Jon C. Phillips, Chair
Yi (Fionna) Xie
Agribusiness & Food Industry Management
The Agribusiness and Food Industry Management 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. Students also have the opportunity to participate in intercollegiate marketing competitions, developing and presenting business plans and solving management case studies.
Enterprising students are employed 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 products from almonds to zucchini. Many alums work in sales, management, and brokerage of agricultural commodities, often internationally. The large produce industry in Southern California demands graduates that are ready to work and knowledgeable in production, procurement, sales, and accounting. Other careers include pharmaceutical sales; animal hospital management; animal rescue management; livestock, dairy, equine industry management; farm, ranch, and packinghouse management; and retail operations. 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. It is estimated that over 60% of the nation’s federal, state, and county agricultural workforce will retire during the next decade. 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 Inspection Service, Risk Management, and Economic Research Service. Interesting career areas within these agencies include smuggling interdiction; noxious plant reconnaissance; habitat restoration; and crop, livestock, and commodity market analysis. The Department of 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.
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 workforces, which promote agriculture and farmworker health and safety, protect environmental resources, and ensure fair markets.
Kimberley Miller, Coordinator, Agricultural Science
The Agricultural Science major is an outstanding major to prepare for any general agricultural career. Coursework in the major covers all areas of agriculture, preparing students for careers in Agricultural Journalism & Communications, Farm and Ranch Management, and business careers in many support areas of agriculture such as consulting and sales.
Students with an interest in becoming agriculture teachers are advised to enroll in the agricultural science major and obtain a B.S. degree, or they may complete a B.S. degree in one of the other approved majors in the College of Agriculture. Agricultural Science majors and all students who wish teacher certification are required to show competency in four areas of agriculture. This can be accomplished by completing the subject matter program in agriculture or receiving a passing score on the CSET for Agriculture.
In addition to coursework in four areas of agriculture, students who plan to teach agriculture must have two years of practical experience in agriculture and must complete an Agricultural Specialist Credential. The Agricultural Specialist Credential requires a minimum of 45 additional units beyond the B.S. degree. Some of the graduate work may be applied towards a Master of Science in Agriculture, Agricultural Science sub-plan.
The primary function of the Agricultural Education Program is the preparation of teachers of agricultural education for the public secondary schools of California. Specialized pre-professional and professional courses are offered for undergraduate and graduate (fifth year) students. Technological, scientific, and broad general education course work for agriculture teaching candidates is offered throughout the College of Agriculture and other Colleges including the College of Education and Integrative Studies.
Enrollment in a Single Subject Credential program is required in order to qualify for student teaching. Candidates for the Single Subject teaching credential who are not agricultural science majors are advised to wisely use the electives available in their major in order to complete required teaching credential courses that are not normally specified in their undergraduate major. Because of the wide range of variables involved, all candidates for teaching certification are urged to consult the Agricultural Education Program Coordinator as early as possible in their college careers.
CoursesAgricultureAgribusiness and Food Industry ManagementAgricultural Science