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ACE2020 : Farm Business Management

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jeremy Robert Franks
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aims of this module are

1 This module incorporates financial information to build on and complement Stage 1 modules which described agricultural systems and examined the way different systems used resources (land, labour, management and capital).
2 To give a basic introduction to the main methods used to combine these resources to develop profitable enterprises and farm businesses.
3 To introduce the basic elements of a set of farm business accounts (Profit and Loss Account, Balance Sheet, and Net Cash Flow)
4 To demonstrate techniques that are used to maintain financial control of a farm enterprise and business, such as benchmarking performance, cash flow budgeting, financial appraisal, and the use of management accounts.
5 To emphasis the linkage between farm business performance and support payments and market revenue.

Outline Of Syllabus

Basic farming budget techniques, such as gross margins, variable and fixed (overhead) costs are calculated. Within this the importance of surplus capacity and of economies of scale, and the management challenges this brings to the development of a business.
The management of cash flow, and the recording of invoices.
The concepts and mechanisms used to calculate depreciation.
Introduction to basic farm accounts; Profit and Loss, Net Cash Flow, and Balance sheets
Students are introduced to farm budgeting software and are able to develop Net Cash Flow, Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet budgets.
The basic Common Agricultural Policy support mechanisms are introduced, including the direct payment scheme, agri- environment schemes, and rural development policy. A review of the success of these policies is undertaken in the context of the on-going reviews of agricultural policy.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Students work in pairs to submit their valuation reports
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion117:0017:00Semester 2 examination and immediate preparation for the exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00Lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops23:006:00Follow-up work related to computer workshop
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops41:004:00Workshops based on spreadsheet-based computer tools
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork13:003:00Farm visit, assessed exercise (valuation)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study14:004:00Homework, related to in-class workshop
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:0020:00research and reading beyond the taught material
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study018:0018:00Lecture follow-up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are designed to give students an understanding of the fundamental activities involved in managing the resources typically found on farms in the UK: land, labour, capital, and management expertise.
Workshops, within lectures, give students opportunities to put into practice the main themes and topics of the lecture. These are handed in, marked and returned to be used for formative assessment.
The small group teaching gives students hands-on experience of spreadsheet work, developing their confidence and knowledge of how accounts interact with each other.
Farm-based field work encourages students to develop team working and assessment skills.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A100A two hour examination worth 100% of the module marks.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises2MStudents answer questions based on the module during a workshop. Feedback is given in the following lecture.
Written exercise2MValuation Exercise. Students value farm assets during a farm visit. This is a team assignment.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module is examined by one assignment worth 100% of the total marks.

The written exam requires students to integrate financial and enterprise management, and examine their ability to write coherently and concisely.
The workshops require students to work in pairs to complete spreadsheet-based budgets for a whole farm is not formally assessed. This aspect of the module is further developed in ACE3024, and ACE3036. This accounts for the co-requisite for this module for students studying ACE3024 and ACE3036.
Study abroad students may request a take-away exam paper to be returned via NESS.

The formative assessment provides students with an opportunity to clarify their learning and understanding and gain feedback before progressing with the module and summative assessments.

Reading Lists