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Tractor harvesting

The Farm Management Unit (FMU) was established in 1979 with the aim of developing excellence in the subject of farm management at the University of Reading.

The FMU provides a focus for farm management activities, building upon the interdisciplinary strengths across the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development.

Through its partnerships, the FMU fosters research collaboration across the University, alongside excellence in teaching to produce high quality, policy relevant research and employable graduates.

Outreach activities are also important in ensuring that our research is addressing issues of relevance to policy and practice and that our teaching is relevant and up-to-date.

The FMU has a number of specific objectives:

  • to co-ordinate research and consultancy activities in areas relating to the management of farms and agricultural land
  • to provide a focus and brand for outreach activities which seek to engage with professionals and organisations working in the farming sector
  • to review and develop teaching curriculum in farm management and related areas.


Farm Management Unit Organisation

Director of the Farm Management Unit: Associate Professor Yiorgos Gadanakis (Teaching)

Yiorgos' expertise is in the area of Agricultural Business Management. His main areas of interest are the analysis of agricultural production systems, technical and economic efficiency analysis, and the relationship between agricultural systems, the environment and social capital. His main area of teaching is Farm Business Management.

Steering Group

  • Professor Peter Dorward
    Peter is Professor of Rural Systems and Management, specialising in facilitating innovation and the spread of improved practices.
  • Professor Simon Mortimer (Research)
    Simon is Professor of Environmental Land Management and Assistant Director of the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, specialising in ecology and management of agricultural systems and evaluation of interactions between agricultural and environmental policy, including assessment of agri-environment schemes.
  • Professor Julian Park
    Professor of Agricultural Systems and Education, with expertise in sustainable farming systems, land use change and technology transfer.
  • Professor Richard Tranter (Outreach)
    Professor of Rural Ecosystems, specialising in rural land use and farm economics and structural issues. He has studied farmer decision making extensively.
  • Associate Professor Angela Cropley
    Angela is a rural chartered surveyor, lecturer and fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has many years’ experience of teaching rural property law and rural estate management at the University of Reading.
  • Dr Laurence Smith
    Laurence is a lecturer in Agricultural Business Management. His research and teaching are focused on the sustainability impacts of farm management. He covers the areas of soil carbon, soil fertility, farming systems, organic farming, environment and sustainable agriculture.
  • Mr Richard Crane
    Head of the Agricultural Food and Investigation Team, and Rural Business Research Operations Manager, with responsibility for delivery of the Farm Business Survey to Defra. Has extensive expertise in farm and horticultural production economics and business management.



The FMU provides a forum to foster strategic thinking and leadership on the development of research relating to farm management at the University of Reading. Research is focused on the economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainable farming systems linked to the University's major research themes relating to food security, climate change, and diet and health.

The areas of research that staff engage in include:

  • impacts of, and response to, policy and market change
  • metrics at the farm level: farm technical efficiency
  • impacts and management of livestock disease
  • crops and genetic modification
  • biofuels and renewable energy
  • the environmental sustainability of farming systems
  • climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • farm extension and knowledge transfer
  • farmer decision-making
  • entrepreneurship and diversification of rural businesses
  • succession, new entrants and rural depopulation
  • the interaction between farming and consumer choice.


The Edith Mary Gayton Bequest

The FMU administers the Edith Mary Gayton bequest which stipulates that funds should be used in the field of agriculture and management. As part of this bequest, funding is provided to postgraduate research students in areas central to the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development's research strategy.

Currently available studentships are advertised on the Doctoral and Researcher College pages.


The Edith Mary Gayton Memorial Lecture

Edith Mary Gayton was an agricultural graduate of the University of Reading in the 1930s. Little is known of her later career and life, but in his will her husband made a bequest to Reading in her memory stipulating that the funds should be used in the field of agriculture and management.

The annual memorial lecture is one use of these funds. Details, when available, are publicised on the University's events page. The most frequent themes have included farm management, agricultural policy, marketing, finance and science.

Other activities

On an ad hoc basis, other activities aimed at regional and national businesses and organisations in the agricultural sector take place. Farmers Evenings to showcase research at the University Farms have been a frequent event, and University staff have also delivered talks to local non-farming organisations and interest groups.

The FMU also has close links with the Institute of Agricultural Management (IAgrM), nationally and locally through the IAgrM Thames Valley Branch.


The FMU provides a forum for the development of farm management teaching in the School of Agricultural, Policy and Development within the wider management subject area.

Particular attention is paid to ensuring that the curriculum is grounded within the changing demands of employers. We encourage students to undertake professional development opportunities through visits, case study work, placements, and final year research projects at undergraduate level.