Written By: Globe University Business Program Chair Rick Mason
Needless to say it is not your father or grandfather’s farm anymore. Gone are the days of milk cans and milk machines. Gone are the days of stacking hay bales or even kick balers. Gone are the days of small cattle herds and gone are the days of passing the farm on to the next generation.
Agriculture has been, like most businesses, redefined. Technology and the need to produce more with less have intervened. It is more and more difficult for the small, family farm to survive. Large, mega farms are popping up all over and they are producing the huge amounts of milk and produce necessary to feed our ever increasing appetites.
Along with this change in the physical and psychological structure of the production side of Agriculture comes a need to redefine its work force. Working hard on the farm has always been a requirement. Now, however, it is just as important to work smart. Farmers, like most business people, have to have data. They have to know how to analyze and interpret information. They have to put their operations under the microscope and look for ways to improve production with less cost. According to Robert Fourdraine at AgSource in Verona, Wisconsin, it is imperative that today’s food production operations truly know and understand the importance of historical data and how to use that data to make present and future decisions. Equally important to Fourdraine is the realization that we have limited resources and that producers know how to capitalize on efficiencies and make adjustments to play to their strengths.
The world, just like an army, marches on its stomach. Agriculture is a global issue and there are ever increasing demands on it to produce more and more. Consequently, there is an ever increasing need for qualified labor to get it done. Ag Business is an area that will see substantial growth and lead to considerable job opportunities for students. Darlene Arneson of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau spends a great deal of time traveling around the state of Wisconsin promoting the virtues of Ag Business and the need for more students to get a degree in this discipline. She is quick to note that Ag Business is not just about farming. It incorporates production, development, distribution, sales, and marketing. She provides information that backs up the large number of jobs that relate either directly or indirectly to Ag Business. It is an impressive list.
At Globe University – Madison we have become believers and we are looking to enhance our Ag Business program efforts. We have interviewed several business professionals like Fourdraine and Arneson and we have met with several Ag teachers and Ag students. At the same time we are talking to our current business students about the benefits of pursuing a Bachelors in Business Management with an emphasis in Ag Business. There are recent articles that provide support for both career opportunities and placement. We are reaching out to high school students and making classroom presentations on these opportunities. Finally, we are taking a look at our curriculum to make sure that it provides the educational requirements that will allow our students to graduate and find good jobs.
Stay tuned as we look to establish our Business Program and our Ag Business emphasis as the premier option available to students in this area.