AP2A64-Farm Business Management

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites: AP1SB1 Introduction to Management AP1A23 Introduction to Agricultural and Food Systems
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Matthias Siebold

Email: m.a.siebold@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

Students will learn about the administration and management of agricultural and rural enterprises, covering (i) the business aspects of production with the emphasis on labour, machinery and capital management tools for planning, decision making and control, (ii) the opportunities for alternative enterprises, and (iii) the key environmental issues in agriculture, the role of agri-environmental legislation, and the administration and management of agri-environment schemes. Students will also learn transferable skills that will be needed during their management careers.

Assessable learning outcomes:
At the end of the module you will have developed the following management and core skills:
• The policy environment – understanding of the mechanisms in operation in the UK stemming from European and national policy and associated regulation; including comprehension of the Common Agricultural Policy, the history of subsidies, rural development and agri-environment policy
• Business analysis, planning, decision making and control – analysis of business performance, and application of planning and decision making techniques within the rural sector
• Environmental protection - knowledge and understanding of environmental issues and associated areas of legislation, standards, and codes of practice regarding agriculture and the environment
• Report writing – developing both analytical and presentational skills
• Presentation skills – developing skills in presenting oral reports and/or conducting debates
• Analytical thinking – developing numeracy, literacy, reasoning and appraisal skills

Additional outcomes:
• Occupational awareness – understanding the nature and requirements of working in a particular sector with particular emphasis on business management and organisation
• Interpersonal skills – developing skills in purposive questioning
• Data collection – developing skills in collecting data from different sources
• Team working and interaction with other students

Outline content:
Students will visit and meet a wide range of businesses and people working in the rural economy. Visits may include some of the following:
• Arable and livestock producers • Estates and diversified enterprises
• Woodland management • Agri-environment schemes
Subjects covered in more formal lectures will include the following:
• Agricultural, rural and environmental policy mechanisms and implications for the farm business
• Business analysis, resource planning, decision making and control tools
• Business structures; financial management, planning and control
• Farm records, including staffing, livestock, crops and related legislation; farm assurance
• Planning, diversified and alternative enterprises
• Agriculture and environmental issues, e.g. soil, water, climate change and renewable energies, biodiversity, and the role of legislation
• Agri-environment scheme implementation, alternative farming systems

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module involves a combination of farm visits (up to four per term) and lectures.
• Preparatory lectures – building on AP1A02 and AP1SB1
• Guided tours of farms and businesses
• Tutorials – including in class exercises to reinforce and apply what has been learned
• Directed learning – reflecting on your experience and assignments
• Report writing – students must produce written reports on specified aspects using the visits as case examples
• Presentations – discussion and presentations to tutors and other students and host farmers

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 7 10
Tutorials 3 0
Practicals classes and workshops 3 2
External visits 12 12
Guided independent study 75 76
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 65
Oral assessment and presentation 10
Set exercise 25

Other information on summative assessment:
One financial management exercise (~25%)
One group exercise covering strategic planning and development of a farm business or enterprise (~40%). This will involve group work, but is likely to require individual reports to be prepared for assessment
One additional word processed report related to the lectures/visits (~25%). Details will be advised in relation to each visit and subject area, and could include:
• Analysis of how a business / farming system functions (What contributes to the business / system, interrelationships within the business / system, how the business / system has developed)
• Application and evaluation of business theories (e.g. SWOT, benchmarking)
• Understanding of the effect of legislation and regulation on the business / farming system
• Commercial awareness
Assessment of the coursework may include marking of presentational and/or debating skills (10%).

Formative assessment methods:
In-class exercises applying theories taught will be undertaken with immediate verbal feedback given, followed by written feedback/answer documents provided via Blackboard as appropriate.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By examination in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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