Farm Manager or Farm Foreman

Farm managers or foremen are responsible for the general maintenance and management of the farm. Managers plan, organize and supervise activities on farms.

The nature of the work differs according to the type of farming.  Farm managers maintain the financial, operational, production or employment records for the farm, evaluate marketing or sales alternatives for the products of the farm, prepare budgets or financial reports for the farm, and obtain the financing necessary for purchases of machinery, land, supplies or livestock. They select or purchase machinery, equipment, livestock or supplies, such as seed, feed, fertiliser or chemicals. 

They determine the types or quantities of crops or livestock to be raised, according to factors such as market conditions, state incentirves or soil conditions.  Farm managers inspect farm structures, such as buildings, fences or roads, ordering repair or maintenance activities, as needed, and supervise the construction of buildings, fences, drainage systems, wells etc. They may change processes such as drying, grading, storing or shipping to improve efficiency or profitability. They need to negotiate with buyers for the sale, storage or shipment of crops or livestock

On crop farms, they hire, train or supervise workers engaged in planting, cultivating, fertilising, spraying, irrigating, harvesting or marketing crops, or in raising livestock. They direct crop production operations, such as planning, tilling, planting, fertilising, cultivating, spraying or harvesting.  They monitor and adjust irrigation systems to distribute water according to crop needs and to avoid wasting water.  Where possible, they try to replace chemical insecticides with environmentally friendly practices, such as adding pest-repelling plants to fields.  They analyse market conditions to determine the acreage allocations, and analyse soil to determine types or quantities of fertiliser required for maximum crop production.   They may plan and direct the development or production of hardier or higher-yield hybrid plant varieties. They inspect orchards or fields to determine crop maturity or condition or to detect disease or insect infestation.

On livestock farms, they operate or supervise the operations of dairy farms that produce bulk milk or those of poultry or swine farms producing meat, eggs or breeding stock. They supervise the care-taking of animals and the control of illnesses, and direct the breeding or raising of stock, such as cattle, poultry or honeybees, using recognised breeding practices to ensure stock improvement.

Farm managers and foremen are also responsible for the maintenance of tractors and other farming implements.

Personal Requirements

  • enjoy working outdoors, in all weather conditions
  • like working with plants and/or animals
  • practical and hardworking
  • diligence and organisational ability
  • good health, physical strength, stamina and agility
  • ability to endure isolation and limited social contact
  • independent, responsible and self-disciplined
  • some mechanical aptitude

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

No minimum qualifications are required, but functional literacy is necessary

What to Study

Degree: BSc (Agric) and other agricultural degrees - NMMU, UFS, UFH, UL, US, UKZN, UP, UV, UZ, UNISA, NWU

Diploma: Various diplomas are offered by different universities of technology, - CPUT, CUT, TUT, DUT.

Agricultural colleges offer diploma and certificate courses, which cover the most important branches of farming in the country; emphasis is placed on the agricultural situation prevalent in the area served by the specific college.

  • Agricultural colleges include:
  • Elsenburg Agricultural Development Institute - Stellenbosch
  • Glen Agricultural Development Institute - Bloemfontein
  • Grootfontein Agricultural College - Middelburg
  • Cedara Agricultural Development Institute - Pietermaritzburg
  • Lowveld Agricultural College - Nelspruit
  • Owen Sitole College of Agriculture - Empangeni
Some farm foremen receive in-service training, under the supervision of senior farm foremen / managers or farmers / landowners.


  • self-employment, with enough experience, initiative and capital, can start own farming enterprise

Further Information

Agricultural Research Council 
1134 Park street
Hatfield, Pretoria 
Tel: (012) 427-9700

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work as a farm-hand
  • grow vegetables in your own garden  keep and care for pets
  • arrange to visit different farms and speak to farm managers and foremen about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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