Assistant Farm Manager apprenticeship draft standard

22 November 2022


The Assistant Farm Manager draft Apprenticeship Standard should be read before completing the Assistant Farm Manager survey. 

Title of occupation: Assistant Farm Manager
Core and options: No
Level of Occupation: 4
Typical Duration of apprenticeship: 24 Months

Occupational profile

This occupation is found in…

The agriculture sector, specifically the area of agriculture that includes sheep, dairy, cattle, beef cattle, pigs, goats, poultry and arable / field based vegetables or energy crops. Assistant farm managers tend to work across the sector from dairy, beef and sheep, arable, pigs and poultry and can work at a sole site or across multiple sectors (beef and sheep, or beef and arable for example) within one site or business. An assistant farm manager may work in any size farm business as employed labour whose intention will be to progress (through succession planning) to farm management either employed or running their own business, in the future.

The broad purpose of the occupation is…

to professionally operate and support the management of an agricultural business such as a farm. They will assist in the management at every stage, from the beginning of the product life cycle with the primary resource (seed for crops or breeding for livestock), during the production of the livestock or crops and through to either farm gate sale or direct supply to the consumer. They will consider human, plant and animal health and welfare standards, and environmental priorities. Assistant farm managers are primarily responsible for the day‐to‐day management of a farm enterprise or enterprises to achieve productivity and environmental business objectives, industry benchmarks and KPIs. They will understand financial performance and control within the enterprise. Record keeping, data collection, data analysis and effective action planning will be key duties.

They will manage people within their influence, which could include a small number of farm staff. They will also contribute to staff and personnel management, including appraisals, continuous professional development and updating of industry knowledge. Assistant farm managers would require relevant knowledge into current and future technologies, innovation and sustainability as this area will become a key focus in the future, such as precision farming and machinery operations. Assistant farm managers also have responsibility for the day‐to‐day management requirements of supply chain contract requirements/protocols, farm assurance, carbon audits and legislation and use of RB209 for nutrient and soil management. Driving will be an element of the role as assistant farm manager will need to move livestock and operate farm machinery as part of daily routine checks.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with…

and reports to the farm manager or general manager and interacts with staff and external customers from deliveries of supplies, auditors, and private consumers (depending on the business). They will also deal directly with agronomists, vets, nutritionists, consultants, machinery engineers and sales personnel. They may interact and negotiate with suppliers.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for…

organising their own work schedule and people within their influence, including any staff they line manage. Working with the farm manager or owner on the physical and financial performance of the enterprise. Utilising technology and associated data management to improve enterprise performance. Implementing and reviewing risk assessments, COSHH assessments and accident reporting / monitoring in line with the farm’s Health and Safety Policy and relevant H&S legislation. The day‐to‐day efficiency of energy utilisation, pollution prevention, waste minimisation and greenhouse gas (GHG reductions) in line with the farm’s environmental policy and environmental legislation. The compliance of supply chain contracts / market requirements, farm assurance schemes, relevant codes of practice and relevant farm enterprise legislation. The routine maintenance of farm machinery, buildings, field drainage and field boundaries.

Assistant farm managers possess good communication and teamwork skills and demonstrate a professional approach in their work.

Typical job titles

Agriculture enterprise manager, assistant enterprise manager, assistant estate/s manager, assistant farm manager, assistant horticulture production manager, trainee farm manager.


Duty 1: Review performance of a farming  or horticulture enterprise to evaluate results and set plans for business, financial and production improvements that contribute to strategy and implementation on the ground in the day‐to‐day farming operations. KPI examples could include; farrowing index, cost per kilo/litre produced, Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs), calving index, conception rates, environmental footprint, sustainability, carbon auditing.

Duty 2: Create and implement soil management plans that focus on the balance between nutritional requirements for crop grasses, soil and environmental requirements, informed by relevant soil analysis data and working with others.

Duty 3: Develop and implement plans to manage organic by‐product and inorganic waste produced by the business that adhere to legislative and environmental permitting requirements, as well as management of nitrate vulnerable zones.

Duty 4: Plan and implement farm business environmental operations that meet compliance and legal requirements, including environmental practices, emerging legislation, Net Zero, health and safety and slurry/manure management.

Duty 5: Implement scientific principles and good practice for relevant specialisms e.g. livestock and/or crop (such as Welfare Codes, biosecurity, COPs, 5 freedoms, Crop husbandry/Integrated Pest Management), that adhere to business crop and/or livestock health plan, and work with third parties to carry out recommendations.

Duty 6: Assist with the development of long‐term farm business plans to improve the profitability of each enterprise (for example but not limited to agriculture support payments lined to marketing plan, horizon scanning, policy, external environment updates and commercial contracts.

Duty 7: Interact and engage across the supply chain (e.g. genetics, feed) to produce products and/or services to specification requirements that meets business and end‐user/consumer needs.

Duty 8: Assist with planning, utilisation, management and replacement of machinery and infrastructure, in line with business policy and ensuring Return on Investment. For example tractor harvesters, temperature‐controlled rooms or robotics.

Duty 9: Use data analysis (for example, from dairy robots, yield mapping, soil analysis, livestock feed nutrient analysis, machine calibration) to produce recommendations for improving business efficiency.

Duty 10: Interpret basic farm financial records to benchmark against other farm businesses and set targets for improvement.

Duty 11: Manage people within their influence on a day‐to‐day basis, supporting own and others Continuing Professional Development and taking responsibility to develop own leadership skills to help motivate the team and external stakeholders for mutual benefit.

Duty 12: Manage communications with stakeholders that involve complex terminology (e.g. veterinary surgeons, agronomists, consultants), adapting communication method and style where relevant.

Duty 13: Maintain Records in accordance with legal and industry audit requirements that allow facilitation and provision of evidence for compliance purposes (for example, but not restricted to Farm Assurance, rural payments agency, animal and plant health authority, trading standards etc...).

Duty 14: Promote a positive health and safety and wellbeing culture within the organisation, managing risk and multiple complex (indoor working, outdoor working lone workers, machinery, live animals) work environments safely, physically and mentally for self and others.

Duty 15: Assist in the evaluation of sources of financial capital investment, including suitability and risk.


K1 Physiological principles underpinning a production system and the impacts of husbandry activities and inputs.

K2 Importance of soil. Types of soil and impact on crop and husbandry decisions. Characteristics of poor and good soil structure. Soil fertility analysis data, how to obtain and interpret it. Impact of operations on soil structure and actions that can improve poor structure.

K3 Components of soil management plans and their purpose for managing soil health, nutrients, yields, runoff, erosion, flooding, soil carbon, external additives. Importance and principles of nutrient management guidance.

K4 Principles of managing plant or animal health, the importance and principles of biosecurity and how to comply with plant or animal health legislation.

K5 Main habitats found on production sites, how to obtain and interpret information on site biodiversity.

K6 Implications of environmental legislation and industry guidance for site management.

K7 Threats to production from climate change, the principles of sustainability and net zero targets.

K8 Techniques for optimising value of resources and by‐products. Principles of the waste hierarchy (reduce, reuse, recycle).

K9 Legislative and environmental regulation for management of by‐products, inorganic waste, hazardous waste, Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, water and air and implications of non‐compliance.

K10 Components of a farm or enterprise supply chain and how they interact. The interdependence of the supply chain to ensure quality and quantity.

K11 Technical content quality measures or specification requirements for farm products, why this important to meet customer needs and or commercial contracts.

K12 Regulation, production standards and codes of practice for their area of work and the importance of compliance.

K13 Types of financial capital investment, sources of information and their suitability and risk.

K14 Types of production, financial and business data, uses and analysis.

K15 Factors impacting on the performance of farm or horticultural enterprises and techniques to set financial and production Key Performance Indicators, monitor and evaluate them.

K16 Components of strategic, business and operational plans, their relationship and importance for improving enterprise performance and response to external factors for example environmental, political, social or financial.

K17 Know where to find reliable sources of information on production practices and new technologies.

K18 Principles of online safety, confidentiality and protection of data.

K19 Health, safety and wellbeing legislation, codes of practice and their implications for site management. The main hazards, risks to health, welfare and wellbeing found on farms or horticultural sites and mitigation methods. The risk from zoonoses. Factors when dealing with public, visitors or children on site.

K21 Factors when planning the safe and efficient use of machinery, equipment and facilities including legislation, operator competence, new technologies, maintenance requirements, suitability for task and business policy.

K22 Methods and techniques for communicating with professional and non‐professional audiences including use of digital methods.

K23 Principles of managing people including compliance with regulation, recruitment, performance management, informal training and appraisals.


S1 Apply physiological principles to identify interventions to enhance productivity and maintain unit health.

S2 Develop and implement a soil, manure or nutrient management plan to improve soil structure and fertility. Monitor progress.

S3 Implement and review plans to manage the health of the production system in line with legislation and company policy.

S4 Comply with environmental protection legislation and industry guidance, including pollution avoidance and control, wildlife and countryside protection and protection of biodiversity.

S5 Improve environmental practices on site including protecting and enhancing biodiversity.

S6 Develop and implement plan(s) to optimise value of by‐products and dispose of non reusable (single use) wastes.

S7 Produce products or services to customer specification, quality standards and production standards.

S8 Collect and evaluate critical information including production unit performance, identify opportunities for improvement and propose changes to technical production strategy and operational adjustments.

S9 Analyse basic farm/enterprise data (including financial and production) and research farm practices. Use this to benchmark against other farms and support recommendations for future actions.

S10 Develop, implement, monitor and evaluate production unit plans to meet business requirements.

S11 Manage, review and monitor health, safety, welfare and wellbeing on production unit. Carry out risk management including assessment of risk and mitigation. Communicate health and safety information to staff or stakeholders.

S12 Manage own health and safety and demonstrate best practice when undertaking activity.

S13 Advise on machinery and infrastructure condition for a farm or horticultural business activity including replacements and return on investment.

S14 Ensure that machinery and infrastructure are used correctly and in line with legislation, manufacturers guidance and business policy.

S15 Communicate confidently and professionally with staff and stakeholders, adapting approach to audience including technical audiences and use of technical industry terminology.

S16 Build relationships with stakeholders including negotiation.

S17 Supervise staff during the main stages of the production cycle.

S18 Maintain and submit records to support business management including digital transactions.


B1 Challenge approaches to current working practices in a constructive manner, identifying potential for improvement and development.

B2 Champions health and safety across the team and embeds it in activities.

B3 Acts in a way that builds and maintains positive relationships with colleagues, customers and suppliers.

B4 Acts in a professional and ethical manner

B5 Committed to Continuous Professional Development

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