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Farm Management Course

An valuable course for the effective farm manager.

The course relates to managing all resources, including; production, staff, physical resources, and natural resources. You learn strategic planning, whole farm planning, and how to prepare a business plan.

This course was developed by a team of experts from Australia and the UK, under the leadership of John Mason, author of three Farm Management books (published by imprints of Simon & Schuster and CSIRO)


There are 8 lessons as follows:

1. Strategic Planning - planning procedures;the policy formulation approach, strategic management approach, initial strategy approach; Farm business structures; Management plans; Financial terminology and the money market; Finding finance; Rural finance sources; Financial terminology and record keeping; Contract law; Elements of a simple contract; Offers; Acceptance; Consideration; Strategic plans; Trusts
2. Business Plans - Farm Planning; Quality management systems; Whole farm planning; Preparing a business plan; Integrated production plans
3. Business Assessment - Business goals; factors involved in business assessment;Considering factors affecting your business; Drawing conclusions
4. Viability Analysis - Assessing profit; Risk analysis and managing risk; Standards; Cost efficiency; Cost of production; Quality and quantity standards; Financial records; The bookkeeping process; End of period accounting; Cash flow; Example of budget; sensitivity analysis
5. Management Strategies - Organising the workplace; Scheduling; Production systems; system variables; Animal production systems; Lot feeding; Cropping systems; Polyculture; Office systems; Computers;Business diversification; Value adding
6. Human Resources - Supervision; Oganisational structures; Leadership; Workplace changes; Interviewing, recruitment and staff induction; Giving instructions; managing human resources; work scheduling; Occupational Health and safety; Duty of care; Protective equipment; Dealing with chemicals; Handling tools and equipment; Safety auditing
7. Physical Resources - Managing equipment, machinery and buildings; Managing physical resources;Engineering efficiency; Animal structures
8. Natural Resources - Regulations and legislation; Land Care programs; Rehabilitation; Trees; Erosion control; Soil degradation; Salinity; Soil acidification: Compaction; Chemical Residues; Water management; Water quality; Irrigation and watering systems


Duration: 100 hours
  • Develop strategic planning methods for an agricultural business.
  • Prepare a Farm Business Plan.
  • Develop methods for assessing the operations of a Farm Business.
  • Analyse the viability of different production enterprises: assessing profits, risk analysis, cost efficiency, quality standards, financial records
  • Develop strategies for managing different farm production enterprises, covering workplace organisation and crop scheduling.
  • Plan the management of human resources in a farm business covering: supervision, types of leadership/managers, orders & instruction, motivating employees, and recruitment
  • Develop methods for managing the physical resources of a farm business including managing equipment, machinery and buildings.
  • Develop methods for managing the natural resources of a farm business, covering topics: regulations & legislation, land care programs, erosion control, soil degradation, salinity, soil acidification, chemical residues, and compaction
Reduce Risk in Farming
Farms, as do all business ventures have associated risks involved. A major part of successful farm management is to foresee potential risks, and develop contingency plans to deal with them, if they do occur. Risk analysis involves identifying possible sources of risk and incorporating any consequences into the planning and management of the enterprise.
Risks come in many shapes and forms in the business of farming including the following:
  • Market risks (i.e. commodity price fluctuations. Selling prices fluctuate, exchange rate varies (important for export sales), terms of trade decline i.e. payments not made until months after sale, demand & supply vary).
  • Financial risks (i.e. fluctuating interest rates. Funds to operate the farm become tight creating liquidity problems, interest rates change, property values change (changing equity), production costs increase i.e. materials supplies go up).
  • Production risks (i.e. any factor that hampers production, such as disease or theft. Produce quality or quantity is affected by something i.e. weather, pests, disease, land degradation, the way in which livestock is managed - over grazing, effects of fertiliser use, pesticide damage, weeds, labour supply problems, harvesting difficulties).
  • Personal risks (i.e. health factors. Something goes wrong in the personal life of the farmer or employees i.e. health, family or social relationships, business succession - new generation taking control of family farm).
  • Management risks (i.e. technological applications. Making decisions based on incorrect or poor information, using less technology than the competition i.e. using more costly techniques to do the same job).
In order to minimise the impact of risk, the farm manager should be looking towards developing a risk management strategy. This should detail the areas identified as posing risk to the business.
Things which are, historically, of a risk nature can be factored into the total management plan. For example, drought in Australia is a relatively common occurrence. Nobody knows precisely when to expect drought yet records can provide statistical evidence to suggest that it is an obvious risk factor.
By compensating for this risk during drought free times, the impact of drought can be alleviated when it does occur.





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Farm Management Course

Study a  range of  topics related to farm management

  • Improve your farm management knowledge and skills.
  • Learn from our expert agriculture tutors.
  • Improve your business and career prospects.
  • Study in your own time at your own pace.

Farming is just as much about management as it is about animal or crop production. Unfortunately in today's world, the ability to produce a good animal or crop is no guarantee for success! Through this course, learn to analyse, diagnose and make decisions related to management of a farm business.

Meet some of our academics

Alison Pearce B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Masters Degree in Ecotourism. P.G.Cert. Ed. (Science). Alison's first job was in 1982 as a stockwoman, working with pigs in Yorkshire. Within a few years she of that she was working for the University of Western Australia as a Research Technician and instructor with their school of Agricultural Science.In 1989 she moved to Melbourne University as Unit Manager and Instructor in Animal Husbandry. By the mid 1990's she moved back to England to work in Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing at Cambridgeshire College of Agriculture. Throughout her career, Alison has developed and delivered courses in veterinary nursing and animal sciences for vocational colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand and Australia. She has built a high level of expertise and an outstanding international reputation as an expert in animal sciences.
Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.
Diana Cole Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.
Marius Erasmus Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South Africa in wildlife management, dairy, beef and poultry farming.

Check out our eBooks

Business OperationsA text book for business students, or a guide book for anyone operating a business. Six chapters: Daily Challenges of Running a Business, Managing People, The Law, Fiance, Product Management and Risk Management.
Farm ManagementThe Farm Management ebook is a valuable piece of equipment for any farming student or current farmer. Improve your farm management skills or learn new skills and techniques. The topics covered within this Farm Management ebook include 1/ Scope and nature of the farm industry, 2/ The farm site, 3/ Production systems, 4/ Managing livestock, 5/ Managing pasture, 6/ Managing crops, 7/ Managing equipment and materials, 8/ Computer applications, 9/ Farm structures and buildings, 10/ Financial management, 11/ Marketing, 12/ Farm planning, 13/ Staff management, 14/ Water management and 15/ Diversification.
Fruit, Vegetables and HerbsThe Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs ebook is ideal for students, professionals and home gardening enthusiasts alike. Fruit, Vegetable and Herbs provides an overview in techniques to produce food in the garden. Topics covered within this course include 1/ Food from the garden, 2/ Deciding what to grow, 3/ Successful growing, 4/ Fruits, 4-1/ Deciduous fruit trees, 4-2/ Citrus fruits, 4-3/ Tropical fruits, 4-4/ Berries, 4-5/ Nuts, 4-6/ Vine crops, 4-7/ Using produce, 5/ Vegetables, 6/ Mushrooms, 7/ Special growing techniques
Profitable FarmingDiscover new ways to make money from your farm and broaden your perspective on the farming industry. A few things in life are certain; change is inevitable and people need to eat. Learn to embrace change as an opportunity and improve your ability to forge a sustainable career in farming.