The Worshipful Company of Farmers' Advanced Course in Agricultural Business Management (ACABM)

The industry's leading development programme for business owners and senior managers. An immersive and intensive management training programme incorporating both online and residential elements, designed for those working within agriculture and the land-based sector.

The 2024 programme will be the 73rd in its history, a testament to its enduring value to the sector.

From farm managers to agricultural solicitors, land agents, farm advisers and agricultural business owners, more than 1,200 delegates have completed this renowned course since its inception in 1963. Many now hold influential positions within agriculture and its allied industries. 

The focus of the programme is on giving delegates the opportunity to review and understand all the internal and external factors that are likely to determine the success of the business they work in and to begin to develop plans and the skill-set required, to grow, add value and/or diversify successfully.

“The learning curve wasn’t so much a curve – more a vertical rocket trajectory! I can honestly say life will not be the same again. If you want to grow, if you want to be at the forefront of agriculture, to be an advocate for rural businesses and make an impact, then you need to get on this course! The only qualification required is that you must be good at what you do and have the hunger and desire to be great!”   

2022 Delegate

ACABM delegates

Each participant is exposed to a wide range of industry-leading, visiting experts and presenters. Participants work with the rest of their delegate group, in a robust but highly collaborative environment to establish a clear vision of the future for themselves and their business.

Programme outcomes

Designed for individuals seeking to develop the business skills and acumen needed to directly influence the performance and prospects of their organisation, our programme enables you to develop your skills in:

  • Understanding both internal and external strategic issues (political, financial and environmental)
  • Team management across the business, including motivating and empowering staff
  • Identifying and appraising opportunities for future investment and business growth
  • Understanding the requirements of lenders when assessing funding proposals
  • Understanding the routes to market, marketing strategies, brand development and brand positioning
  • Appreciating the process of management and family/ownership succession

The course covers themes such as:

  • Business strategy
  • Personal development
  • Financial management
  • Investment appraisal
  • Performance management
  • Risk management
  • Change management
  • Marketing
  • Managing and motivating staff
  • Communication skills
  • Time management
  • Succession

“Everything about the programme is of the highest calibre and you will make some great friends for life. I would advocate even more so for more women to apply. Diversity will always make the learning environment much more beneficial to all and the remarkable women working in agri-food need to gain more recognition; this is the perfect forum in which to do so.”

2018 Delegate


Delegates from 2022 ACABM course

Image shows delegates of 2022

Programme dates and funding

Interviews are held by invitation in London in July, each year. Awards for places on the programme are made within two weeks of the interviews. The programme comprises pre-residential online content delivery at the beginning of November, followed by a two-week residential programme at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester in mid-November, and then post-programme group Zooms in December and February of the following year. In addition, there is an opportunity for one-to-one online coaching in December and January.

Delegates are resident on campus, including the weekend, which facilitates group bonding and allows collaborative working on case studies. The location of the programme means that the group is accommodated together, allowing interaction with staff and students at the university in addition to the speakers delivering on the programme.

Each year we seek to bring together a diverse cohort of successful applicants in order to provide as broad a context as possible for learning. This diversity informs the programme throughout, keeping it fluid and allowing for fresh perspectives, challenging viewpoints and a richer shared experience.

For individual queries on any of the above, please email:

“Just brilliant! Incredible breadth and depth of speakers. I feel the course has really helped my confidence - thank you! Extremely relevant for my role. Surpassed expectations.”

2022 Delegate

Further information

To find out more please visit Worshipful Company of Farmers (WCF). You can also download our leaflet about the course, as well as details on fees and funding support options.

Delegates being interviewed for ACABM course

How to apply: 

You can apply for the 73rd Advanced Course in Agricultural Management (ACABM) via the application portal here:

Contact the Worshipful Company of Farmers about ACABM