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

The industry's leading development course 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. This year’s course will be the 71st 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 course 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.

“Do I expect this course to change my life? Yes. I have no doubt that I will look back and remember that it gave me the Focus, Confidence and Direction which will put me on a different trajectory to the one I was on before.”   

2016 Delegate

Each participant is supported by the University staff and 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.

Course outcomes

Designed for individuals seeking to develop the business skills and acumen needed to directly influence the performance and prospects of their organisation, our three-week residential course 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

“The ability to bring together over forty industry-leading speakers on a range of topics for one course is amazing. The willingness of those speakers to give so much of their experience, expert knowledge and time, whilst being challenged by us, made the course.”

2019 Delegate

Covid-19 update - As we move forwards into next year and beyond, whilst learning how to live alongside this pandemic’s legacy, we would like to reassure all our delegates – present and future - that your health and wellbeing as well as that of our students and staff, will remain a paramount consideration at the RAU. Check here for ongoing updates relevant to this course.

Course dates

 We are delighted to confirm the recruitment process is now open for the November 2022 course.

Interviews will be held by invitation in London in early September 2022. Exact dates to be confirmed. Awards for places on the course will be made within two weeks of the interviews. The course will then be delivered at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester from 13-26 November 2022.

Delegates are resident on campus, including the weekend, which facilitates group bonding and allows collaborative working on case studies. The location of the course 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.

If you have concerns that the course may be cost-prohibitive for you, some financial assistance is available.

For individual queries on any of the above, please email Elizabeth Badger, Professional Development Manager at the Royal Agricultural University: elizabeth.badger@rau.ac.uk

Group of men and women in Growth Hub, Cirencester

ACABM19 delegates

“Everything about the course 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

Further information

To find out more please visit Worshipful Company of Farmers (WCF) and read the course details. You can also download our leaflet about the course.

Apply now

We are currently receiving expressions of interest and applications Closing date for applications will now be 30 June 2022.

If you would like to apply for the 71st Advanced Course in Agricultural Business Management (ACABM) please download and complete the application form and email to professional.development@rau.ac.uk.