What is it That Farm Managers Do?

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  • \"Farm management is a task performed only by managers of farms. It is not undertaken by those who write about it, teach it, or give advice on it.\" This rather humbling quotation from two British writers, Giles and Stansfield, conveys a powerful message to people who are involved in the profession of farm management research, teaching and advising, and in developing instructional material on the topic. The definition, while not operational, suggests an important context to be kept in mind when discussing service and educational issues. Furthermore, this definition has embedded within itself a fundamental question. What is it that farm managers do? There is a public awareness and renewed interest in the topic of farm business management in Canada, at least partially the result of new government funds being directed towards training. Current government philosophy leans toward greater privatization in delivery, therefore it is important that those persons who decide on which proposals are worthy of receiving public funds have a clear understanding of what farm management entails. It is also important for farmers themselves to have a better understanding as to where professional services might fit into the management of their business. Finally, it is important for the private sector (bankers, lawyers, accountants and consultations) and the public sector (extension agents, policy analysts, teachers and researchers) to have a sound understanding of the nature and scope of modern farm businesses so that they can better adapt their services to the industry. The purpose of this paper is to describe the tasks performed by the manager of the modern farm business, and to examine the knowledge, training and managerial services required. In order to accomplish this, the paper concentrates first on the management process. Next it examines the farm business organizational structure and on specific managerial activities. The paper concludes with a look at professional services for the farm manager.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 International