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Agricultural Manager: Salary and Career Facts

An agricultural manager is responsible for overseeing farm and ranch workers who perform production duties. Learn about the daily tasks an agricultural manager might perform, along with the required education for the job, certification options and salary potential.

What Is an Agricultural Manager?

Agricultural managers can work in a variety of settings, including farms, greenhouses, nurseries, ranches and more. They may work for other farmers, corporations or owners who are off-site. Their primary responsibility is to oversee the daily operations of their establishment. Agricultural managers hire and manage the workers responsible for production. They may oversee the budget, make decisions concerning the storage or transportation of products and ensure that all equipment is properly maintained.

Education Required High school diploma at minimum; associate's or bachelor's degree may be preferred
Training Required Extensive on-the-job experience
Key Responsibilities Supervising agricultural operations, overseeing staff, tracking finances, monitoring equipment maintenance
Projected Job Outlook (2018-2028) 1% decline*
Average Salary (2018) $79,940*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need to Become an Agricultural Manager?

There are some instances in which agricultural managers learn their skills on the job, particularly when they are born and raised on farms. It is now more important that agricultural managers earn associate's or bachelor's degrees in agriculture, horticulture, agricultural economics, fruit science or animal science. Master's degrees are preferable for agricultural managers who would like to advance in their careers.

Be prepared to take courses such as grain marketing, farm machinery, cow risk management, agricultural plant science, animal nutrition, plant physiology, or hog marketing. Accounting and bookkeeping classes will assist you with the financial aspects of your job. Once you have completed your educational training, you will find that working with an experienced farmer will give you the opportunity to apply your educational skills, and to see how a farm is operated.

What Job Duties Will I Have?

As an agricultural manager of a crop farm, your duties might include tilling the land in order to prepare it for planting. You could expect to plant fruit, grain and vegetable seeds, spread fertilizers, and harvest and spray the crops. Packaging and marketing of the harvested crops is also required.

If your job involves managing a dairy or livestock farm, you will have to ensure that your livestock remains healthy, and are fed and well-cared for. Familiarity with the operation and repair of farm machinery and equipment will be necessary. Much of your time may be spent in an office or working on a computer to help facilitate the management of a farm.

Will I Need to Become Certified?

When you have acquired the appropriate agricultural management education, and have attained a number of years of experience, you will be eligible to improve your professional standing by becoming certified. You can apply to the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers for this credential. Before you receive your Accredited Farm Manager certification, you must demonstrate your knowledge by passing classes and examinations on farm management.

What Salary Could I Expect to Earn?

As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average salaries for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers were estimated to be about $79,940 annually as of May 2018. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that farming salaries fluctuated because of weather concerns and the cost of farm equipment and products. Farm sizes were also factors in the amount farming professionals earned.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Agricultural and food science technicians hold similar positions, and require an associate's degree. These technicians work with food or agricultural scientists to examine the quality of various agricultural products. Buyers and purchasing agents are also related, but their profession requires a bachelor's degree. These agents are responsible for procuring services or products for a business to resell.