A Comprehensive Guide to an MS in Agribusiness

Are you interested in agriculture? Do you wish to build a career in agribusiness? Discover the pros & cons, sectors, top universities, job outlook, profits, and everything else you need to know before chasing your dream of building a career in agribusiness in this definitive guide.

Why study Agribusiness?

If you are fascinated by the idea of producing supplies for all and understanding the business side of agriculture, agribusiness would be the ideal choice for you. You will get an opportunity to locate, analyze, interpret, synthesize, and apply information to agribusiness problems and opportunities. You will also gain specialized knowledge in agribusiness management and business and communication skills.

Like every other industry, there are some pros and cons to agribusiness.


  • Agribusiness has a low correlation to mainstream assets like equities, property, fixed income, and cash.
  • The population growth indicates the demand for food and agricultural products.
  • Tax benefits.
  • It allows for diversification as you have opportunities to work in multiple fields.


  • Agricultural investments can be affected by environmental or climatic influences and have risks posed to natural disasters.
  • The industry is based on assets that have zero liquidity.
  • High debts must be taken before you start drawing profits.
  • Personal risk

What is Agribusiness?

Agribusiness is a subfield of business, management, and organization studies that deal with making a profit from agriculture and corporate farming. The production, processing, and inventory of agricultural goods are also included in agribusiness. It also involves the management of agronomic equipment and technologies, raw materials, suppliers, workforce, and other resources involved in agriculture.


Agribusiness has two different sectors: private and public. The private sector is the economy associated with private profit and is not controlled by the government. The public sector mainly deals with the delivery of goods and services by and for the government.

The agribusiness industry can also be divided into three different sectors:

Agribusiness input sector

This sector includes all resources involved in producing farm commodities.

Agribusiness output sector

The output sector includes agribusiness that affects an agricultural commodity between the production and the consumer.

Agriservices sector

This includes people who research new ways of producing and marketing food, protect food producers, and provide specialized services to all areas of agriculture.

Some of the examples of agribusiness activities include:

  • Research and development of new agricultural methods
  • Management of agricultural production facilities
  • Distribution of farming supplies and equipment
  • Processing of agricultural products
  • The term ‘Agribusiness’ was coined by John Herbert Davis and Ray A. Goldberg in the 1950s.

The Importance of Agribusiness

The contribution of agriculture in the development of the economy cannot be denied. The importance of agribusiness can be understood from the following factors,

  • Influence on National Income

The contribution of agriculture towards the gross domestic product is substantial, and it is not a surprise that agribusiness has a significant influence on the national income.

  • Employment opportunities
  • Food for the ever-increasing population
  • A significant contribution to capital formation

The agricultural business field includes resource management, farming, conservation, ranching, and sales. While studying agribusiness, you learn more about farming, management, production, and marketing of agricultural commodities.
There are three major components to agribusiness: production and distribution of farm inputs, actual crop or animal production, and the processing and distribution of farm produce.

Some of the advantages of Agribusiness mentioned in the Iowa State University website are as follows:

  1. More training in agriculture
  2. More training in Econ and Ag Business
  3. Fewer students to compete against in the job market
  4. Can capitalize on ag or rural background, although not required
  5. More personal, one-on-one advising
  6. Can take advantage of Iowa State’s strong national Ag reputation
  7. More flexibility in job market

Types of Agribusiness

The three main types of agribusiness are:

  • Single proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Corporation

Studying Agribusiness

Most of the agribusiness degree programs include courses in agricultural science, farm finance, animal science and international trade policies. A bachelor’s degree in agribusiness is a 4-year program, and you also have the option to go for an associate’s degree, which is a 2-year program.

A master’s degree in agribusiness is a 2-year program and requires you to have a bachelor’s degree. You might also have to submit your GRE score and previous professional experience in the industry depending upon the university. A master’s program can take one to three years to complete, and some programs may require the completion of an internship.
Let’s discuss some of the bachelors, associates, and master’s degrees in agribusiness:

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree helps you build knowledge in agribusiness marketing, management, economics, and production. Some of the topics discussed in this program are:

  • Animal Science
  • Accounting for agricultural business
  • Economics of agriculture (micro and macro)
  • Agricultural marketing
  • Agricultural resource analysis
  • Agricultural law and policy

Associate’s Degree

These programs help you develop marketing, management, agricultural systems, and problem-solving skills. Some of the specialized courses are:

  • Farm accounting and finance
  • Agricultural science
  • Management and operations in agribusiness
  • Natural resource and agriculture economics
  • Managing agricultural enterprise

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree program in agribusiness focuses on marketing, production, economics, and management. Some of the course topics are:

  • 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

Top Universities

Here are some of the best universities across the world to pursue your masters in agribusiness:

  1. Wageningen University
  2. University of California, Davis
  3. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  4. AgroParisTech
  5. Cornell University
  6. University of California, Berkeley
  7. ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
  8. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  9. University of Reading
  10. China Agricultural University
  11. Michigan State University
  12. Ghent University
  13. Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  14. University of British Columbia
  15. The University of Tokyo
  16. Iowa State University
  17. University of Hohenheim
  18. University of Copenhagen
  19. University of Guelph
  20. Purdue University

What is an Agribusiness MBA?

An MBA in agribusiness is related to the business of crop cultivation, food production, and the various related business concepts in agriculture. It is a 2-year program designed to train future mid and upper-level executives in the food and agriculture industries.

Some of the courses include managerial economics, advanced agribusiness management, quantitative analysis for business decisions, and global food supply chain management. The primary criterion for eligibility is to have a basic qualification of graduation in agriculture.

What is the most profitable farming business?

If you are thinking of starting an agribusiness and are wondering about the most profitable farming businesses, here are some of the examples:

  • Agricultural Farm
  • Vermicompost Organic Fertilizer Production
  • Dried Flower Business
  • Fertilizer Distribution Business
  • Organic Farm GreenHouse
  • Poultry Farming
  • Mushroom Farming Business
  • Hydroponic Retail Store
  • Sunflower Farming
  • BeeKeeping Business
  • Fish Farming
  • Fruits and Vegetables Export
  • Florist

What is the role of farm management in agricultural business?

Proper management of farmland is vital for any agricultural business as it maximizes the income of investment farmland. You need to focus on the following areas to optimize the return on investment:

  • Profitability
  • Leasing
  • Production
  • Fertility
  • Conservation
  • Capital Improvements
  • Additional Revenue Opportunities
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Communication

What is truck farming?

It is the production of crops of certain vegetables on an extensive scale in regions for shipment to distant markets. Truck farming is also known as market gardening and mainly involves shipping seasonal crops to relatively distant markets where their cultivation is limited by climate.

The most important types of truck crops are tomatoes, lettuce, melons, beets, broccoli, celery, radishes, onions, cabbage, and strawberries.

Careers and Job Outlook

What can you do with an associate’s degree in agribusiness?

Some possible career options you have after completing an associate’s degree in agribusiness are:

  • Agriculture marketing manager
  • Agriculture inspector
  • Farm manager
  • Livestock buyer/seller
  • Agriculture product sales representative
  • Purchasing agent

What can I do with a degree in agribusiness?

Some of the careers you can get with a degree in agribusiness include:

  • Agribusiness Owner/Manager
  • Agriculture Operations Specialist
  • Agronomy Salesperson
  • Business Manager
  • Claims Processor
  • Compliance Analyst
  • Farmer
  • Financial Analyst
  • Grain Manager/Superintendent
  • Loan Officer
  • Marketer
  • Plantation Manager
  • Ranch Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Salesperson

The field of agriculture is very diverse, and hence, there are many job opportunities for an agribusiness graduate. The average salary made by farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers is around $71,774. Even though a 2% decline in employment is projected from 2014 to 2024, the opportunities are plenty for all since the demand for crops and food will always be high.