Offered by: College of Agriculture, Agribusiness, Food Industry Management, and Agricultural Science.
The Agribusiness and Food Industry program focuses on business applications that support the agricultural industry. The major offers a wide selection of coursework designed for students to assume leadership positions in the management, marketing, and production of all agricultural products from "field to plate".
The core curriculum is designed to provide students with an understanding of business functions in application, theory, and practice. Two career emphases of Food Management or Animal/Equine Industry allow students to work closely with their advisor and design a curriculum for their specific career goals. Internships place the student in their chosen field for up to one year to experience daily activities they will be involved with. Students also have the opportunity to participate in intercollegiate marketing competitions, promoting agricultural products.
Enterprising students are employed by the department in the operations of the W.K. Kellogg horse unit, livestock and farming operations of the Kellogg Ranch, and the Farm Store at Kellogg Ranch, which markets Cal Poly's finest fruits and vegetables.
Private sector careers abound in all areas of Agribusiness and Food Industry Management. Many graduates work for commodity boards and trade organizations that represent any product from almonds to zucchini. This includes the California Milk Advisory Board and California's Happy Cows. Many alums work in sales, management and brokerage of commodities such as hay, grain, and feedstuffs, often internationally. The large produce industry in Southern California demands graduates that are ready to work and knowledgeable in all sectors of production, procurement, sales, and accounting. Other careers include pharmaceutical sales, animal hospital management, animal rescue management, livestock, dairy, and equine industry management, farm and ranch management, packinghouse management, and retail operations of supermarkets and specialty stores. Alumni have pursued legal careers involving agriculture as well as agricultural communications and journalism.
Public sector careers are currently in high demand due to an aging workforce in the next decade. It is estimated that over 60% of the nations federal, state, and county agricultural workforce will retire during this period. A multitude of opportunities are found within the 7 mission areas and 27 agencies of the USDA. These include the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, Foreign Agriculture Service, National Resource Conservation Service, Forestry Service, Food Safety, Risk Management, Economic Research Service. Interesting careers within these agencies include smuggling and interdiction, poisonous plant reconnaissance, habitat restoration, and crop, livestock, and commodity modeling. Agencies within Homeland Security and the Department of the Interior also offer rewarding careers protecting agricultural systems from terrorists, monitoring public lands with the Bureau of Land Management, conserving resources with the National Park Service, and water related careers with the Bureau of Reclamation.
More locally, trained farm advisors consult and work with local farmers and ranchers to improve practices and profitability. They are also involved with nutrition programs and 4-H. County Agricultural Commissioners have large staffs, which monitor pesticide applications, weights and measures, local farmers markets, and commodity stabilization and standardization.