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Agricultural managers – what do they do?

December 11,2010 by: Dallas Browne

To be able to produce the agricultural needs of the United States population as well as have enough produce for export, the country’s agricultural lands, farms and ranches should be handled by people who are updated with the latest technology for mass production. In order to create improved agricultural production techniques, agricultural managers are now taking control of these lands.

Agricultural managers take responsibility of the everyday activities in ranches, farms and other types of agricultural lands. The duties and responsibilities of an agricultural manager may differ depending on factors such as the size of the farm being handled.

Managers together with other farm workers determine important details related to the agricultural land such as the best time to plant, best point in time to apply fertilizer and when to harvest and sell the products. Managers are also monitoring the constant changes in crop prices. Analysis made through the observation of price-changes is used to design a strategy that would ensure continued financial sustainability of the farm.

Agricultural managers do not usually plant or take part in harvesting; rather, they are more involved with hiring and overseeing farm workers. Among the other common tasks performed by agricultural manager includes coming up with goals, supervising marketing and production, finding out financial standing, managing overall maintenance and deciding on products shipping and storage conditions.

It is now becoming a trend that agricultural managers must complete either an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree to be effective managers of the entire farm operations. There are colleges today that are offering formal programs for farm management. Technical knowledge about the environment, the crops, growing conditions and plants diseases are covered by the programs of agricultural colleges. As managers it is also important for them to have at least some basic knowledge about bookkeeping and accounting. Computer skills are now also necessary since record keeping in farms is now accomplished through computer use. Intelligent decision making, communication skills and problem solving abilities are also important for managers to handle the entire operations effectively. The ability to use tools and machines used in the farms is also a sought after trait for agricultural managers.

The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisals is now offering certification so interested applicants can become Accredited Farm Managers. People who want to be considered for better positions should obtain such certification. This accreditation would require managers a bachelor’s or master’s degree, a couple years experience of managing farms and a passing score for exams which are related with legal, financial and business aspects of farming.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there will be an increase in the employment growth for agricultural managers in the coming years however it will not be a major increase. Other than agricultural managers other farm occupations are expected to decline from 2008 to 2018.

The expected income for agricultural managers varies annually due to the inconsistencies of farm product prices. The good thing is that the government is providing subsidies for farmers to increase the workers income. In 2008 full-time agricultural managers received median weekly pay of $775.

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