cals-agriculturalbusinessmanagement

Today's businesses and industries in the agricultural and food sectors of the economy are growing rapidly. Agribusiness industries, such as those that supply farm inputs or process and market agricultural products, need staff who are educated in both business and agriculture. Students in agricultural business management also find employment in companies specializing in biological systems engineering, landscape architecture, biotechnology, food technology, food science, food marketing, and large-scale farm enterprises.

The bachelor of science degree program in agricultural business management enables students to obtain a strong foundation in economics to learn how businesses make decisions and minimize risk and how to use applied mathematics and statistics to analyze prices and markets. Agricultural and applied economics (AAE) courses constitute a substantial segment of the curriculum for the B.S. degree in agricultural business management. In addition to general college requirements, a major in ABM includes courses in economics, math, and statistics. ABM students will also take a minimum of 12 credits from the School of Business. (See Requirements tab for more information.) 

Agricultural business management emphasizes coursework in the functional areas of the business school: accounting, finance, marketing, management, and human resources. 

Students will learn:
Skills for running a business
Finance and economic decision analysis
Analytical and managerial tools
Organization of the food system
Commodity markets
Senior capstone project integrates learning from major coursework

A degree in agricultural business management prepares students for a career in agribusiness or other fields of business. The Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics may be consulted for specific career information for the major.

Students completing the agricultural business management major are awarded the Bachelor of Science–Agricultural Business Management degree.

To declare this major, students must be admitted to UW–Madison and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). For information about becoming a CALS first-year or transfer student, see Entering the College.

Students who attend Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences have the option to declare this major at SOAR.  Students may otherwise declare after they have begun their undergraduate studies. For more information, contact the advisor listed under the Advising and Careers tab.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Requirements

In addition to the University General Education Requirements, all undergraduate students in CALS must satisfy a set of college and major requirements. Specific requirements for all majors in the college and other information on academic matters can be obtained from the Office of Academic Affairs, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, 116 Agricultural Hall, 1450 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-3003. Academic departments and advisors also have information on requirements. Courses may not double count within university requirements (General Education and Breadth) or within college requirements (First-Year Seminar, International Studies and Science), but courses counted toward university requirements may also be used to satisfy a college and/or a major requirement; similarly, courses counted toward college requirements may also be used to satisfy a university and/or a major requirement.

College Requirements for all CALS B.S. Degree Programs

Quality of Work: Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000 to remain in good standing and be eligible for graduation.
Residency: Students must complete 30 degree credits in residence at UW–Madison after earning 86 credits toward their undergraduate degree.
First Year Seminar1
International Studies3
Physical Science Fundamentals4-5
General Chemistry I
Chemistry in Our World
Advanced General Chemistry
Biological Science5
Additional Science (Biological, Physical, or Natural)3
Science Breadth (Biological, Physical, Natural, or Social)3
CALS Capstone Learning Experience: included in the requirements for each CALS major (see "Major Requirements")

Major Requirements

Mathematics and Statistics
This major requires calculus. Prerequisites may need to be taken before enrollment in calculus.
Select one of the following:5
Calculus
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1
Select one of the following:3-4
Statistics: Measurement in Economics
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Business Analytics I
and Business Analytics II
Statistics for Sociologists I
Basic Statistics for Psychology
Core
A A E 215 Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics3
or ECON 101 Principles of Microeconomics
ECON 102 Principles of Macroeconomics3-4
ECON 301 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory4
or ECON 311 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory - Advanced Treatment
ECON 302 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory4
or ECON 312 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory - Advanced Treatment
A A E 320 Farming Systems Management3
A A E 322 Commodity Markets3
A A E 419 Agricultural Finance3
A A E/ECON 421 Economic Decision Analysis4
ACCT I S 100 Introductory Financial Accounting 23
or ACCT I S 300 Accounting Principles
Select three of the following:9
Introduction to Finance
Business Law
Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance for Non-Business Majors
Fundamentals of Management and Marketing for Non-Business Majors
Marketing Management
Managing Organizations
Human Resource Management
Introductory Managerial Accounting 1
Capstone
A A E 500 Senior Capstone Experience3
Total Credits50-52

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Use economic concepts to better understand real-world problems.
  2. Use appropriate quantitative techniques to analyze economic problems.
  3. Use computer systems to effectively analyze economic problems.
  4. Communicate results effectively in writing.
  5. Communicate results effectively orally.
  6. Think critically about economic issues.
  7. Contribute to public policy debates.

Four-year plan

Sample Agricultural Business Management Four-Year Plan

Freshman
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MATH 211 or 22115COMM B3-4
COMM A23Chemistry Course4-5
A A E 215 or ECON 10133-4CALS Science Requirement3
First Year Seminar1Electives3
Electives3 
 15-16 13-15
Total Credits 28-31
Sophomore
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ECON 1023ECON 3014
Statistics Course3ACCT I S 100 or 3003
CALS Biological Science Requirement3CALS Biological Science Requirement3
Electives6Electives4
 15 14
Total Credits 29
Junior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
A A E 3203Business Core Course56
ECON 3024A A E 3223
Business Core Course53Electives6
Electives6 
 16 15
Total Credits 31
Senior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
A A E 4193Capstone Course3
A A E/​ECON  4214Electives12
Electives8 
 15 15
Total Credits 30

For more information or to declare a major in agricultural business management, contact:

Linda Davis
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics      
University of Wisconsin–Madison
424 Taylor Hall
608-262-9488
linda.davis@wisc.edu

Careers

Students with a degree in agricultural business management often find careers in areas such as banking and finance, business analysis, marketing, management, commodities trading, sales or consulting.

Types of employers:

  • Agribusiness firms
  • Financial institutions, banks or investment firms
  • Local, state or federal government agencies
  • Co-operatives
  • Retail food companies
  • Tech companies 

Students can use the services provided by the CALS Career Services Office, which include help with creating a resume or cover letter and mock interviews. CALS students also have access to BuckyNet, an online job/internship posting tool that provides students with hundreds of job and internship listings.

PROFESSORS

Barham, Bradford
Chavas, Jean-Paul
Coxhead, Ian 
Deller, Steven
Foltz, Jeremy (Chair)
Gould, Brian
Mitchell, Paul
Phaneuf, Daniel
Provencher, R. William
Rutherford, Thomas
Stiegert, Kyle

ASSOCIATE PROFESSORS

Alix-Garcia, Jennifer
Du, Sheldon
Grainger, Corbett
Fletcher, Jason*
Hueth, Brent
Schechter, Laura
Shi, Guanming

ASSISTANT PROFESSORS

Conroy, Tessa*
Dower, Paul
Johnston, Craig*
Parker, Dominic
Tjernstroem, Emilia

FACULTY ASSOCIATES

Beach, Jeremy
Dong, Fengxia
Reynolds, Anne

UNDERGRADUATE ADVISOR

Davis, Linda

*AAE Affiliate Faculty

CAPSTONE

Students with a major in agricultural business management (ABM) must complete the senior capstone requirement. For our majors, the capstone is a specific class which offers students the opportunity to work in a group with other students in their area of interest to produce a final project and present it to their fellow students and Agricultural & Applied Economics faculty. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate how the concepts they have learned in their ABM classes are applied to real-world situations. 

INTERNSHIP

Internships allow students to gain professional experience and skills that future employers value. Agricultural business management students are encouraged to complete an internship during their undergraduate years and some of them choose to receive academic credit for their internship. An internship lets you experience a career to see if it's the right one for you, allows you to gain useful skills, and provides an opportunity to make connections with professionals in the industry. Students usually complete an internship during the summer after their sophomore or junior year.

Renk Scholarship Program

Agricultural business managemnt majors are eligible to apply for the Renk Scholarship Program, which can provide increasing scholarships for up to three years. The Renk Scholarship Program is part of the Renk Agribusiness Institute and emphasizes leadership in contemporary agricultural issues and activities linked to agribusiness.

STUDY ABROAD

Students with a major in agricultural business management may choose to study abroad. Study abroad programs offer students the opportunity to gain an international perspective and can prepare students to participate in today's global economy.  International Academic Programs (IAP) serves as the primary study abroad office on campus, offering over 200 programs in over 60 countries around the world. IAP program offerings, available to all majors, range from short-term, faculty-led opportunities to intensive language study, internships, a semester or a year at a university overseas, service-learning, and programs with special themes. There are also international programs offered through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). Study abroad programs in CALS cover a variety of content areas such as sustainable development, food systems, agriculture, health and wellness, and community and economic development.

The Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics offers a number of scholarships to students declared in both of our majors, agricultural & applied economics and agricultural business management. Students in either of our majors or who have declared the certificate in business management for agricultural and life sciences are also eligible to apply for the Renk Scholarship Program, which can provide increasing scholarships for up to three years. The Renk Scholarship Program is part of the Renk Agribusiness Institute and emphasizes leadership in contemporary agricultural issues and activities linked to agribusiness.

The Agricultural Business Management Club at UW–Madison is a group of motivated students interested in careers involving agriculture and/or business. The club offers members the opportunity to learn more about the agribusiness industry and make connections through career speakers, field trips, and social events.