Farm Manager for a Growing, Family-Owned Company

Kincannon and Reed has been retained to recruit a Farm Manager for a growing, family-owned, high-value agricultural production and service company.  Our client is seeking to identify a proven leader with excellent leadership, crop production, and business management skills.

The Company

They are a fourth-generation, family-owned farming organization firmly planted in North Dakota’s Red River Valley (RRV).  A leader in the potato production industry, they are recognized for their high-quality potatoes, sales, and customer services.  Founded in 1928, the Company has over 90 years of experience in digging deeper and promoting a culture focused upon seven aspects: value, transparency, team, excellence, customer service, passion, and innovation. 

The Position

Reporting to the Director of Operations, the purpose of this role is to lead, manage and grow all aspects of the Company’s farming operation in the MO Region with a focus upon maximizing yield potential relative to budget, meeting customer requirements, ongoing staff development, and continuously improving the Company’s production capabilities.

Team Management

  • Ensure that a productive and positive working environment exists by providing leadership and direction for all regular and seasonal employees.  Achieve this through proper hiring, training, supervision, coaching, and communication with the MO team.  Ensure appropriate safety standards are in place.
  • Develop staffing plans for all seasons of operation to meet production needs.  Coordinate farm activities and provide direction and support to employees including training and development.
  • Work to achieve excellence in execution both functionally and cross-functionally with other farm locations, agronomy, operations, and sales teams to maximize crop potential for both yield and quality.

Business Management

  • Create annual budget for the MO Region that allows the operation to meet or exceed cost per cwt expectations.  Work with accounting team members to develop and calibrate annual budget.  Routinely update and report on budget compliance.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive crop plan. 
  • Supervise the production of chipping and sweet potatoes, providing pre-season planning and season-long monitoring.  Develop and execute delivery strategies based on shipping windows provided by the chip and sweet potatoes sales departments.
  • Oversee the quality control assessment and reporting of potatoes throughout the growing and shipping seasons, providing the agronomy team proper records of potato production.  Ensure foreign material is eliminated resulting in a high quality, finished product.
  • Establish long-term relationships with potential and current land partners to procure top quality land for annual potato production.
  • Assist in proper record keeping and data entry in the areas of harvest, yield, equipment maintenance, seed, fertilizer, chemical application, employee work records, and bill coding according to the Company’s SOP’s.  Provide all records to the appropriate department manager.
  • Coordinate all aspects of harvest and transportation through communication with field harvest and wash plant personnel ensuring the delivery of high-quality potatoes either off the field or from storage on a timely, efficient basis.
  • Operate “tour ready”: Maintain the farm site and facilities for safety, cleanliness, and efficiency.

Argronomic

  • Focus on attaining maximum yields and ROI on expenditures.
  • Assume land acquisition responsibilities through knowledge of local soils, landowners, and irrigation ensuring that pre-crop histories and land partner information is complete.
  • Engage the various business unit sales team to ensure proper variety and timing of crops as it relates to the pre-season crop and harvest plan.
  • Manage all crop production operations including seed handling, land preparation, planting, spraying, irrigation, fertility planning, cultivating, and harvest for optimum yield, quality, and crop input.
  • Oversee water management including the maintenance and operation of all irrigation equipment.
  • Collaborate with onsite Agronomist and regional agronomy support to ensure timely scheduling of pest scouting, spraying fertigation, and irrigation according to stages of potato plant growth, plant nutrition, and the presences of weeks, diseases, and insects.  Ensure applicators are properly licensed, insured, and trained.
  • Comply with all USDA, DOT, OSHA, and pesticide reporting regulations by working with the proper agency to make sure the Company is always in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.
  • Assist Agronomy and R&D teams in field research by outlining local research objectives, helping with site selection, and by providing personnel and equipment.

Equipment

  • Maintain equipment incorporating preventive maintenance, preseason inspections and repairing planting, production, harvest, storage, and shipping equipment as required.
  • Ensure all on-farm employees are properly trained to operate and maintain equipment.  Work with the operations team to provide ongoing training and support.
  • Manage parts inventory.  Coordinate movement/arrivals/departures of equipment.

Other important parameters for this position include:

  • Reports to the Director of Operations, supported by a team of 6-7 full-time and 25-30 in-harvest employees.
  • Position location: MO – minimal travel required.

Candidate Profile

We seek an analytical, operations-oriented Farm Manager that is skilled in crop production. Planning skills and a sense of urgency are critical.  The ideal candidate will possess a self-motivated, resourceful leadership style along with a strong financial background and impeccable communication skills.

Experience:

  • Agricultural industry knowledge in operations, including crop production and business.
  • Potato experience preferred yet not required.  Exposure to working with a variety of crops would be a plus.

Personal Characteristics:

  • Personality must be compatible with a customer and employee-centric culture, including having the ability to coach and develop others.
  • Possess and exhibit characteristics that align with Black Gold’s Four Virtues of Leadership – coachable, results-oriented, driven, and courageous.

Education level: BS in science or business

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