The curricula for agricultural business degree programs include courses in agricultural science, farm finance, animal science and international trade policies. For admission into a two-year associate or four-year bachelor's degree program, students need a high school diploma or equivalent.
Admission to a graduate degree program in agricultural business requires students to have a bachelor's degree. Other typical prerequisites include familiarity with computer technology, accounting methodologies, statistics and economics. Students may also need access to a personal computer that meets a school's technical requirements.
Master's degree programs could also request the submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores and previous professional experience in the industry. Some programs may be offered through hybrid on-campus and online formats.
A master's program can take one to three years to finish, and some programs may require the completion of an internship or thesis before graduation.
Associates Degree in Agricultural Business
Students in associate's degree programs in agricultural business develop marketing, management, agricultural systems and problem-solving skills. Classes include required credits in agribusiness as well as liberal arts, science and general elective courses. Graduates are awarded an Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, depending on the program. Some typical specialized courses include:
- Farm accounting and finance
- Agricultural science
- Management and operations in agribusiness
- Natural resource and agriculture economics
- Managing agricultural enterprise
Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Business
Bachelor's degree programs are intended for students who want to build their knowledge of agribusiness marketing, management, economics and production. These programs use real-life agribusiness scenarios to educate students. Graduates are awarded a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Agricultural business baccalaureate degree programs include classes in English, history, science, political science, communications and fine arts, along with courses in the specialty. The following are examples of some classes:
- Animal Science
- Accounting for agricultural business
- Economics of agriculture (micro and macro)
- Agricultural marketing
- Agricultural resource analysis
- Agricultural law and policy
Master's Degree in Agricultural Business
Agricultural business graduate degree programs provide students the opportunity to study advanced agribusiness topics that focus on research and analysis. Some programs combine on-campus studies with distance education. Graduates are normally awarded a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree.
Classes in a master's degree program in agricultural business focus on marketing, production, economics and management. Other topics studied may include international trade and development, political issues, research, analysis and entrepreneurial studies. Course topics:
- Agribusiness economics and risk management
- Food system organization analysis
- Agribusiness strategic management
- Market research and analysis
- International trade and policy in agribusiness
- Futures, option and commodity market analysis
Popular Career Options
An associate's degree in agricultural business prepares students for entry-level positions in the field. Some graduates may find work as:
- Farmers and assistants
- Agricultural managers
Bachelor's degree programs in agricultural business prepare students to work in sales, production or management positions, among others. Some possible career options for graduates include:
- Agricultural transportation
- Livestock production
- Feedlot management
Master's degrees in agricultural business provide graduates with a variety of advanced career opportunities in the field. Graduates with these degrees can find positions in:
- Agricultural communications
- Agricultural finance
- Commodity merchandising
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings for farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers were predicted to decline 6% between the years 2019 and 2029. These workers earned median salaries of $68,090 as of May 2020, reports the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Earning a bachelor's degree can provide improved career opportunities in agricultural business. Many associate's degree programs are designed to allow students to transfer into a bachelor's degree program. A master's degree in agricultural business can help build experience in the field and provide the education needed for advancement. Also, continued education helps professionals keep up with new technology and advancements in agricultural business and research.
Ph.D. programs are also available in agricultural business for those who wish to earn a doctoral degree. Doctoral degree programs incorporate practical interaction with researchers and specialists associated with the agricultural business. In addition, agricultural managers can obtain voluntary professional certification from the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA). The designation of Accredited Farm Manager (AFM) is available for those who meet specific experience and academic requirements and who pass the applicable courses and examinations.
Students interested in the field of agricultural business can begin their studies at the associate's level and enter the career field or progress to a bachelor's degree program, which increases employment opportunities. Graduates of more advanced agricultural business programs at the master's level have even more options and can enter fields like merchandising and finance.