, cultivating and harvesting procedures of crops. On a livestock farm, he or she will supervise the general care of the animals and be diligent in the control of illnesses.

What does a Farm Manager do?

A farm manager is responsible for the management and general maintenance of a farm.

There are many types of farms that a farm manager might be in charge of running. The four main types of farms include: 

Crop farms -
This type of farm specializes in growing cultivated plants that are mainly harvested for food, clothing and fuel. The most common crops include grain, cotton, fruit, and vegetables. A farm manager that works on this kind of farm is responsible for tilling, planting, fertilizing, spraying, cultivating, and harvesting crops. After the harvest, the farm manager will make sure the crops are properly stored and packaged for purchase. 

Horticulture -
Horticulture is defined as the branch of agriculture that deals with the art, science, and business of plant cultivation. A farm manager that works on this kind of farm oversees the production of ornamental plants and nursery products such as flowers, shrubbery, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and herbs, to name a few. The difference between a horticultural crop and an agronomic crop is still not clearly defined though there are a few major differences. Agronomic crops are usually harvested for animals and humans and often go through several processes before consumption. For example, a corn crop can create cow feed or high fructose corn syrup. A horticultural crop is usually harvested fresh for human consumption with crops like herbs, fruit, or vegetables.

Aquaculture -
Aquaculture farmers raise organisms like fish, crustaceans, molluscs, and aquatic plants. This could be in marine, brackish, or fresh water. These farm managers help to stock, feed and raise these types of aquatic life to be sold for consumption or for recreational fishing. 

Livestock -
This type of farm raises domesticated animals for labour purposes or to produce commodities such as fibre and food. Some farms may specialize in one or multiple kinds of livestock. Some of the more common livestock farms include cows, chickens, sheep, pigs, goats, and horses. The farm managers are in charge of getting the animals fed and watered, and also keeping them healthy. They need to make sure the barns, pens, and coops where they are kept, are in clean and liveable condition. They also oversee all breeding activities. 

Regardless of the type of farm manager, they will need to be able to sell the farm's produce to a food distributor, as well as market the product(s) and keep income coming in steadily for the farm. This requires some marketing and business knowledge. 

The types of duties of a farm manager also vary according to the type of farming that is taking place. Some of these farming techniques include: 

  • Collective farming, which involves various types of agricultural production taking place within the same property. Independent farms engage jointly with farming activities. It is also known as communal farming. 

  • Factory farming is also called intensive farming and is the practice of raising livestock such as cattle, poultry, and fish at higher densities than more traditional forms of agriculture. The purpose is to produce the largest amount of meat, milk, or eggs possible, often pushing animals to their limits. This includes using chemicals and hormones to increase production. There are many conflicting thoughts surrounding this kind of farming, as to whether it is sustainable or ethical. 

  • Organic farming is on the opposite side of factory farming. It relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control. While there are many definitions of what it means to be “organic,” the idea is that food and animals are grown and raised in the most natural and ethical way possible. 

  • Multi-crop farming is the practice of growing more than one type of crop in the same space during a growing season. You can see this on a much smaller scale on small properties, in the form of vegetable gardens. There is some strategy behind this kind of farming. For example, planting marigolds beside tomatoes ward off some pests that are attracted to the tomatoes. 

  • Vertical farming is a relatively new form of farming that entails growing plant life within a skyscraper greenhouse or on vertical surfaces. This type of farming takes up less land as the plants take up space vertically rather than horizontally. 

  • Green House Farming uses greenhouses to cultivate plants in an enclosed space. This allows for greater control over the environment where plants are grown. The greenhouses capture natural sunlight and store the heat within the structure to keep more delicate plant life alive. This closed environment has its own unique management requirements compared to outdoor crops. 

Farm managers make many managerial decisions and are constantly taking production and income into account when making these decisions. They have to determine the best time to plant crops, taking into account the time of year, climate, and weather. They have to be prepared for crops that may fail by planning ahead of time so that another crop can make up for any loss of income. 

As farms and the methods employed on each become more complex, many farm managers use computers to keep track of the financial and inventory records. They use computer databases to manage breeding or production within the farm.

Are you suited to be a farm manager?

Farm managers have distinct personalities. They tend to be enterprising individuals, which means they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic. They are dominant, persuasive, and motivational. Some of them are also realistic, meaning they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty.

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What is the workplace of a Farm Manager like?

The work of a farm manager can be strenuous and tiring, as they have to work long hours in all kinds of weather conditions. They rarely have days off between the planting and harvesting seasons, and usually work from sunrise to sunset during these seasons. On large farms, a farm manager will spend time meeting with farm owners, discussing any problems that arise, and offering solutions and well thought out plans of execution.

While work on the farm can at times be very tiring and stressful, it also offers a satisfying lifestyle, where a farm manager is able to work outdoors in nature and see the fruits of his labour.

Farm Managers are also known as:
Farm Foreman Farm Supervisor