Farm Secretary

Agriculture worker

Farm Secretaries look after the smooth running of the business side of a farm or estate and deal with record-keeping and correspondence involved with modern farming and rural businesses.

The job means working closely with farmers, farm and estate managers to ensure that all the regular tasks are completed efficiently and on time, in addition to more complex tasks such as completing legislative and management records.

Their main duties include:

  • Keeping records of livestock and crops to help with future planning and stock levels
  • Completing forms for government grants and subsidies
  • Preparing farm accounts and budgets
  • Dealing with VAT and tax returns
  • Completing legislative and management records
  • Calculating employees' pay and keeping employment records
  • Arranging quotations for buying, hiring and maintaining farm machinery and equipment
  • General administration duties including telephone work, writing letters and emails and maintaining manual and computer filing systems.

A Farm Secretary spends a great deal of time on budgets, accounting and other financial aspects of the work. Although some systems may be manual, the majority of work is computer based, including detailed use of spreadsheets, databases and tailor-made agricultural business software packages.

Working Conditions 

Farm Secretaries usually work around 35 hours a week during the daytime, although evening or weekend work is sometimes necessary depending on the farming activities during the year. Farm Secretaries may be employed on one or more farms or estates, and may travel between different offices.

There are full-time, part-time and self-employed jobs available.

Most of the work is office-based and involves a lot of sitting down, doing desk work or at the computer. Farm and estate offices are in rural areas, some of them in quite remote locations. A driving licence and own transport is usually necessary.



Salaries vary with experience, qualifications and between companies, but here's a guide to what you can expect.

Starting salary:


Ending Salary:



Getting started

There are no set academic qualifications to become a Farm Secretary, although employers usually prefer applicants with English and Maths or equivalent qualifications. Good skills in information technology are also required for this role.

It may be useful to study for a book-keeping or accounting qualification such as qualifications from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) or The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers. For those looking for industry specific courses, the Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators  (IAgSA) offers the Farm Accounting and Rural Business Administration Training Programme which consists of four distinct units and which offers the benefit of an industry recognised qualification.

What experienced workers can do

  • Maintain and store records within the workplace
  • Purchase products or services for the land-based organisation
  • Manage a budget
  • Make sure that accounting systems are used effectively
  • Provide financial forecasts
  • Plan recruitment
  • Resolve customer disputes
  • Operate pay and benefits procedures
  • Maintain agricultural and horticultural records and prepare claims for subsidies.

Personal qualities you should have

  • Problem-solving
  • Work in a team
  • Work on your own
  • Communication skills
  • Flexibility
  • Friendly and approachable.

Next steps

Some Farm Secretaries become self-employed when they have enough experience to offer their specific skills to different farms and estates. Their progress and success relies on providing a consistently high quality of service and administration to their clients.

The all-round knowledge and experience gained as a Farm Secretary can be very useful in moving into administrative or management jobs in other agriculture business or rural industries.

Industry links

Association of Accounting Technicians

British Institute of Agricultural Consultants

Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators

My world of work

National Farmers Union Scotland

Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service

Scottish Crofting Federation

Scottish Machinery Rings

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs