Farm manager (livestock)

Farm manager (livestock)

The farm manager is responsible for running a productive and sustainable livestock business that meets animal welfare and environmental standards.
Also known as agricultural manager, livestock manager, farmer or farm foreman.

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.

Working as a farm manager is both challenging and rewarding. You will need to make decisions to help develop your business while producing high-quality, safe food.

As a farm manager, you will work on a farm that rears animals such as pigs, sheep, poultry, and cattle for meat production or breeding. You could also choose to work on a dairy farm.  

Farm managers protect the natural environment and make sure animals are looked after in the best way possible. They also ensure the farm business remains profitable.  

Farms can range from small family-owned farms to those run by management companies and large country estates. This allows you to choose what farm size you might like to work on.  

Many farm managers have progressed in their careers either by building on-the-job skills and experience or by completing a relevant degree in agriculture.

As a manager, you will also mentor and manage staff and manage business relationships with suppliers, contractors, and advisors to ensure the business runs smoothly and effectively. 

You'll work closely with and plan alongside the farm owner or management consultants. They will 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 
  • Planning for and overseeing animals’ health and welfare needs 
  • Setting targets for livestock production to maximise profitability 
  • Overseeing livestock performance in line with targets 
  • Overseeing the sale and purchase of livestock 
  • Monitoring and overseeing all farm financials including budgets, cash flow, and costs  
  • Ensuring the farm operates to government regulations and legislation 
  • Ensuring financial, staff training, environmental, and farm assurance scheme 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 

You could be appointed as a farm manager 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 who is self-motivated, enthusiastic and committed to making a difference in the industry.  

As a livestock farm manager, you’ll have the following competencies for managing farm operations and staff for maximum productivity and minimal environmental impact. You will:  

  • Use business skills and knowledge to ensure the farm is financially stable 
  • Produce high-quality, welfare friendly, and environmentally friendly products 
  • Manager the farm for today and the future.  
  • Manage the health and safety and biosecurity rules on the farm, including managing staff to support good health and safety  
  • Manage livestock production through successful breeding  
  • Manage animal health and welfare, including managing staff to support high health welfare 
  • Make sure employees follow farm rules relating to animal health and welfare 
  • Manage ​​effluent and fallen stock correctly, in line with legal requirements 
  • Manage the recruitment, training, and development of employees so you can attract and keep good team members 
  • Lead staff to achieve goals 
  • Manage technical operations, including machinery, equipment, vehicles, and structures 
  • Attend knowledge exchange and continuing professional development events and training 
  • Research and implement new farm-based technologies to help make the farm business more productive and profitable

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

Salaries are in the region of £26,000 to £50,000 but may vary depending on experience and location. Many farm managers are also offered a house or housing allowance, as well as a farm vehicle and mobile phone. 

This role is usually a full-time position. 

TIAH's salary information is provided in the form of an annual pay range. The use of a range is because the salary offered can vary depending on applicant experience, age, status (apprenticeships payment is subject to different guidance) and geographical location. Some positions will offer hourly wages which should reflect age-related national minimum wage levels. Follow this link for 2024 hourly rates National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates - GOV.UK.

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 farms.  

You could also consider a position as a farm consultant providing technical support and advice to other farmers. 

A relevant degree is not required but may help you in your application.

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  

BSc Agricultural and Livestock Science  

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 livestock sector would find our Animal Health and WelfareBiosecurityCoaching for Staff Retention, and Foundations in Farm Safety courses useful.

You can find out more about life as a farm manager on a livestock unit by listening to Ben Eagle's Meet the Farmers podcast, episode 168.

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