Agricultural EconomicsAgricultural Economics
Consider the Twinkie. Its primary ingredient is flour, which typically comes from wheat. The wheat is grown in, say, Iowa, then shipped to factories in places like San Francisco, where it’s mixed with mysterious things like dextrin, sleekly packaged, and – eventually – shipped to your favorite convenience store. The crazy thing is, after all that work, everybody involved makes a profit and you can enjoy a tasty Twinkie for not much more than the cost of a postage stamp. Your enjoyment of that Twinkie is possible thanks in large part to the brilliance of people in the agribusiness industry, which accounts for almost one-fifth of the United States gross national product. To be a part of this huge national and international food industry (which has more jobs than applicants), you need a strong background in agriculture and business. Agricultural Economics – also called Agribusiness – prepares you for just such a future. Agricultural Economics majors put economic theory into practice. They develop management and financial strategies for the food and farming industries. They focus on understanding and correcting problems in the manufacture, selling, financing, and distribution of food products. They also work to preserve natural resources and the environment. If you major in Agricultural Economics, you’ll forecast market prices, develop marketing strategies for new products and participate in case studies of the successes and failures of real products and real farms. You’ll also participate in internships with agribusiness companies and government agencies.
Agricultural Economics involves lots of critical thinking and heavy doses of math and science. If you think you might major in Agricultural Economics, try to get as many advanced math courses under your belt as possible while you are still in high school. Experience with computers is good, too, as is any introduction you can get to formal logic. Obviously, if your high school offers economics or agriculture courses as electives, you should take them. Biology and chemistry are pretty vital as well.