Farm Business Manager - Sharpthorne, East Grinstead, Sussex, UK
24 hours/week, Salary £21,000 (£32,813 pro rata)
This role is key to the success and growth of the farm by liaising with all five enterprises that are based within the farm. Working as part of the management team, this position is responsible for coordinating the finances of the farm, supervising the administration team and ensuring that all aspects of the farm are working in collaboration to ensure the success and growth of the business. It is anticipated that the post-holder will become a director of the farm in the future.
Ideally you will have had previous experience of working in financial management, business, administrative support, and of course an understanding of a Biodynamic Farm.
This job allows you to make a difference, as you will be part of a team and a community that is committed to farming in a biodynamic way that serves the community; a way of life rather than just a job!
Who we are
Old Plaw Hatch Farm is a 200 acre farm on the edge of the Ashdown Forest near Sharpthorne. It has been a biodynamic farm for over 30 years and is owned by a charitable trust. As tenant farmers our aim is to provide as wide a range of produce as possible, principally to the local community. Our prices reflect the true cost of food production allowing for re-investment towards the sustainability of the farm. We are a mixed farm with a dairy herd providing raw milk, cheeses, yoghurts and cream. We also keep some sheep, pigs and laying hens and meat is processed through our butchery. A garden of 12 acres provides a range of seasonally available fruit and vegetables. Most of this produce is sold through our farm shop with a little being sold through other local outlets.
The farm employs approximately 25 people, some of whom live on site, as well as hosting volunteers. The farm land and buildings are owned by St Anthony's Trust and the farm business is owned by Tablehurst and Plaw Hatch Community Farm, a community-owned co-operative. The farm comprises five enterprises; the shop, garden, farm (husbandry and arable), dairy and butchery. The managers of these enterprises along with the Farm Business Manager form the Management Team, which runs the operations of the farm.
Our Values Statement
“We at Old Plaw Hatch Farm employ a biodynamic agricultural approach that values sustainable husbandry of the land and responsible and loving welfare of the animals. We value the people who contribute to the farm’s day to day activities and seek to create a working environment that honours integrity, peace, happiness, honesty, personal responsibility, passion, love, authenticity, freedom and balance, and which celebrates the beauty of the farm’s natural environment.
We embrace challenges. We highly value our connection to the local community, of which we are all also individual parts, and strive to operate a farm business that is a transparent example of ethical and sustainable agriculture on every level, offering on living display the full cycle of food production. We seek to provide a working farm environment which honours learning, teaching, and personal and community growth and development. We operate an ethical financial approach which is in harmony with our values. We see ourselves as stewards of the farm, embodying man’s sacred relationship to the land, creating a legacy of richness at every level for future generations.”
The key duties are outlined below:
Oversee and manage the administration team.
Manage the financial and report aspects of the farm to include; preparing and interpreting financial reports, liaising with external accountants, maintaining adherence to financial regulations and legislation.
Oversee day to day financial operations such as payroll, invoicing, purchasing, banking etc.
Negotiate contracts for utilities, insurance, rates, waste management etc. and submit grant applications.
Oversee marketing/promotional material.
Liaise with and provide information for stakeholders.
Work with enterprise managers to identify areas for improvement and assist where necessary in implementing new processes
Provide full and comprehensive administrative support to the farm enterprises and management as appropriate, including managing the office and responding to enquiries.
Work to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
This role requires the person to be an excellent proven manager, who has strong communication, negotiation and collaboration skills with an inclusive style. Sharing our values and striving for improvement in embodying them on a day to day basis is essential for this role.
The successful candidate must be approachable, organised, motivated and a team player with flexibility and the capability to solve problems and work as an enthusiastic member of the management team.
This post necessitates a very high level of numeracy and literacy skills, financial management experience as well as a sound understanding of computer packages to manage the everyday needs of the farm.
You must have good time management and have the ability to prioritise with the ability to see the big picture as well as excellent attention to detail due to the variety of the role.