“Our twenty-first century economy may focus on agriculture, not information.” – James Howard Kunstler
As a platform that enables the world to grow, process and trade the Earth’s most valuable resources to feed the global population, Agribusiness is universally considered one of the oldest and most significant industries.
Simply put, agribusiness is a portmanteau of agriculture and business. In essence it is the business of agricultural production, and encompasses everything from dairy, to forestry, to fruit cultivation, poultry farming, bee-keeping and beyond. The “business” aspects meanwhile surround the production, processing, marketing and distribution of livestock and agricultural products. Considering its breadth and depth, agribusiness is now recognised as not only the most crucial, but also one of the most lucrative sectors of the twenty-first century world.
According to the Agribusiness Council, trend forecasts for 2017 would have been similar to those of 2016 if the world had not been rocked by the ongoing events spurred by the Brexit fallout, and the shock results of the US presidential election. Referencing the comment that “although patchy, this will be the last decade where globalisation is perceived as a threat to current generations”, the Council predicts that our perception of globalisation will continue to change due to the increasingly collaborative mindset currently sweeping the world.
“In future decades, and with future generations, globalisation will just be accepted as a normal part of doing business,” the council states.
“The Brexit-Trump era will become the exception that proves the rule. The Brexit-Trump era, and other rises in protectionism aimed at preventing the perceived decline of in-country agribusiness development will eventually [be] overcome by the proven success of opening trade up throughout the world (i.e. proven in terms of enhancing overall global economic conditions),” it concludes.
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Even in times of political and social unrest, the relevance and value of the agribusiness sector continues to wage on. While other industries may falter and lose purpose as the digital era evolves, agribusiness still accounts for a third of the economy in virtually every country, while less than 2 percent of agricultural employment positions worldwide are actually based on farms.
And with the council also highlighting that less than 1.5 percent of students who pursue higher education do so with an agriculturally-focused degree, there is a global shortage in the supply of qualified graduates instilled with the ability to solve complex issues in agriculture.
What does all this mean? That opportunities in agribusiness industries are both thriving and abundant, and there’s never been a better time to enter this dynamic, compelling and profitable field, starting with your world-class higher education.
Here are four global universities that are leading the field in agribusiness education…
Ranked number one in Australia and top 50 in the world** for the quality of its agriculture programs, UQ’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences delivers knowledge, expertise and cutting-edge research in a diverse range of agricultural disciplines, including agribusiness, food, plants, soils and animals.
Honing in on the business aspects of producing, processing, distributing and marketing food and fibre products on both a domestic and international scale, UQ’s agribusiness graduates look forward to extensive and enriching prospects long after they leave the institution – and what with there being five jobs for every agriculture graduate in Australia, paired with the fact that half of Australian agricultural positions are located in metropolitan regions, UQ is perfectly placed to help agriculture students excel.
Here, students uncover the marketing, finance and general business strategies within the food and fibre sectors, engaging in lucrative activities like:
Value adding through processing
Supplying of inputs
Transport, storage and logistics
Retailing and wholesaling
Provision of services like banking, finance, investment, insurance and technical advice
Through a hands-on approach to learning both in and outside of the classroom setting, students are exposed to the most renowned agriculture managers in the business, learning from real-world, contemporary business practices and exposing graduates to a range of lucrative career opportunities. Read the full profile..
**17th in QS World University Subject Rankings 2017, 33rd in NTU subject rankings 2017
Image courtesy of the University of British Columbia
The Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC consistently produces graduates with the knowledge, expertise and determination needed to solve global issues in health and sustainable land and food systems.
In a society where local and global communities are increasingly connected, UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems understands the importance of interdisciplinary learning strategies, and strives to produce confident, internationally-minded individuals who are capable of building a more fruitful and sustainable world.
“No matter what area of the world you call home, it’s hard to ignore the impact our actions have had on the earth. Every day, we face issues that threaten our survival – food security, water shortages and climate change, to name just a few,” the faculty explains.
“In the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, we’re not just talking about these issues — we are doing something about them,” it adds.
“Our award-winning scientists are conducting research surrounding health and sustainable land and food systems, important research that has a global reach.
“What we are discovering here can be applied around the world. Whether it’s making food products safer to consume, improving the lives of the animals who share our planet, or getting fresh, locally grown produce to communities in need, we are finding practical solutions to global problems.”
The Department of Agricultural Sciences at Lincoln University is recognised worldwide for its reputed research activities, known to be both relevant and extensive as they seek to find solutions to the most urgent issues that threaten the modern world. The institution’s agricultural research covers areas like:
Alternative dryland pasture species
Conversion of forests into pasture
Economic viability of New Zealand farming systems
Grain legume agronomy
Nitrogen fixation and nitrogen cycling
Shelter on dairy farms
Sustainability in farming systems
All of which boast astounding global impact in terms of agricultural improvements and discovery.
Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Sciences delivers outstanding teaching and research within the plant and animal sciences, as well as the crop and livestock production disciplines.
Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences – the biggest of its kind in the US with over 8,000 students – offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs, ranging from ecosystems and soil sciences to biochemistry and plant pathology. The College designs production and processing systems based on the latest science and ecological principles to preserve the environment while increasing food security.
“Agriculture was one of the pillars on which Texas A&M University was founded,” says Dr Mark A. Hussey, Vice Chancellor and Dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. The students we have educated and the scientific advancements we have shared have made life better for millions, in Texas and around the world.”
“From long-established Majors such as Horticulture and Animal Science, to newer programs such as Forensics and Ecosystem Sciences, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is widely recognized as a leader in dozens of academic disciplines,” the Dean explains. “Our award-winning faculty members are discovering the fuels of the future, unlocking genetic mysteries to cure diseases, and working to ensure the safety, nutritional value, and abundance of our food supply.”
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Asian Correspondent