Many consider starting an agribusiness because the world’s growing population and its inelastic demand for food make the idea completely feasible in a number of regions. Agribusinesses consist of farms, food production facilities and organizations that provide equipment and supplies to actual food producers. While large agribusinesses dominant the industry in the United States, small agricultural companies gain reputations in niche sectors like organic food production, heirloom seed supply and even agricultural tourism. Those who want to enter the agribusiness sector often enroll in undergraduate degree programs in agricultural science or agricultural business. Here are some of the course topics within those degree programs and an overview of how the instructional topics can apply to real world agricultural careers.
Agricultural Policy and Regulations
It is best to understand the policies and regulations that govern the agricultural industry before one considers starting an agricultural related business or even a career in agriculture. It is even more important that those who are bound for professions in agriculture understand how policies and regulations are made, which groups benefit from the policies and how to obtain a political voice in the agricultural policy making process. Most university degree programs in agricultural business include instruction on course topics like water law, land use law and international agricultural trade. These courses require that students have foundational knowledge of economics since economic factors heavily influence agricultural policy making in the United States (U.S.). Students who want to start small, organic farms will especially want to be aware of the policies and regulations within their industry like the National Organic Program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Agricultural Commodities Marketing
Identifying prospective customers and making them aware of the value of an organization’s products or services is at the heart of all marketing activities. However, the challenges faced by those marketing agricultural commodity products are different from the ones encountered by organizations that operate in other industries. For example, non-agricultural organizations can forecast sales for their products fairly accurately based on historic data and market trends. However, many farm agribusinesses can have unpredictable supply levels because of weather conditions. These unpredictable conditions can result in supply surpluses that cause the farmers to make less money from each agricultural commodity product that is harvested. Course topics on agricultural marketing can help future farm owners and business managers to mitigate risks to their bottom lines through the development and implementation of analytically based decision making frameworks.
Agricultural Entrepreneurship and Business Management
The principles of marketing, finance, logistics and human resources combine to form the basis for agriculture business management courses. The development of these skills are important for new small farm owners or people who work as farm managers on larger farms. During the course topics on agricultural entrepreneurship and business management, students get exposed to common challenges faced by agribusinesses, and they develop the critical thinking and problem solving skills that are needed to propose feasible solutions.
An estimated 805 million people of the world’s seven billion person population lack adequate food according to a report published by the social change advocacy group called DoSomething.org. This fact makes operating or working for an agribusiness a very rewarding career choice for many who want to promote positive social change in the world.