With the advent of technology and ever-developing social expectation, the role of an on-farm manager is evolving.
Historically this role was heavily focused on operational excellence – the ability to nurture and care for animals, keep things running smoothly with a broad range of capital works/repairs and maintenance skills, manage resources like pasture and water and run a good team of employees or contractors. They needed to understand how the business ran and work to a budget. We call these ‘foundation skills’.
Of late, we are noticing trends towards more advanced skill sets. Some of these abilities include:
Along with the shifts in expectations for a good Manager, so too will their own expectations shift, as we see new generations of farmers taking management seats. They will:
Many of these new skills are more managerial or strategic in nature and draw from areas of expertise from other industries.
As we see new skill sets forming the best management, we need to be careful we don’t forget about those core foundational skills. In the past, managers tended to start out working on farms and grow into more senior roles. Today, many of our aspiring managers are taking an academic route to the seat. That will deliver many of the new skills required but could fall short on those traditional skills. Our new management force may need additional support or training in practical skills like livestock handling, agronomy or pasture management.
In our view, for larger properties, the best approach to creating and delivering effective strategy is to create a team around these skills, with on-farm management prioritising foundation skills.
If you have questions about building the right team to look after an Ag Investment, please get in touch.