Farmers need a wide range of management skills to run their businesses well. This management is at the heart of every successful farming operation. Establishing and implementing a system of sound management principles ensures sustainable businesses and a generational legacy.
The fundamental principles of farm management – crop management, spraying programmes, mechanisation, planting schedules – are things that farmers get right most of the time, says Praveen Dwarika of Lemang Agricultural Services. Yet there is more to running a business than being competent at the basics.
“Issues like human resource management and labour relations are skills farmers should have at their fingertips when work force management is required,” he explains. Managers have a responsibility to guide and supervise the people who work in their businesses, and this is where leadership skills are most evident. Clear direction, encouragement and positive feedback all help to build capacity in the workforce.
Good people management is a tool that helps farmers hold on to their skilled staff members and gives them a competitive advantage. Part of the manager’s duty in managing human resources is to stay abreast of government regulations and comply with, among others, regulated working hours and conditions, tax, minimum wages and health and hygiene requirements.
Now, as never before, farmers must develop business skills if they are to stay profitable. “Applying business principles to operation management is the make or break of farm businesses. Making money, even a considerable amount of it, doesn’t necessarily translate into bankable profit,” cautions Dwarika.
Because financial factors are so important in farming, Lemang Agricultural Services offers new era farmers a short course in farm business management that covers basic business skills for small-, micro-, and medium-scale enterprises. The course includes budget planning, communication, commodity systems and safe operation on the farm.
Farmers learn to understand the agricultural industry and agricultural production, and how to apply entrepreneurial principles to farming. These critical skills help farmers build their enterprises into profitable ventures.