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Farm manager

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Summary of occupation

A farm manager is an employee of a farmer who is paid to manage a farm or group of farms. Depending on the type of farm, farm managers may be required to perform a variety of tasks, including deciding on the crops and livestock, planning farming activities, supervising other employees, planting, spraying, harvesting and selling crops, handling all aspects of livestock production, recording all details (including financial) about the farm and planning the strategic direction of the farm.

ANZSCO description: Farm managers undertake farming operations to raise livestock and cultivate crops, fruit, vegetables and other agricultural products.
Alternative names: Farm Overseer, Manager (Farm), Station Manager, Stockman
Specialisations: Breeder, Hydroponics Farm Manager, Permaculturalist
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A farm manager needs:

  • good planning and problem-solving ability
  • to enjoy working outside in all kinds of weather
  • good communication and organisational skills
  • a responsible attitude and to be able to work independently
  • to be comfortable working with animals
  • mechanical aptitude and to be able to work with computers
  • to be able handle isolation and minimal social interaction.
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Working conditions

A farm manager may have to work outside in all kinds of weather conditions and usually starts work early in the morning. They may also work long hours. They need to be safety conscious when working with agricultural machinery.

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Salary details

Some farm managers are self-employed and own their own farm, while others work on pastoral leases or are part of a major supply network. Earnings will depend on the level of demand for their produce, contractual arrangements, scale of operations, as well as expenses associated with running the farm, and weather conditions.

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Tools and technologies

Farm managers need to be proficient with a wide range of farming machinery and hand tools. It is also an advantage if they have the ability to maintain or repair the machinery. Increasingly, farm managers need to be proficient with computers and may be required to use specialised farm management software.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a farm manager you usually need to complete a formal qualification in agriculture, agribusiness, animal science or a related field.

The Diploma of Agriculture is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a degree majoring in agribusiness, agricultural science or animal science.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

You can work as a farm manager without any formal qualifications, however, skills in farm management, crop production or animal husbandry are usually required. You may be able to gain these skills through work experience in a related role.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Related links

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Farmers plan, organise, control, coordinate and perform farming operations in agricultural establishments to grow crops, and breed and raise livestock, and fish and other aquatic life.

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