How to be happy in your role on your farm with job task lists.
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
by: April 18, 2023 Grainews Seeds of Encouragement by Elaine Froese

Section: Wills, Estates, Wealth Transfer

I believe folks are happy in their roles on the farm when they are clear what is expected of them, and they have the proper tools to get the job done. It is also important folks know what kind of work they want to do as they begin to step back without stepping away.

I’m sharing part of Dick Wittman’s tool which I use often with successors who are trying to become the main manager and let founders create new job descriptions. Feel free to ask for the entire tool at .

Last month I met Taylor Phillips of . You need to check out his blog about using QR codes on the farm. He is a genius as creating more productivity with google documents like seeding calibration sheets, drill calibration, tank optimizer, mix sheets for spraying and how to help employees track parts needs.

Seek human resources help with Lyndsay Seafoot who “loves to untangle a mess” when she helps employers with compliance. She is in Wawanesa Manitoba and can also work on zoom. Find her at

As you long to have a smooth seeding process this spring ask yourself these questions and share the answers with your team.

1.What primary strengths are you bringing to the farm?
2 Where can you improve your performance? e.g., Tracking your hours, checking machinery
3.Which areas can management help you do your job better?  E.g., Learning QR codes, google documents.
4.What’s your plan to improve skills and abilities in the next 6 months?
5.What key goals do you want to accomplish or what are your expectations for 2023 crop year?

Job Duty Lists

The following lists represent specific job duties, areas of responsibility and decision-making grouped by occupational specialties.  This listing assists managers in defining what tasks or job functions to delegate or assign to individual job positions on the farm.

General Management Responsibilities

  • Coordinate annual operating and strategic planning, consolidate cashflow planning efforts, and report periodically to management team on cashflow and overall financial performance.
  • Organize work force, assign responsibilities, and coordinate efforts of personnel!
  • Oversee hiring, training and orientation of full and part-time help.
  • Evaluate employees and coordinate personnel self-improvement strategies.
  • Oversee compensation program and adjustments.
  • Execute contracts.
  • Manage estate plan implementation (wills preparation, stock sales and payments, etc.)


Negotiating & Administering Relationships

  • Negotiate leases; serve as primary liaison with landlords; make annual distributions of landlord crop shares; and maintain records on lease advances and crop shares.
  • Monitor federal farm program provisions and ensure compliance in annual cropping plans; file necessary crop plans, production reports and landlord distribution information with regulatory entities.
  • Negotiate joint ventures and strategic alliances with other farms and businesses.
  • Oversee rental houses; advertise vacancies, collect rents, perform maintenance as needed.


Secretarial, Legal, Support Functions

  • Oversee office maintenance, supplies, and equipment servicing & replacement.
  • Administer records retention and disposition program; dispose of records when holding periods are met.
  • Maintain corporate minutes, by-laws, and resolutions.

Capital Purchases Analysis and Procurement

  • Analyze feasibility of capital investments and negotiate new purchases.
  • Shop for capital purchase items based on specifications approved by authorizing body.


Crop Production Management

  • Develop annual cropping plan including rotational strategy and variety selection.
  • Prepare annual inputs for cashflow budget preparation concerning crop plan and major expense areas (i.e. chemicals, fertilizer, seed)
  • Supervise procurement, storage, cleaning and treatment of seed.
  • Coordinate seeding operations and maintain seeding records.
  • Determine timing and scope of farm equipment operations for major tillage, cultivation, and harvest operations.
  • Operate farm machinery in all phases of crop production.
  • Perform maintenance and overhaul responsibilities of farm machinery and crop related structures.
  • Monitor inventory of shop tools, supplies, gas, diesel, and equipment’s parts maintained on hand; and coordinate restocking as needed.
  • Monitor crops for weed and insect problems; arrange for and/or apply chemicals for weed and insect control.
  • Arrange for collection of soil samples for fertilizer program and arrange for fertilizer application consistent with annual cropping plan.
  • Maintain field records on all production inputs and applications.
  • Oversee operations of custom seeding, spraying, fertilizing, trucking and harvesting
  • Coordinate field crew rock removal activities.

Grain Storage and Marketing

  • Oversee delivery, dumping, weighing, and load-out operations for grain storage operations.
  • Negotiate grain storage and shipping arrangements with market and storage outlets.
  • Supervise elevator storage, maintenance, aeration and fumigation activities.
  • Monitor grain and livestock markets and market commodities
  • Develop and execute marketing plans.
  • Track inventory levels and market crops


Service Manager/Machinery Maintenance

  • Train and oversee new and part-time employees on proper servicing procedures.
  • Develop and maintain service guidelines for all major farm vehicles and motorized equipment.
  • Perform general service, maintenance, and overhaul of farm machinery.
  • Oversee maintenance and repair work subcontracted off the farm.
  • Keep service records on equipment maintenance, overhaul, and servicing.
  • Assist in identifying winter overhaul or maintenance agenda; keep maintenance needs list updated during the year.
  • Provide direction and technical assistance to other employees performing overhaul duties.
  • Assure that farm shop is properly stocked to perform normal maintenance and repair activities.
  • Monitor shop and equipment operating environment for safety and environmental regulations compliance; insure proper disposition of toxic and other waste products.

Bookkeeping and Financial Management

  • Pay bills and perform banking responsibilities.
  • Prepare monthly and annual farm financial reports; distribute to appropriate audiences.
  • Coordinate with accountant the preparation of individual and corporate tax returns.
  • File periodic payroll, truck road mileage, and gas tax reports
  • Arrange loans for operating and capital purposes.
  • Supervise pension plan investing, serve as plan trustee and prepare required reports.
  • Coordinate annual financial planning process.
  • Prepare cashflow budget projection using input from responsibility center managers and report periodically to officers and managers on cashflow performance.
  • Prepare interpretive managerial reports including ratio analysis, profit center analyses, etc


Risk Management/Insurance Programs

  • Manage insurance coverage levels (crop, casualty, disability, medical and life)
  • Keep records concerning claims history.
  • Coordinate coverage levels on rolling stock for farm vehicles and personal vehicles insured under farm policies; ensure liability certificates are maintained in vehicles.

Conservation Practices and Drainage Systems Management

  • Interact  conservation organizations for conservation programs
  • Oversee farm compliance with environmental regulations
  • Oversee the design and implementation of structures and practices to improve environmental stewardship of the farm.
  • Plan, develop, inspect and maintain field drainage systems and sediment ponds.
What do you want your job description to be? If you want coaching to get clarity of expectations on who is the ultimate decision maker, contact our team for a discovery call. We can coach you while you enjoy auto steer on your fields this spring.

Elaine Froese, Farm Family Coach and her team have tools to help you find harmony through understanding. Book her to speak virtually or in person. She is now celebrating 28 years of writing this column !  Happy Seeding !
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