Agribusiness is the study of the business aspects of farming, often with a particular focus on economics and business administration. There are agribusiness degrees available at the associates, bachelor's, master's, and PhD levels, each often with a specific focus on certain aspects of agriculture. At the associate level, a degree in agribusiness technology is available; at the bachelor level, degrees in agribusiness management, agricultural economics, food marketing, and others may be available. The Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree as well as the PhD in agribusiness and managerial economics are available at the graduate level.
At the associate's level, a student may want to pursue a degree in agribusiness generally or one in agribusiness technology. Associates agribusiness degrees focus on teaching students on how to help run a family farm or manage a commercial farming venture. The focus is on the business aspects of farm work, including accounting, agribusiness economics, animal production, and business management. A degree in agribusiness technology focuses more on the technical aspects of agriculture, including sales and marketing of off-farm businesses like fertilizer sales or feed mills. Studies at the associate's level may be an adequate pre-requisite for those seeking higher agribusiness degrees.
A number of different bachelor's degree programs in agribusiness are available. Some programs focus on the management of food production systems, while other programs focus on soil science and plant cultivation. There are several specializations within the program, such as agricultural business management, which teaches production, finance, and marketing; and agricultural economics, which looks at the analytical and statistical aspects of agricultural products.
The Master of Agribusiness (MAB) is for individuals who are looking for specialized training in the field. Depending on the school offering this degree, it may be focused on business and financial analysis and strategic management, or offer greater options for specialization, including studies in food marketing, business management, or international trade. Some schools also offer a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in agricultural business management.
Some schools offer students the option of completing a PhD in agribusiness. These advanced agribusiness degrees are often sharply focused on the economics of agriculture and public administration. Economic theory and quantitative analysis is also often emphasized.
Generally, the career opportunities that are available to students depends on the level of agribusiness degrees earned and the specialization of a particular program. Associate's degrees may prepare a student for work in a fertilizer business or grain elevators. A bachelor's degree could prepare someone for work in agricultural marketing or farm management. An MAB degree could be good preparation for a job with a large agriculture company working in product development or international trade. Someone interested in economics and policy making might want to pursue a PhD.