What Is Agricultural Business?

Agricultural business, also known as agribusiness, is the farming, management, production, and marketing of agricultural commodities, such as livestock and crops. The agricultural business field includes resource management, farming, conservation, ranching, and sales. As technology has progressed and markets have become increasingly global, agricultural business has developed to meet and solve high-tech farming needs and problems. Schools offering Landscape Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Industry Defined

Modern farming, including raising crops for food and fuel, and raising animals for food, wool, and more, is a complex industry. As farmers learn to compete and remain viable in a global marketplace, they draw upon business principles and a complex network of agriculture and business professionals. This includes taking advantage of new advances in farming, such as bioengineering, mechanization, and new breeding practices, deciding how to sell crops, whether locally or on a commodities exchange, and managing and insuring land in the most profitable manner. As an agricultural business professional, you might work in any of these areas, either as a farmer or as a business professional supporting farmers.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2018) $67,950 (for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) -1% Little or no change (for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers)
Similar Occupations Agricultural and food science technicians, agricultural workers
Work Environment Outdoor work, mostly on ranches and farms but possible office settings as well
Key Skills Analytical, critical thinking, mechanical skills and physical strength

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Agricultural Business vs. Agribusiness

While the term agricultural business is sometimes shortened to agribusiness, it is worth noting that agribusiness can sometimes have a different meaning. Large organizations that purchase crops or other farming products from farmers are often referred to as agribusinesses, and it is these agribusinesses that produce the products you see in grocery stores.

Education Options

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) notes that it has become increasingly important to have an associate's or bachelor's degree to become an agricultural business professional, especially a farmer, farm manager, or ranch manager. These degrees can help prepare you for a variety of career options in the fields of insurance, banking and financing, land and livestock appraisals, farming equipment sales, marketing, farm management, and agricultural law.

Associate's Degree

Associate's degree programs often give you the option to specialize in a particular facet of agricultural business, whether it's crop management, horticulture, animal science, or technology. These degrees are offered as Associate of Applied Arts and Sciences, Associate of Arts, or Associate of Science degrees, and many are designed specifically for transfer to a bachelor's degree program. Some degree programs are designed to prepare you to enter the agricultural business field immediately upon graduation.

Bachelor's Degree

Bachelor's degree programs in agricultural business and agricultural business management prepare you to handle the business side of farming. In these programs, you will take courses on topics such as marketing, finance, microeconomics, accounting, management, and agricultural policy. In addition to learning about the business of agriculture, you'll have the opportunity to apply your skills in the real world through internships and study abroad programs. To further these real-world skills, some schools offer a chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association, which keeps its members up-to-date in agricultural business and marketing.

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