Farm managers are either self-employed farmers or are employed to run a farm efficiently and profitably for an owner or tenant. The owner or tenant may be a single individual, a farm estate or a large company.
Farm managers work on one of three main types of farm:
mixed (animals and crops).
In any case, you could be:
working out costs and production targets and planning work for the coming year
recruiting, supervising and training farm workers
keeping records of finances, stock, crops and animals
buying and selling animals and produce, looking after animals and growing crops
arranging the maintenance and repair of farm buildings, walls, hedges, ditches and machinery
ensuring the farm operates within UK and EU legal requirements, such as health and safety and disposal of waste
driving a tractor and using machinery such as a plough, combine harvester or milking machine
boosting farm income through farm shops, bed and breakfast provision and recreation facilities
monitoring the quality of produce and negotiating the price with buyers.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries for suitably qualified farm managers in Scotland for arable/mixed farms are between £25,000 and £50,000 and between £30,000 and £50,000 for livestock farms.
You might get extra income from a bonus scheme. In addition, you may get your accommodation rent-free or at a reduced rate.
You would work from an office on the farm, but also be outside a lot of the time.
When outdoors, you can be working in cold, wet and windy weather and in conditions which can be dirty, muddy and smelly.
Your working hours would normally be long, starting early and including evenings and weekends.
The work can be intense at certain times of year, for example lambing or harvest.
Working with animals and farm machinery can be dangerous.
There are relatively few openings for farm managers and entry is very competitive.
Most entrants have a qualification in agriculture or a related subject. There are qualifications at various levels, including National Certificates (NCs), Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs), Higher National Certificates and Diplomas (HNCs and HNDs) and degrees.
Entry requirements for NCs and SVQs vary between no formal requirements and 4 subjects at National 4 or 5. HNCs and HNDs require 1-2 Highers and degrees require 4-5 Highers. Some degrees may require Maths and 1 or 2 science subjects at Higher.
Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) offer an HND and degree in Rural Business Management.
The majority of direct entrants have a degree, HND or HNC. NC and SVQ qualifications are more likely to allow entry at a junior level, with the possibility of moving up to management at a later stage.
Previous work experience on a farm is useful, and is necessary for entry to some courses.
You usually have to spend several years gaining experience as an assistant farm manager before getting your first job in overall charge.
You need to be fit enough to carry out active work and heavy lifting.
be good at managing your time and work under pressure
organise well and set priorities
plan budgets and keep accounts
work in a team and on your own
keep up to date with new processes and technology in the industry.
You need to have:
good business sense and the ability to see ways to improve profits
good communication and negotiation skills
an interest in the impact of farming on the environment
knowledge or experience of animal husbandry, if managing a livestock farm
good health and stamina.
You would train and gain practical experience on the job.
You would attend short courses and training sessions relevant to your work. Courses are run at a variety of institutions including agricultural colleges. Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) offers continued professional development (CPD) courses.
You can add to your existing qualifications through part time postgraduate study. The SRUC run various postgraduate courses including Agricultural Professional Practice and Organic Farming.
You may have to move to other parts of the country to broaden your experience and gain promotion.
With sufficient experience and qualifications it may be possible to become an agricultural advisor or to go into teaching or research work in a college or university.
It can help to become a member of a professional body, such as the Institute of Agricultural Management or the National Farmers' Union.
You might be able to become self-employed as the tenant or owner of a farm.
There are also opportunities abroad for experienced farm managers in areas of Europe and in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.
Most arable farms are in the east of Scotland. Sheep farming is mainly in the north west and south, while beef farming takes place throughout Scotland but is most common in the south west. Dairy farming is also most common in the south west.
Farm manager vacancies are advertised in trade magazines, and their related websites, including Farmers' Weekly and Farmers Guardian.