What is Agribusiness Management?
Individuals who pursue a career in agribusiness management often have a passion for or desire to work as a leader in the agricultural industry. There are many types of management jobs to choose from related to production, finance, marketing, and farm or ranch management. It’s a field where economics, business, and agriculture merge, and individuals often study and gain experience in all three in order to be successful. Jobs in this field are available in both the public and private sectors, such as government agencies and large corporations. Some individuals decide to go into business for themselves, such as to operate a family farm.
Agribusiness management programs are offered at many major universities and colleges, as well as community colleges and private institutions. Students can earn an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree, and a few of the careers that students are prepared for include farm manager, commodity trader, and wholesale buyer. Some students study agribusiness in order to manage their own farm or ranch more successfully, while others seek corporate careers with major agricultural companies or decide to work for smaller farm operations. The coursework at most schools often includes marketing and advertisement, agricultural merchandise, and finance and management.
Some agribusiness jobs do not directly deal with farm operations. There are options for those who want a career in agribusiness management but don’t want to work directly with running a farm. For example, an individual can launch a career as a manager in a company that manufactures farming equipment and machinery. Working in retail of the final products produced by farmers is another opportunity for individuals who prefer a career that indirectly relates to farm operations. Food packaging is yet another career option that some individuals are attracted to that removes them from hands-on farm and ranch management.
The job outlook for agribusiness managers is growing, as there are few qualified individuals for the many jobs that are available. There is often an ongoing need in marketing agricultural products as compared to other areas, and working as a marketer is often a good entry level into the industry. For example, marketing managers often help to identify and develop businesses for farmers or corporations that own farms and want to wholesale or retail food or other products. Individuals in those positions must often be skilled at managing people and have an understanding of the business and economics of agribusiness.
@everetra - I agree that farmers face acute risks on a scale that doesn’t affect other businesses. For this reason I favor continued farm subsidies. Farmers face increasing financial pressures to ensure that quality products get out to market at competitive prices.
Subsidies have helped these farmers meet the shortfalls you cited that sometimes happen as a result of bad weather destroying crop yields.
Farmers produce a product that we simply cannot live without, and so I think it’s important that we help them as much as we can.
I’m sure if you pursue an agri career, you will learn about business management principles as they relate to subsidies as well, so that your farming operation can remain profitable and competitive.
I believe that agribusiness risk management has got to be one of the most important concerns you would face if pursuing a career in agribusiness of any kind. Consider one of the risks that farmers face-the weather.
This variable impacts their bottom line more significantly than it does for just about any other business. When production yields fall below quotas because of cold weather, farmers can experience losses totaling millions of dollars.
As an example consider the cold frosts that have destroyed Florida’s orange crops in years past. I’m not an agriculture specialist, so I’m not sure how you would handle this risk except maybe try to not build your business around one crop alone, or perhaps plant it in different locations, I don’t know.
I think an agribusiness degree would be useful for someone who would wanted to handle either the outputs or the inputs (as economists like to call them) of the agriculture industry. That is to say, these would be things that farms produce, as well as products used by farms as well.
I’ve also heard that you can tweak your agribusiness degree to reflect more hard sciences like biotechnology as well. I know one person who graduated with an emphasis on biofuels because she was interested in alternative fuels and wanted to work in a lab.
Alternative energy is still fairly new so the job opportunities have been limited, but still, it’s the wave of the future and an agribusiness degree would help get your foot in the door, I would think.
Agribusiness management doesn't get discussed very often but it is crucial for the continued stability of the food supply worldwide. Farming is no longer a family operation that exist on a small scale. Farms have been industrialized to an incredible extent and many sprawl across previously unimaginable tracts of land. Keeping a system of this scale functioning effectively takes a lot of work and some very careful management. Say what you will about corporate farmers, without them there would be a lot less food on the table.
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