The Benefits of a Graduate Degree in the Agriculture Industry

Recent reports indicate that there will be more demand for managers in the agriculture industry.  This means that companies are going to have a need for people that have received a graduate degree.  Obviously, people with an advanced degree could go to work for a corporation in a managerial role.  But there are also opportunities to assist independent farmers improve operations and increase their profits.

A bachelor’s degree in one of the areas of agriculture teaches people how to work in various disciplines such as dairy, crop or animal agricultural science.  On the other hand, a graduate degree deals more with the business functions of a farm such as accounting, marketing and management.

People that currently work in some area of agriculture could improve their career options by earning an advanced degree.  For people who wish to receive their Accredited Farm Manager certification, the graduate degree is highly recommended.  In addition to the improved chances for a higher salary it will also elevate your status.

The Application Process for an Agriculture Master’s Degree

If your only desire is to work as a farmer, earning a master’s degree is not going to be a big benefit to you.  But if you have the goal of being a farm owner or managing a large agriculture division of a corporation, then the master’s degree would be perfect for you.  Due to the expanding involvement of the federal government farms are now scrutinized heavily and must pay strict attention to regulations.  Managing a farm within the confines of the law requires someone that understands both the agriculture aspects and the business aspect as well.

Often times people that apply for an agriculture master’s degree have some experience in business due to past work history or through classes from college.  The majority of schools will ask candidates to complete the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in order to be considered for admission into the agriculture master’s program.

Make sure to investigate each graduate school.  Some schools will cover a wide variety of topics and prepare students that are ready to handle a number of jobs.  Other schools are very focused on a particular part of the industry, such as cotton or poultry, and therefore produce experts in one niche. A master’s degree is designed to prepare students with the right problem solving and analytical skills necessary to make the right decisions that will lead to a more profitable and productive farm.

Here are just a few of the disciplines that offer an agriculture master’s degree:

  • Agriculture business technology
  • Farm and ranch management
  • Agriculture economics
  • Agribusiness

Coursework for Agriculture Master’s Degree

In order to make a farm more profitable you need to be infinitely familiar with the products.  The courses of the master’s degree program will show you the business side and exactly how profits can be improved.   You will learn how to oversee one farm as well as clusters of farms.  Students will see how accounting and finance principles apply to a business model tailor made for farming.  The appropriate regulations are also discussed at length.  All of this knowledge will allow you to assume a position in a corporation or properly manage a farm that you own.

Besides working in management there are also teaching opportunities.  Your master’s degree will open up jobs at various high schools along with college positions.  And there also other possibilities such as working for the USDA, working as a consultant with rural development agencies or food development centers.