A Career as a Farm Manager

Brandon Freitag

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Career Overview

Farmers' duties vary by the type and the size of the farm or ranch.


Crop farmers plan, plant, cultivate, spray, and harvest. They analyze their soil and fertilize it so that it produces better plants. They store, load, transport, and market their crops.


They also set up, inspect, and maintain farm equipment.

On livestock, dairy, and poultry farms, farmers plan, feed, and care for animals. They also may oversee breeding. Modern farmers raise many different kinds of stock. For example, farmers may raise earthworms, shellfish, or bees.


On small farms, farmers do most of the work themselves. Workers may include the farmer and one or two family members or hired employees. On large farms, farmers hire employees to help with the physical work. The largest ones may have 100 or more full-time and seasonal workers. Owners of these large farms may hire farm managers. Farm managers supervise and direct farm and ranch workers. These workers may oversee most activities or focus on a single activity, such as harvesting.

Career skills and Abilities

Communicate

  • Listen to others and ask questions.
  • Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
  • Read and understand work-related materials.
  • Understand spoken information.
  • Understand written information.
  • Write clearly so other people can understand.


Reason and Problem Solve

  • Judge the costs and benefits of a possible action.
  • Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.
  • Understand new information or materials by studying and working with them.
  • Analyze ideas and use logic to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Develop rules that group items in various ways.
  • Combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions.
  • Use reasoning to discover answers to problems.
  • Identify what must be changed to reach goals.
  • Recognize the nature of a problem.
  • Concentrate and not be distracted while performing a task.
  • Recognize when important changes happen or are likely to happen in a system.
  • Follow guidelines to arrange objects or actions in a certain order.
  • Think of new ideas about a topic.
  • Think of original, unusual, or creative ways to solve problems.


Use Math and Science

  • Add, subtract, multiply, and divide quickly and correctly.
  • Use scientific methods to solve problems.


Manage Oneself, People, Time, and Things

  • Manage the time of self and others.
  • Check how well one is learning or doing something.
  • Motivate, develop, and direct people as they work.


Work with People

  • Be aware of others’ reactions and understand the possible causes.
  • Change behavior in relation to others’ actions.
  • Solve problems by bringing others together to discuss differences.
  • Teach others how to do something.


Work with Things

  • Watch gauges, dials, and output to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Inspect and evaluate the quality of products.
  • Operate and control equipment.
  • Analyze needs and requirements when designing products.


Perceive and Visualize

  • Imagine how something will look if it is moved around or its parts are rearranged.
  • Identify a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in distracting material.

Working Conditions

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Usually have a low level of contact with others. However, farm managers may have more contact since they meet with farmers and staff.
  • Are responsible for the work of others.
  • Are responsible for the health and safety of others.
  • Communicate with others by telephone, e-mail, and face-to-face discussions.


Physical Work Conditions

  • Usually spend time throughout the day in trucks, tractors, and similar vehicles and equipment.
  • Often work outdoors. May work indoors when doing recordkeeping.
  • Are often exposed to hot or cold temperatures, depending on the weather.
  • Occasionally are exposed to contaminants, such as pesticides.
  • Sometimes are exposed to sounds and noise levels that are loud or distracting.
  • Sometimes are exposed to hazardous equipment.
  • Sometimes work in bright or dim lighting, depending on the time of day or work site.
  • Sometimes are exposed to hazardous situations. Those who work with livestock have a moderate chance of being bitten. The level of injury usually is low.
  • Often wear gloves, boots, and long-sleeve shirts.


Work Performance

  • Must fully complete and be exact in their work. This is to make sure that the farm is as productive as it can be. Missing small details can cause the farmer to lose money.
  • Repeat the same physical and mental activities.
  • Regularly make decisions that greatly impact farm operations. They usually don't consult others before deciding a course of action.
  • Rarely talk to others before deciding the days' tasks and priorities.
  • Work in a stressful environment in which deadlines and production goals must be met.


Hours/Travel

  • May work every day, especially if caring for livestock.
  • Usually work long hours, especially during planting or harvesting times.
  • May not get away from work, unless they can hire someone to take over their duties.
  • May travel to conferences during winter months to learn new techniques.
  • May work full time or part time.

Wages and Outlook

Wages:Farm income varies greatly depending upon the type and size of farm. For example, vegetable and cotton farms generally produce the highest income. Beef and hog farms generate some of the lowest income. Large farms generally produce more income than smaller farms. However, some small farms that produce specialty crops have high incomes.


Farmers' incomes vary greatly from year to year. The prices of farm products change depending upon weather and other factors. These factors influence the quantity of farm products produced and the demand for those products. Farms that show a large profit in one year may show a loss in the following year.

Many farmers receive payments from the government that supplement their incomes. Some of these price supports are being phased out and may result in lower incomes for these farmers. Thus, many farmers have business activities away from the farm to supplement their income.


Outlook:Demand for this occupation is declining sharply. This is because farms are consolidating and technology allows farmers to produce larger crops. Another reason is that land suitable for farming is expensive.

There are an increasing number of small-scale farmers who are finding success by meeting the demands of specific markets. For example, many small farmers grow foods without pesticides or chemicals because there is a demand for organic food. Other farmers are starting to raise trees or plants for nurseries. Some growth in farming has occurred as people want to purchase their food directly from farmers through community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs.

Related Occupations

  • Agricultural Inspectors
  • Agricultural Scientists
  • Farm and Ranch workers
  • Specialty farmers
  • Animal Breaders

Program of study - Agricultural Business and Management

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Program Overview

Agricultural business and management programs teach people to run businesses that make animal and plant products.

Agricultural business and management programs include topics such as:

  • Agriculture
  • Agricultural specializations
  • Business management, including accounting, finance, and human resources management
  • Agricultural economics
  • Purchasing and marketing
  • Agricultural operations


Concentrations
In agricultural business and management programs, students may be able to specialize in:

  • Farm supplies, retail and wholesaling
  • Agribusiness/agricultural business operations

Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.


Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

  • Agricultural Management
  • Agriculture Science
  • Algebra
  • Animal Science
  • Biology
  • Business Computer Applications
  • Business Management
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • Environmental Science

Typical Course Work

This program typically includes courses in some of the following subjects:

  • Accounting
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Aquaculture
  • Business Management
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Environmental Science
  • Horticulture
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Pesticides, Herbicides, and Fertilizers
  • Physical Sciences
  • Plant and Animal Breeding, Growth, and Development
  • Plant and Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Purchasing
  • Research and Development
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Soil Chemistry
  • Supervision

Schools that Offer my Program of Study

  • University of Central Missouri
  • University of Minnesota Crookston

College Choice!

The University of Central Missouri
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College Info

Size and Location
  • The University of Central Missouri is located in Warrensburg, Missouri.
  • About 12,000 students attend this college

Admission Requirements

  • You need to Apply 3 weeks prior to the semester you want to start on.
  • You need to take the Act.

College Expenses

  • $30 Dollar application fee.
  • Tuition is about $430 a credit
  • The total budget is about $19,722

Financial Aid

  • The deadline for financial aid is April 1st
  • Required forms include FAFSA, CSS Financial Aid Profile, State Financial Aid, School Financial Aid.
  • Possible Scholarships include the Red and Black Scholarship, The Non-Resident Scholarship, and the Choose Red Scholarship.

Housing

  • Dorms are either Co-ed Or Women Only
  • There are also apartments nearby
Activities
  • Newspaper
  • Drama
  • Marching Band
Athletics
  • They have Baseball, Basketball, and Football along with many others
  • All of their Sports are NCAA Division II just like MSU
University of Central Missouri

Informational interview.

I learned during my interview that if you know the right people and go to college you could land a pretty good job right after college just because there is always going to be a demand for anything agricultural. I also learned that it is important that you work in this occupation during or before college just to help with some of the experience aspect of the job and that you're not always going to work the best hours and some days could get very long during the spring and fall months.

Plans to Reach my Goal.

  • Going to college for agriculture
  • Going to get a job during college that has to do with agriculture