What is a Farm Manager?

A farm manager is responsible for managing the many aspects of making a farm run smoothly. Keeping abreast of developments in agricultural science is necessary in order to implement best practices.

Farm managers also 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. 

Duties include managing staff, maintaining vendor and client relationships, budgeting, administrative duties, and general farm maintenance scheduling.

What does a Farm Manager do?

A farm manager talking to a fruit farmer outside in the field.

The duties of farm managers will vary depending on the type of farm that employs them.

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, farm managers look after crop storage and the packaging process.

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 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 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. 

This type of farm raises domesticated animals for labor 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. Farm managers are in charge of getting the animals fed, watered, and keeping them healthy. They make sure the barns, pens, and coops where they are kept are in clean and liveable condition. They also oversee all breeding activities. 

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
Collective farming 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
Factory farming, also called intensive farming, 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 as to whether this type of farming is sustainable and ethical. 

Organic Farming
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
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 wards off some pests that are attracted to the tomatoes. 

Vertical Farming
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. 

Greenhouse Farming
Greenhouse 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.

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?

Farm managers will meet with farm owners, discuss problems that arise, and offer solutions and well thought out plans of execution.

Work can be strenuous and tiring, as farm managers tend to work long hours in all kinds of weather conditions. They rarely have days off between the planting and harvesting seasons, and typically work from sunrise to sunset during these times of year.

Farm Managers are also known as:
Farm Foreman Farm Supervisor