Agribusiness at Urbana University

Distinctives at a Glance 

* Concentrations available in:

  •       Accounting
  •       Managerial entrepreneurship
  •       Marketing
  • * Small classes taught by faculty focused on you and your learning
  • * Practical experiences throughout the curriculum, starting your freshman year
  • * Sustainability management certificate available
  • * Supported by dozens of agricultural businesses in Champaign and other counties
  • * Emphasis on active learning through assignments and student organizations
  • * Scholarships available for new agribusiness students

Why Agribusiness

Agricultural products make up more than 10% of our nation’s annual exports and contribute significantly to the economic health of the United States. For more than 50 years, in spite of growing overall trade deficits, our country has realized a trade surplus in agriculture, accounting for a surplus of nearly $40 billion in 2012.
 
Locally, approximately 75,000 family farms in Ohio produce the state’s food, fiber, and renewable energy products.  In addition, Ohio’s agribusiness industry provides a “value added” ingredient to farm products by processing, distributing, and selling food and fiber related goods.  Ohio’s agriculture and food industry generates an estimated annual $90 billion in revenue to the state’s economy and employs 1 of every 7 Ohioans.

The Agribusiness Program

Because of the significant role played by agriculture in our nation, region, and state, Urbana University has established a new program in agribusiness to equip graduates for positions in this important area of service. Sponsored by the College of Business, the program will take advantage of the strong core courses in business by integrating any of the majors (accounting, managerial entrepreneurship, and marketing) with a specialization in agribusiness.  You will be prepared to market products, effectively manage and financially guide agribusiness firms in both domestic and international markets.
 
To increase your knowledge of the field, you will be involved in a number of practical experiences as you work toward earning your degree. With agricultural production and the agribusiness setting as your first year focus, you will take two courses with “on-site” farm opportunities. These will provide practical insights into the grain and livestock production aspects of farming as well as the variety of diversified agribusinesses located in the region. You will complement these experiences with agribusiness electives in your sophomore, junior and senior years. These courses will enable you to specialize and develop a level of expertise in your chosen area of agribusiness. You can also learn more about the environmental issues related to agriculture through course work or even a certificate in sustainability management.
 
To complete the experiential component of your program, you will be encouraged to pursue an internship in agribusiness. Pursued and coordinated through the College of Business as well as our Career Services Office, this semester or summer long assignment will provide you with the valuable experience and contacts you will need to land your first job after graduation.
  
Program Director
Dr. Jeffrey Kalbus directs the agribusiness program at Urbana University. Dr. Kalbus earned his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University and has worked for more than 25 years for the Ohio department of agriculture. He has also taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels at California Polytechnic State University, Otterbein University, and Ohio Dominican University. He brings a love for agriculture, economics, and students to the program.
 
Jobs Available to Agribusiness Graduates (sampling)
 
Agricultural Entrepreneur
Farm Owner
Small Business Owner
Regional Sales Manager
 
Agricultural Marketing and Sales

Commodity Merchandiser
International Trade Specialist
Sales Representative
 
Agricultural Policy
Local Government
Natural Resource Management
Public Policy Analyst
Public Sector
 
Farm Management
Corporate/Cooperative Executive
Farm Manager/Operator
Retail or Wholesale Manager
 
Farm Tax Accountant

Agricultural Loan Officer
Financial Analyst
Futures Broker
 
Frequently Asked Questions
 
What should I take in high school to prepare for the agribusiness program?
A good college-preparatory curriculum provides the best preparation for success in college. That typically involves 4 units of English, at least 4 units of mathematics, at least 3 units of science, and at least 3 units of social studies. These courses will provide you with the information and skills you need to do well on the ACT as well as to flourish in your college classes. If your school offers agricultural courses, take them, as long as they do not prevent you from taking the academic core courses noted earlier. Active involvement in agriculture-related activities (e.g. 4H, FFA, etc.) is also an advantage, particularly when you compete for scholarships.
 
Why should I choose Urbana for agribusiness instead of some of the other programs?
We recognize that there are many excellent agribusiness programs and appreciate the leadership they provide and legacy they have established. However, we believe that we offer some distinct advantages:
* Class size – Most of the classes you take will have fewer than 20 students. Your professor will know your name and be concerned about your academic progress as well as your life.
* Location – The University is located in the town of Urbana, the county seat of Champaign County, one Ohio’s most productive agricultural areas. From our campus you are minutes away from some of the richest, innovative, and influential agricultural enterprises in the Midwest. These operations will be your “laboratories” and their leaders will be your “lab instructors” as you progress through our curriculum. And if you are like most of our students, you will come from a town not too far from campus, enabling you to go home whenever the need arises.
* Curriculum – Unlike some programs that make you wait to gain admission to the program or to take specific agribusiness courses, our curriculum engages you in agriculture your first semester. Those experiences continue throughout each semester, allowing you to compile a strong record of practical exposure and expertise, valuable assets when you pursue your first job after graduation.
 
What student organizations are available?
Nearly 30 student organizations invite your participation at the University. Additionally, you can enjoy 15 NCAA II varsity sports as well as intercollegiate club competition in bowling and shooting. In the near future we plan to add agribusiness student organizations as well, including student chapters of NAMA, the National Agribusiness Marketing Association and AAEA, the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
 
How can I qualify for an agribusiness scholarship?
Every new agribusiness student is considered for an agribusiness scholarship. To indicate your desire for scholarship consideration, indicate agribusiness as your desired field of study when you apply for admission. This will place you into the pool of scholarship candidates. Because the number of scholarships is limited, plan to apply promptly. 
 
Can I use my current or previous farm experience to satisfy part of the experiential requirements?
If you have farm or other agricultural experience, you will possess a distinct advantage as a student. However, because the intention of the program is to broaden each student’s experience, you will be required to pursue additional experiences. You may submit a description of your current or past experiences to the program director if you wish to have them considered to satisfy a component of the curricular requirements. 

From Our Alumni

"Every time I write, I think of Dr. George.  He set me free in my love of writing by demanding that students strive for excellence."

-Kit Billings
Class of '91