Offered by: Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture, Agribusiness & Food Industry Management and Agricultural Science Department
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 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, promoting agricultural products.
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 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 production, procurement, sales, and accounting. Other careers include pharmaceutical sales, animal hospital management, animal rescue management, livestock, dairy, equine industry management, farm and ranch management, 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 Agricultural 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, poisonous plant reconnaissance, habitat restoration, and crop, livestock, and commodity modeling. 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 staffs, which monitor pesticide applications, weights and measures, local farmers markets, and commodity stabilization and standardization.