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Master's Degrees in Agricultural Finance

Learn about the common coursework found in agricultural finance master's programs as well as how you can apply to a program of this type. Also, explore possible careers paths for after you earn your degree.

Agricultural Finance Master's Program Overview

There are several types of master's degree programs in agricultural finance, including degrees in agribusiness and agricultural economics. These types of programs usually include the study of business, economics, and management topics in the context of food, agriculture, and livestock. Most include anywhere from 30-45 credits and take around 2 years to complete. Admission requirements usually include a bachelor's degree, a minimum GPA, work experience in the field and scores from the GRE or GMAT.

Agribusiness Risk Management

Risk management is all about understanding the inherent risks that go along with business ventures. With a special focus on agribusiness, this course gives students a good foundation of different risk management techniques, such as hedging, insurance, and diversification. Students might also study the risks that come from output and input pricing and enterprise organizations.

Macroeconomics and Microeconomics

Typically, master's programs in agricultural finance include either one or two courses on macroeconomics and microeconomics. Macroeconomics covers topics related to employment, interest rates, and employment, while microeconomics covers such things as pricing and the markets. Some courses take a wider view as well and teach students how to make financial decisions based on economic factors within agribusiness.

Agriculture Legal Issues

Usually, agricultural finance-focused programs include a course that explores the unique legal issues surrounding agriculture and agribusiness. Students study the laws and regulations that affect the food industry, including such things as food labeling, food safety, and even animal welfare. Some courses also examine the legal structuring of farm businesses, legal trade issues, and the US Farm Bill.

Food Supply Chain Management

To help students understand the logistics behind bringing agricultural products to the market and how the agribusiness supply chain works, they are usually required to take a course that centers on food supply chains. This course examines the management aspects of supply chains, including strategic design and risk mitigation. Other topics that are covered include quality control, inventory management, and waiting line management.

Agribusiness Marketing

As one important part of agribusiness is the selling of products, these types of master's programs usually include a course that covers marketing strategies and concepts. Students study different marketing theories and then apply those theories to the agriculture business world in order to create marketing plans for food and other agricultural products. Some courses might also touch on related marketing topics, such as global trade, international marketing, and global competitiveness.

Admission Requirements for Agricultural Finance Master's Programs

For admittance, agricultural finance-related master's programs require a bachelor's degree with some programs requiring a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Further, a limited number of programs may require professional work experience and/or specific undergraduate coursework that prepares you for the program. Other materials that you must submit as part of the application process include transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume.

Types of Agricultural Finance Careers

A master's degree in agricultural finance is an excellent way to prepare yourself for a business career in agriculture. Here are a few of the positions you may be qualified for upon graduation.

Industrial Production Managers

Industrial production managers, also known as plant managers, work in manufacturing plants, and with a degree in agricultural finance, you could pursue a position in a food-related plant. In this position, you are responsible for making sure a plant runs smoothly, overseeing workers and their safety, and fixing any production issues.

Farmers, Ranchers, or Agricultural Managers

Farmers and ranchers are typically the owners and managers of large organizations that produce crops, dairy products, or livestock. They are responsible for caring for livestock, growing crops, and maintaining equipment. They must also oversee the financial parts of running a farm, such as devising pricing strategies. Agricultural managers are responsible for managing the operations of a farm or ranch but may not be the owners. They may also supervise workers, budgets, and sales.

Operations Research Analysts

An operations research analyst is someone who works to come up with fixes to business problems or find ways to facilitate more efficient production. They use their research skills to analyze issues, such as distribution or supply chain issues, and then they find a solution that benefits their company.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2019) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Industrial Production Managers $105,480 1%
Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers $71,160 -1%
Operations Research Analysts $84,810 26%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Master's degrees in agricultural finance, or agribusiness, include the study of business concepts, such as management, economics, and marketing, from the perspective of the food and animal business. A master's degree of this type will prepare you for a business-focused career in the world of agriculture.