Michael Welham

FARM MANAGER FOR STRUTT & PARKER FARMS

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NAME Michael Welham JOB Farm Manager COMPANY Strutt & Parker Farms AGE 30 SALARY* £30,00 - £60,000 *industry average

What exactly is a Farm Manager?

As well as individual farmers working on land that they own or rent across the country, there are a handful of larger companies like Strutt & Parker Farms with a lot of land that needs to be farmed by experienced farm managers.

The farm that I manage in Essex has 1,500 acres of excellent soil that grows a wide range of crops from wheat and oilseed rape to sugar beet and potatoes. We provide potatoes to local supermarkets, fish & chip shops and overseas markets too.

What’s involved in the job?

It’s my responsibility to make sure that the farm produces the best quality crops as efficiently as possible, and that it makes a decent profit. I take on all aspects of farm management from production and marketing to capital investment.

Farming these days is quite a complex business, and it’s not just about the crops – I’ve been doing a lot of work recently to ‘diversify’ the business by converting some farm buildings for small businesses to use, and using the reservoirs to provide fish for local anglers and a habitat for wetland birds.

What qualifications do you have?

After school I studied Agricultural Business Management at the University of Reading. I think it was quite important for my career to study something directly linked to what I wanted to do.

Did you consider any other career path?

I thought about being a secondary school teacher or a pilot in the RAF. I’m very happy I chose this career though, as it’s so diverse and rewarding. My long term ambition is to become a farms director for a large farming company.

What do you like best about your job?

There’s a lot to like. Working outdoors with the seasons in the fresh air and the countryside. Managing people, meeting new people and building relationships with our suppliers. Working with machinery, and the satisfaction of building the business.

And what’s not so good?

Even in farming, there’s a lot of Government red tape to cut through, and that’s not a favourite pastime of mine.

Do you have any advice for people trying to get into agriculture?

Agriculture should not be viewed as a job - it is a way of life that requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but it also brings huge satisfaction.  It is important to gain experience and qualifications with an end goal in mind, so you can achieve what you want to in good time.

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