How to Become a Farm Manager in the US

Farm Manager Career

Farm managers, also known as agricultural managers, superintend the operational activities of farms. They work in establishments that keep, grow or produce livestock, crops and dairy products. The American Farm Bureau estimates that 15 percent of the total U.S. workforce run the nation's food and fiber.

If you want a job in agriculture and to join this exciting industry, then passion, knowledge, and commitment are paramount.

Roles and responsibilities of a farm manager

Farm managers are tasked with scheduling, organizing and executing farm activities. The job description may differ depending on the type of farm but include the following;

  • Planning finances to maintain farm progress
  • Overseeing feeding of livestock, transportation of final products and other farm activities
  • Design marketing strategies for farm products
  • Purchasing farm supplies such as seeds and fertilizers
  • Arranging for repairs and maintenance of farm machinery, buildings and equipment
  • Monitoring the quantity and quality of yield in a farm
  • Ensuring farming activities and animal welfare comply with federal and state regulations
  • Preserving the environment and preserving diversity
  • Keep farm-related records 


Entry Level

$23,333 - $66,627


$24,629 - $67,081

Median Hourly Rate

$10.64 - $19.70

Source: PayScale



Traditionally, growing up in a family that did farming was the way farmers learnt the trade of farming. As the industry diversifies and evolves, academic qualifications are paramount prerequisite for most employers. Farm managers require a degree in agriculture, plant science, crop management, horticulture or other farming-related courses. A degree in other supplementary subjects such as management, business or agricultural engineering increases your chance of employment.


A farm manager's experience is just as critical as their credentials. Most employers still regard experience and on-the-job training as a paramount requirement. One might be required to undergo further training upon employment, especially for highly-specialized type of farming such as hydroponics.

Key skills for farm managers


Farm managers may be called upon to attend to urgent situations and need to be able to change strategy within a short period. For example, some crops might start rotting during harvest, and a farm manager needs to reschedule work processes to avert potential losses.

Ability to enterprise

The tasks of a farm manager involve initiating and carrying out projects. One must be able to lead people, make decisions and take business risks.

Analytical skills

While the job involves following a set of routines and procedures, a farm manager must be able to analyze information, data and options to come up with a clear strategy.


Success as a farm manager is dependent on one's ability to give instructions, receive feedback and synchronize what is on the ground and the farm's strategy.

Other requirements for a farm manager include initiative, good communication skills and technical knowledge on farming, related machinery and the environment

Career prospects

Working as a farm manager is a high competitive career, and only the best get and keep jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 19 percent decline in the career between 2012 and 2022. Pursuing further education in agriculture propels you to a promotion to an executive position in big farms, consultancy, research or self-employment. BLS estimates that about 73 percent of farm managers were self-employed by 2012.


Farm managers are right at the heart of feeding the ever growing population in and out of the United States. If you consider pursuing this career path, passion in farming and commitment are a must for success and survival in the industry.