Farm manager salaries up 9% reflects skills and responsibilities

Farm managers are earning an average salary of just over £53,000, a figure that justly rewards their multi-tasking skills and growing responsibilities, according to the Institute of Agricultural Management’s (IAgrM) latest survey, ‘Farm Managers in 2014′. Two thirds of managers also receive rent free housing which together with other non-cash benefits is estimated to be worth an average £12,600.

However, despite this average salary figure being up almost 9% since IAgrM’s previous survey in 2012 together with the additional rewards, the profession lacks new blood. Only 14% of farm managers were aged under 40 years, compared with 63% in IAgrM’s first survey in 1969. The fact farm management is an aging profession was further confirmed with 33% having 15 years or less experience in the position compared with literally twice as many in 1997.

The survey which took in the jobs and pay of 100 managers, reported 70% were employed by private individuals or family trusts, whilst the number employed by land management companies fell slightly to 11%. Area farmed continued to increase with 42% responsible for more than 3,000ha compared with just 7% in 1969.

Surprisingly, farm management continues to be an exclusively male occupation. One third of farm mangers were graduates, while the remainder had a diploma or some formal qualification. Despite an increase in business values and the complex nature of their associated management, the occupation continues to be very hands on management style. The survey reported that almost all were involved in day to day organisation, there was a notable increase this year in the total responsibility in most areas, from trading livestock and crops to machinery buying and staff recruitment and dismissal.

“Farm management has undergone a sea change in earnings in the last five years to a salary which nowadays reflects the very skilled position, the whole chain of responsibilities for both legislation/regulation and profitability and the fact it’s a seven days a week job,” says IAgrM’s chairman, Tim Brigstocke.

“However despite the rightful rewards, it is an aging profession. The vast majority of farm managers are between 40 and 59 years, which indicates that the industry needs to attract new managers to cover the loss of those nearing retirement age.”

He adds: “Farm management is a unique and hugely rewarding position for both genders and one which will enable them to progress their careers with the provision of additional skills and knowledge in order to develop the business for which they are responsible and continue to run it as profitable and sustainable.”

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