Farm management is a very crucial aspect of agriculture and any farm enterprise. Aside from the pests and environmental factors, management also plays a key role in the success of a farm enterprise. Farm management system relates to other factors to ensure the farm enterprise meets its set objectives.
A farm manager is the head of the system and certain roles are expected of the farm manager; also, the farm manager is liable to encounter some problems during his or her sojourn as the farm manager. This guide will emphasize the roles and problems of a farm manager and how these two factors can be used to achieve the farm objectives.
ROLES OF A FARM MANAGER
As a farm manager, there are some roles you are expected to play in the farm management system. At times, it may be listed in your schedule of work on some farms while other farms may not. You are expected to play the following roles as a farm manager.
- Design farm goals and objectives: People do not seek respect, people earn respect by the extraordinary activities they engage or perform. As a farm manager, you must first design the farm goals and objective. What you want the farm system to achieve under your management; these are what will speak for you during and after your service on the farm. Design the goals and objectives bearing in mind individual differences; do not be too cumbersome in your goals.
- Decision making: No one needs to tell you this. Once you assume the role of a farm manager, you are expected to make lucrative decisions that are in line with the objectives and goals of the farm system. The decision you make must be goal-oriented aimed at increasing the output of the farm with relatively lower input bearing fully well in mind other external factors such as consumer’s preference, cost of producing and competitors.
- Recruit personnel: Obviously, you can’t paddle the canoe of the farm alone, you need more hands to help you achieve your goals. You are expected to recruit hands to work with you, both skilled for technical tasks and unskilled for manual and casual tasks. Very important is motivating the personnel to ensure they are passionate and dedicated; this can be done by fervently reinstating the farm objectives and goals in their minds.
- Allocate resources: Allocating farm resources prudently will earn you respect. Farm resources are limited and your ability to allocate the available limited resources will be advantageous to the productivity of the farm system. Know when to substitute inputs, produce more of a commodity, reduce costs and other managerial functions.
- Keep records: Record keeping is very important in a farm management system. Records boost the reputation of a farm greatly and also give the farm an edge over competitors. You must ensure you keep the record of all activities on your farm. The farm record must be detailed, dated and comprehensive to all and sundry. Farm records help in making decisions, allocation of resources and acquisition of loans.
- Creation of new business opportunities and expansion of business networks: The most prominent aim and objective of a farm system is an increase in productivity and profit. As the farm manager, you must identify various opportunities that circumvent the agricultural ecosystem. You must try to expand the farm network wider and larger than it was; this will increase the farm output and resources.
These are some of the roles you must assume as a farm manager. Your relationship with the farm system is a symbiotic one; as you strive to increase the productivity of the farm, you are also increasing your reputation and enriching your credibility as a farm manager.
At this juncture, I must highlight some of the likely problems you are likely to encounter as a farm manager and how to evade them.
PROBLEMS OF A FARM MANAGER
- Lack of fund: Funding is the most limiting factor in agriculture. It is very possible you encounter such problem. What to do is quite simple, try to reduce the cost of your production to allow you to work with the available financial resources. You can as well study the farm and determine the input that can be sold off to raise fund to finance more productive projects. If the farm has detailed and formidable records, you can apply for loans to fund the farm projects.
- Lack of labor or human resources: Most of the youth detest agriculture and may likely not want to work in a farm management system; it is understandable. As the manager, you must orientate them to change this mindset. Also, try to motivate the workers to keep their morale at a productive level.
- Market: After spending lots of resources to produce, market, at times, can be frustrating. Do not be dismayed. You can market your produce irrespective of the competitive forces within the sector. You can achieve this by determining the consumer preference; what your consumers love and the price they are willing to pay. Try to reduce the sacrifice of your market (consumers) in terms of price and time; they will appreciate it more and you will make good sales.
- Competition: Why most farm enterprises fail is because they assume they are in competition with other farms. It is true by the nature of the ecosystem but not true in a practical sense. Do not see yourself in competition with other farmers, because if you do, you are likely going to lose your feet and work at the pace of the competitor instead of your own pace. Ensure you make your products better on a regular basis. This is not a competition but an improvement. A farm enterprise will survive when it improves on its products and not compete with others in the sector.
A well-planned and goal-oriented farm management system is what a farm needs to successfully operate. Farming is indeed lucrative when the roles of a farm manager are acted diligently and problems of a farm manager are tackled with a pragmatic mindset.
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