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

The industry's leading development programme for business owners and senior managers. An immersive and intensive 18-day residential management training programme designed for those working within agriculture and the land-based 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.

"This course has equipped me with the tools I require to succeed both personally and professionally within a demanding and changing industry." Course delegate, 2019

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.

Men walking by van

Course outcomes

This advanced course is 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

man and woman talking

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

Course dates

As we start the preparations for the 70th ACABM we are mindful that in the current circumstances the health and wellbeing of all future delegates, as well as our students and staff, remains the RAU’s first priority. No-one can predict how the COVID-19 situation will develop, but please be assured that we are continually monitoring it. As a consequence, we are aware that any course dates we publish at the moment are subject to change as things inevitably progress. In the spirit of optimism and positivity please keep checking this page for any updated information on dates and deadlines.


Interviews will be held by invitation at the Farmers' and Fletchers' Hall, London from 2-3 September 2020. Awards for places on the course will be made within 2 weeks of the interviews. This year the course will be delivered at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester from 15 November to 4 December 2020.

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

Group of men and women in Growth Hub, Cirencester

ACABM19 delegates

"This was the most enjoyable and productive three weeks of my career. If you want to get to know yourself, this course is for you." Course delegate, 2019

Further information

To find out more please visit Worshipful Company of Farmers (WCF) and read the course details. Further information can also be found by downloading our leaflet about the course.

Apply now

Applications are open for the 2020 course.

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

If you would like any further information, please call the Professional Development office at the Royal Agricultural University on 01285 889879.