Jobs in Agribusiness: Career Options and Requirements
Agribusiness degrees are offered at the associate, undergraduate and graduate levels. Continue on for an overview of the coursework and career and salary info for some career options for graduates.
Agribusiness jobs traditionally focus on the agricultural industry but currently span a variety of career arenas. Most farmers, ranchers, and other such managers learn their trades by growing up on a farm, but larger operations are increasingly in demand for managers with some postsecondary experience.
There are a variety of career options available in agribusiness. These options are often similar to any business related careers but with an agricultural focus. Agribusiness careers can cross into a multitude of industries as well, including farming, real estate, retail marketing, food processing and investments, just to name a few. Some of the most common career options available include:
- Farm appraiser: assessing the value of a farm, its employees and facilities
- Agricultural policy analyst: develops and analyzes policies that affect agricultural businesses
- Farm manager: manages daily operations of a farm, including crops and livestock
- Crop producer: grows grains, field crops, vegetables, fruits, nuts and more
- Grain and livestock buyer: buys supplies of grains, seeds and cattle for a farm's operations
- Market analyst: analyzes the financial condition of the agribusiness economic market
- Financer: provides financial assistance for agribusiness, such as matching crop suppliers with farms
- Quality controller: focuses on improving the output and quality of a farm's production
- Marketing head: leads marketing strategy for a farm, builds awareness and buzz
Agribusiness Education Requirements
Not all career options in agribusiness require an education, such as becoming a traditional farmer. However, due to shifts in the business culture and scientific implementation in agribusiness as a whole, formal education is quickly becoming the standard to gain entry into most related occupations. Education coupled with experience in an area of the industry in which a student would like to work should provide the best opportunities for employment and advancement. Some of the following degree options are strong choices to enter into any number of agribusiness careers:
Associate of Applied Science in Agribusiness
An Associate of Applied Science in Agribusiness is a 2-year degree program that prepares students for entry-level career options in agricultural industries. An Associate of Applied Science will provide an overview of agricultural topics, and courses generally are transferable to bachelor's degree programs. Common courses include:
- Agricultural accounting
- Livestock management
- Farming business
Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness
A Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness is a 4-year degree program that includes all general education requirements and provide specific focus to topics in agricultural business. Some common courses offered are:
- Agricultural economics
- Agribusiness management
- Farm product marketing
Master of Agribusiness
A Master of Agribusiness is an advanced 2-year degree program that requires a related undergraduate degree for entry. Common courses at the graduate level include:
- Agribusiness international marketing
- Agribusiness public policy
- Financial agricultural management
Salary and Job Outlook
Employment of farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers is projected to see a 2% decline over the 2014-2024 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports that the decline in this field is due in part to the increasing expense of farming supplies and equipment. In May 2015, the BLS reported that farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers made an average annual salary of $69,880.
The field of agriculture is very diverse, so there are many different career options with a range of different education requirements, from a high school diploma to a master's degree.