Module: Agricultural Business Systems and Farm Buildings

Module details

Module content

This module will build on the level 4 modules in agriculture and building technology. It will help students to understand and analyse the factors – including infrastructure and buildings - that determine how agricultural businesses, and the enterprises that comprise them, are organized. The module will focus in particular on the key drivers of farming decisions in terms of the interplay between consumer demand, physical resources, labour, finances and management, taking into account issues such as the implications of government rules, regulation and support schemes. The module will therefore help students develop analytical skills that allow them to appraise the financial health of farm enterprises and businesses, which will allow them to assess the role of buildings and other physical resources in improving business efficiency.

The module will be taught by lecture sessions and seminars / tutorials, supported by farm visits, designed to enable students to assess a wide range of agricultural systems and associated infrastructure and buildings.

Module outcomes

To achieve credit for this module, students must be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the factors that determine how agricultural enterprises and businesses are organized and managed, taking into account key drivers such as government policy, labour, finances and physical resources.
  2. Plan for and assess financial performance in key agricultural enterprises and demonstrate the role that physical resources play in running successful farm businesses. 
  3. Assess the utility of existing farm buildings and structures (both modern and traditional) in the context of the enterprises, farms and estates that they serve, and identify the circumstances in which there is a need or the potential for re-use or development of such buildings.
  4. Present information and advice to farmers and landowners in a clear and concise manner.


Assessment Description Weighting
Coursework Case Study 1 - group coursework 40%
Coursework Case Study 2 – preparation and presentation of an individual report 60%

Assessments may differ in 2020/21 due to adjustments for Covid-19. Please check Gateway for the latest regulations.

Key texts

  • Nuthall, P. (2016) Farm business management. CABI Publishing.
  • Houldsworth, J.W.  (1967)  Repair and Maintenance of Agricultural Property  Estates Gazette
  • Sayce, R.B.  (1966)  Farm Buildings  Estates Gazette
  • Robinson, G. (ed) (2016) Sustainable rural systems. Routledge
  • The Environmental Stewardship (England) and Countryside Stewardship (Amendment) Regulations 2006 (Statutory Instruments)