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Be an effective farm manager - learn the strategies and planning skills to manage a farm.

This valuable course will teach you about the management of of all farm resources, including:

  • Production.
  • Staff.
  • Physical resources.
  • Natural resources.

Study the essentials for managing a farm:

  • Learn strategic planning.
  • Understand the elements involved with whole farm planning.
  • Learn 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).

Course Duration: 100 hours.

Start Date: Start at any time - study at a pace that suits you, and with full tutor support for the duration of your studies.

Lessons: The course comprises 8 lessons as outlined, below.

Lesson 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.

Lesson 2. Business Plans
Farm Planning; Quality management systems; Whole farm planning; Preparing a business plan; Integrated production plans.

Lesson 3. Business Assessment
Business goals; factors involved in business assessment;Considering factors affecting your business; Drawing conclusions.

Lesson 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.

Lesson 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.

Lesson 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.

Lesson 7. Physical Resources
Managing equipment, machinery and buildings; Managing physical resources;Engineering efficiency; Animal structures.

Lesson 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.


  • 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.

You can start the Farm Management course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.

Each lesson includes set tasks, and is completed with an assignment which the student submits to their course tutor.  The tutor will mark the assignment and return this to the student with comments and suggestions for further reading.


  • Quality - our courses are developed and tutored by experienced professionals, with real world experience.
  • Relevant - our courses are relevant to today's world, with teaching that you can apply to real life situations.
  • Independent - ACS were established in 1979 and are an independent distance learning school, meaning we reamain fully focused on the development and teaching of our students.
  • Flexible - our courses can be started at any time and studied at your own pace (we do not impose time limitations), and therefore fitted around your existing commitments.
  • Choice - other than offering a wide range of courses in a multitude of disciplines, we provide the options of either online studies or eLearning - you choose the option which best suits you, so you can determine where and when you study.

One of our students, upon completion of one of our agriculture courses, summed up our approach perfectly:
"This course allowed me the freedom to work within the industry and learn at the same time. I learnt a lot of new and diverse calf rearing options that have now better prepared me for the 'real world' of calf rearing and my new role within the dairy industry."

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!

Study Farm Management with ACS, you will:

  • Learn to analyse, diagnose and make important decisions relating to the management of a farm business.

To enrol, simply go the the enrolment box at the top right-hand side of this page.  If you have any QUESTIONS or need some help in choosing the right course for you, please get in touch with our specialist agriculture tutors using our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE, they will be more than happy to help you.

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.

To enrol, simply go the the enrolment box at the top right-hand side of this page.  If you have any QUESTIONS or need some help in choosing the right course for you, please get in touch with our specialist agriculture tutors using our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE, they will be more than happy to help you.

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Study Farm Management with ACS.

Study a  range of  essential topics related to farm management:

  • Improve your farm management knowledge and skills.
  • Learn how to manage the resources at your disposal.
  • Learn from our expert agriculture tutors.
  • Improve your business and career prospects.
  • Earn while you learn - study in your own time at your own pace.




Meet some of our academics

Alison Pearce (animal)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)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.