Believe it or not, farming in the 21st century is quite different from what you may have seen on television or read in books. Today, farming is more than just a way of life. In fact, it is becoming a profession to which the government devotes a lot of resources due to increasing importance placed on food security, food safety and nutrition. In addition, agriculture creates a major source of income for the US through international exports.
At the very heart of a farm operation is the farm manager. He/she manages the day-to-day operations of a farm, including livestock, crops and staff, depending on the size and specialization of the facility. Are you interested in the farming industry? Are you someone who is contemplating a career in this field?
Is the career path of a farm manager the right one for you?
• Are you someone who prefers on-site learning?
• Do you prefer working outside rather than within the confines of an office?
• Do you like farm animals and crops?
• Are you someone who focuses on getting the job done rather than how much you can accomplish within regular office/store hours?
• Do you prefer rural living rather than city life?
• Are you passionate about environmental sustainability and humane practices of livestock management?
If any of the questions above describes you, then you should look into the career requirements of a farm manager. Formal training isn’t necessarily required for the position of a farm manager. People who grew up on the farm or have started working as a farm hand. However, for students who are interested in this area but haven’t had the practical experience, there are different types of training programs available including:
• Apprenticeships: The objective of apprenticeships is for students to learn practical and employable skills from experienced farmers. State governments promote employment in the agricultural sector often sponsor these programs. The focus of the training varies depending on the government’s areas of priorities, such as sustainable farm These programs are ideal for students who enjoy working with their hands and prefer a practical learning environment.
• Associate Degree/Certificate programs: These are one to two-year programs designed to provide technical training for students who wish to pursue a career as a farm manager in a small farm or a commercial farm operation. During the program, students not only learn the basics of managing a farm, but they are also introduced to some of the equipment used in operations such as dairy farming, chicken farming as well as crop planting. In addition, they will also learn about the principles of occupational hazards and safety standards for a farming operation.
• Bachelor Degree programs: These are four-year programs offered by colleges that specialize in agricultural or food and land sciences. The curriculum is more comprehensive in nature compared to an apprenticeship or an associate degree program. For instance, students may be required to study mathematics, chemistry or biology to gain an understanding of the science behind crops and livestock. However, these programs may include an internship option where students will complement their classroom learning with onsite application of knowledge. Graduates from these programs may pursue a career as a manager of a small farm, or a commercial farming operation, or an agrifood company, or an agriculture equipment manufacturer or even establish their operations.
Regardless of which program you choose, a career as a farm manager can be an exciting path for students who are passionate in this area. Technology advances combined with socio-political trends enable agriculture to make great strides in process and business improvement in order to fulfill domestic as well as global consumption needs.