Ranch and Farm Management

Ranch and farm managers run many types of agricultural and livestock operations. Keep reading to find out about what training and education is necessary, in addition to career prospects, work responsibilities and salary data for this field.

Is Ranch and Farm Management for Me?

Career Overview

Ranch and farm management careers require the same level of business acumen as careers in other businesses. Yet the everyday activities of these managers go beyond standard corporate responsibilities, ranging anywhere from fixing machinery to bookkeeping. As a ranch and farm manager, you would provide supervision of daily operations of a ranch or farm, including hiring employees, buying livestock, selling produce and keeping records.

Work Environment

You can find management jobs on many types of ranches and farms. You may be employed as an agricultural manager, or you could specialize in horticultural farming or aquaculture farming. Depending on which type of farm or ranch you're managing, your work schedule could vary. If you work with crops, a lot of your work will be done during the daylight hours through the growing season. If you manage animals, you should expect to work irregular hours year-round.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 19% decline in employment for farm, ranch and other agricultural managers from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). This is due to increasing operational costs, advancements in technology and the consolidation of farms. As of May 2012, ranch and farm managers earned a median salary of $69,300, according to the BLS.

How Do I Work in Ranch and Farm Management?

Education and Training

Though many farmers may receive their training through personal experience or on-the-job training, formal education can be beneficial. Ranch and farm management programs are available as both an individual major or as a concentration within an agricultural business program or agricultural management program. You can earn an associate, bachelor's or master's degree in this field; some certificate programs are also available. You can find these types of programs at junior colleges and universities.

Topics of Study

Coursework usually covers a range of subjects, including capital and investment, bookkeeping, farm administration and livestock marketing. Studies may also include current agricultural trends and government regulations. Some programs include internships.

Certifications

You may pursue voluntary certification through the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) as an Accredited Farm Manager (AFM). To earn the AFM credential, you need to be a member of ASFMRA, pass four agricultural courses and an ethics course, possess four years of relevant experience and have a minimum of a 4-year degree. Additionally, you need to submit a management plan, pay the appropriate fee and pass an exam.

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