While there are a number of education options in the area of farm management, here are some of the common courses which students will take in an associate or bachelor degree program at a college:
• Biology: Students will have the opportunity to learn about the biology of crops and livestock, including its genetic make-up. The objective is to learn about food biology and the environmental conditions they require to grow.
• Chemistry: These courses provide students with an overview of the chemical interaction of food components. These characteristics will determine whether or not a crop or a livestock is appropriate to breed as food source.
• Health and Safety: Students will learn about the health and safety standards of a farm operation. Because farming is an industry that has a high rate of lost time due to injury, therefore it is important for students to understand how they can maintain a safe work environment for themselves, their staff as well as the crops and livestock they manage. They will study best practices as well as government regulations on areas such as pesticide management, machinery maintenance, living and working conditions on the farm for staff and livestock.
• Animal Science: These courses may overlap with veterinarian science as both specializations deal with animals. However, for students studying farm management, their courses may focus more on the diseases affecting the production of livestock as a food source and disease prevention rather than the treatment of injuries.
• Plant and Soil Science: These courses may be an extension of the biology curriculum, focused specifically on plants and the conditions in which they grow. Students may also learn about diseases and preventive measures that they need to take to maintain productivity and profitability within an operation.
• Agricultural Economics: These courses often appear in a four-year program rather than a two-year program. They focus on the supply and demand of agricultural products to the economy as well as how government regulations and industry trends affect overall productivity. These courses may also explore aspects of business management of a farm operation and the factors which impact its profitability.
• Machinery: Students will have the opportunity to learn about the machinery used in a farm operation. These courses tend to be more technical in nature as they deal with the mechanics of the machines as well as maintenance. In some colleges, students may take these courses through the stream of agricultural engineering as they focus more on the design of machine components.
Depending on the program’s specialization, not all schools offer the same types of courses. Students who are pursuing technical path may spend more time on engineering or machine maintenance courses. Others may focus more on plant and animal science if they wish to work on a farm or a commercial farming operation where they have direct contact with crops and livestock.
To determine which specialization is best suited for you, you may want to talk to a faculty advisor of a college to learn more about the specific courses. In addition, because farming is a government subsidized industry, you may be qualified for financial aid if you plan on pursuing studies in this area. To learn more about financial aid options, contact your school counselor or visit the state governments’ websites on the agricultural or education sectors.