A career in agribusiness may not be high on your list of things to do, but if you have grown up in a farming community, it’s a natural route. While it helps to have a good understanding of the agricultural business, an in-depth knowledge is not necessary. People working in agribusiness pursue a wide range of different careers, from helping farmers in sub-Saharan Africa develop a sustainable business to managing cattle ranches in Virginia.
It’s never too early to start thinking about a career. Most people start to consider their options when they are making the transition from high school to college, so if you are currently weighing up whether to study for a science degree followed by a master of science in nursing, now is a good time to consider a career in agribusiness and open your horizons a bit wider.
Education vs. Practical Experience
There is no doubt that experience in agriculture will stand you in good stead, whether that comes from working on a farm or growing up in a farming community, but don’t dismiss the benefits of education. Formal education is the best route into a career in agribusiness. Practical hands-on experience is highly beneficial, but a strong degree in a related field of study combined with experience will help you achieve your career ambitions more quickly.
Different Career Pathways
There are several different degree pathways students interested in a career in agribusiness should consider, but a BS in Agribusiness, or a closely related field is a good place to start. For most degrees in agribusiness, courses last for four years and cover a wide variety of topics, including agricultural economics, farm product marketing and agribusiness management. This will give you a good grounding in the basics you will need if you want to start a new agricultural business or manage an existing business.
Career Advancement Opportunities
If you have ambitions to move up the management ladder within the field of agribusiness, it’s a good idea to study for a masters in agribusiness. As with any master’s program, you can expect to study related topics at a more in-depth level. Masters of agribusiness courses typically cover topics such as financial agricultural management, public policy and international marketing, so this would be a smart choice if you want to work for a global agribusiness company. Some data suggests that agribusiness job opportunities are in decline, but this is a highly diverse field of employment and there are always jobs available for the right candidates. If you have a talent for agribusiness and a willingness to work hard in your chosen field of study, you should have no problem earning a good annual salary, particularly if you strive for a senior management role.
Top universities offering degrees in agribusiness include Cornell, Iowa State, University of Georgia and Michigan State University. You may also wish to investigate online degree courses, such as a masters of science in nursing online, which are more flexible than traditional full-time courses. And for those already looking for agribusiness internships or jobs, be sure to check out AgCareers.com or AgExplorer.com.