Farm manager (crops)

Farm manager (crops)

The farm manager is responsible for producing crops successfully in a sustainable farm business that promotes good environmental practice.
Also known as agricultural manager, arable manager, farmer, farm foreman, or crop manager.

This profile highlights the skills and knowledge associated with the role. However, jobs will have varying responsibilities depending on level of the role and the size or type of the business.

A farm manager oversees the planning and production of crops to the highest standard to help make sure the farm is as profitable as possible. 

Arable and horticulture crops include cereals like oats, barley, wheat, and maize, as well as vegetables, salad, or fruit crops. They are produced as food for both humans and animals.  

It’s common for farmers in the UK to have a mix of crops depending on soil type, location, market, and crop compatibility. Combining crops in a crop rotation is considered best practice as it helps maintain soil health and reduce the risk of pests and diseases. 

As a farm manager, you'll have a range of responsibilities, including overseeing the planning, production, harvest, and safe storage of crops, overseeing staff health and safety, and managing recruitment, training, and development. 

You might also look after the financial aspects of the farm business, such as budgeting, buying supplies and equipment, and negotiating costs.  

Farm managers might also need to use farm software and have a good understanding of new farming technology. You might use precision farming strategies to improve soil quality and better predict the amounts of crops it can produce. This type of farming practice has a positive environmental impact and can help reduce waste. For example, you can gather more precise information on soil type and health. This could help you decide on how deep to sow seeds, how to control weeds in a more targeted way, or how to reduce the need for fertiliser and crop protection products.  

You'll work closely with and plan alongside the farm owner or management consultants. You'd also work with different advisers to ensure the farm works efficiently, productively, and to best practice.   

You may need to have your own transport to get to work. 

As a farm manager your responsibilities might include:

  • Managing, protecting, and monitoring the farm’s environmental impact by promoting sustainable practices and biodiversity 
  • Managing and monitoring the risk of pollutants from crop protection products 
  • Following relevant legislation when managing and monitoring soil health and when applying crop protection products 
  • Planning farm operations and setting targets for crop production to maximise profitability 
  • Overseeing the crop performance in line with targets 
  • Overseeing the sales and marketing of crops 
  • Monitoring and overseeing all farm financials, including budgets, cash flow, and costs  
  • Ensuring the farm operates to government regulations and legislation 
  • Ensuring all financial, staff training, environmental, and farm assurance records are accurate and up to date 
  • Recruiting, managing, and developing employees  
  • Overseeing all farm health and safety for employees  
  • Overseeing and maintaining relationships with external contractors, suppliers, and consultants 
  • Ensuring all buildings, equipment, and machinery are in good working order and comply with safety regulations 

To work as a farm manager, you should be:

  • A dynamic and inspiring leader 
  • Able to communicate and listen well to others 
  • Skilled in making decisions and solving problems  
  • Able to hand tasks over to others where appropriate 
  • Organised and able to plan ahead 
  • A creative and strategic thinker 
  • Passionate about the farm business 
  • Willing to learn and try different ideas 
  • Resilient and ready to deal with industry demands and changes 
  • Willing to take instruction and ideas from others, for example, from the farm owner or management consultants 

Candidates can be appointed based on experience. However, a relevant qualification such as an agriculture or farm business management degree could increase your options (see below). 

This role would suit someone self-motivated, enthusiastic, and committed to making a difference to the industry.  

As a farm manager, you’ll have the following competencies for managing farm operations and staff for maximum productivity while supporting the environment.   

You will:  

  • Develop and manage plans for running the farm  
  • Manage effective crop production, evaluating cropping systems and crop types in preparation for planting 
  • Manage crop production to ensure plant health and maximum productivity  
  • Manage successful harvesting and storage of crops after harvest 
  • Manage crop production for a more sustainable business and look after the environment by managing soil carefully 
  • Manage the recruitment, training, and development of employees so you can attract and keep good team members 
  • Lead employees to achieve goals 
  • Lead employees to ensure health and safety and biosecurity procedures are followed 
  • Use business skills and knowledge to ensure the farm is financially stable 
  • Develop and adapt the farm business so it can withstand pressures like price variations 
  • Attend knowledge exchange and continuing professional development events and training 
  • Manage technical operations to include machinery, equipment, vehicles, and structures 
  • Consider newly developed farm-based technologies to make the business more productive and profitable

Download our Farm manager (crops) competency profile to find out more about these competencies and how they map with our Capability Framework.

Salaries are in the region of £30,000 to £53,000 but vary depending on experience, location, and crop type. Many farm managers are also offered a house or housing allowance, a farm vehicle, and a mobile phone. 


This role is usually a full-time position. 

You could progress further by developing your skills and knowledge by managing various farm businesses. Or you could progress to the level of farm director or operations director. There are also opportunities to work as a farm manager on different types of farms. 

You could also consider a position as a farm consultant, providing technical support and advice to other farmers, environmental organisations and companies that produce seed, fertilisers, and crop protection products. 

If you are interested in moving on to an advisory role, such as a farm consultant, you would need to complete training to develop your knowledge of fertilisers and pesticides. 

For more information, go to the BASIS website and FACTS web page

Courses which can help you on this career path include:

Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in Agriculture  

Level 3 Business Studies  

BSc in Agriculture with Farm Business Management  

FdSc Agriculture and Farm Management  

BSc Applied Farm Management  

BSc Agriculture  

BA Business Studies

TIAH Essential Skills

Our online Essential Skills modules can help you develop your skills and knowledge in a range of areas and are a great addition to your CV.

Anyone considering working as a farm manager in the arable or horticulture sector would find our BiosecurityCoaching for Staff Retention, and Foundations in Farm Safety courses helpful.

You can find out more about life as a farm manager (crops) by listening to Ben Eagle's Meet the Farmers podcast, episode 186.

Return to our job profiles page for more exciting roles in farming and growing.