Farm manager training could bridge productivity gap

An AHDB-led course seeks to address a lack of leadership skills in farming and plug a productivity gap between the UK and other nations.

Identified as one of the core business skills, improving leadership and management will help the industry become more productive, with research showing a correlation between business performance and the level of skills and education.

Currently less than 35 per cent of farmers and growers receive formal management training, yet agricultural businesses may lead and manage a wide variety of people – from contractors, to advisors, to employees.

AHDB Industry Skills Development Manager Tess Howe, said: “There’s a lack of training to increase leadership and management skills in our industry, particularly in the livestock sector, where farmers believe that because they don’t employ many people, they don’t manage people. That’s not the case – working with your feed supplier, your vet, your bank or financial advisor, all takes management and leadership skills.

“What we’re learning from farmers and growers is that an intermediate management training programme is needed, something to help people who have some experience in management or leadership but are not at the stage where they’re making bigger-picture decisions. That’s why we’ve sponsored the effective manager training programme for levy payers and their staff, who receive a £350 discount on the Institute of Leadership Management (ILM) course.”

The four-day course leads to an internationally recognised qualification, the ILM Level 3 Award, building a foundation of leadership capabilities, which give farmers confidence in managing people.

AHDB Beef & Lamb Strategy Director Will Jackson, said: “Working as part of a supply chain farmers need to have the ability to lead and manage people with confidence. To help our industry to develop managers of the future and become more productive, we need to invest in skills.

“I’d encourage farmers to take part in this training opportunity, or support their staff to go on the course to keep employees working in agriculture for the long term and reduce recruitment costs, while increasing productivity.”

The Effective Manager Training Programme costs £200 for levy payers and runs over four days, beginning in October 2019 held at venues in Worcester and Peterborough, until February 2020.

To reserve a place contact the AHDB Knowledge Exchange Events Hub on 01904 771218 or email


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About The Author

John Swire - Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.