In agriculture, agribusiness is the business of agricultural production. It includes crop production (farming and contract farming), seed supply, agrichemicals, farm machinery, distribution, processing, marketing, and retail sales.
Within the agriculture industry, "agribusiness" is used simply as a portmanteau of agriculture and business, referring to the range of activities and disciplines encompassed by modern food production. There are academic degrees in and departments of agribusiness, agribusiness trade associations, agribusiness publications, and so forth, worldwide. In this context the term is only descriptive, and is synonymous in the broadest sense with food industry. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), for example, operates a section devoted to Agribusiness Development which seeks to promote food industry growth in developing nations.
In the context of agribusiness management in academia, each individual element of agriculture production and distribution may be described as agribusinesses. However, the term "agribusiness" most often emphasizes the "interdependence" of these various sectors within the production chain.
Among critics of large-scale, industrialized, vertically integrated food production, the term agribusiness is used negatively, synonymous with corporate farming. As such, it is often contrasted with smaller family-owned farms.
Examples of agribusinesses include seed and agrichemical producers like Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto, and Syngenta; AB Agri (part of Associated British Foods) animal feeds, biofuels, and micro-ingredients, ADM, grain transport and processing; John Deere, farm machinery producer; Ocean Spray, farmer's cooperative; and Purina Farms, agritourism farm.
As concern over global warming intensifies, biofuels derived from crops are gaining increased public and scientific attention. This is driven by factors such as oil price spikes, the need for increased energy security, concern over greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, and support from government subsidies. In Europe and in the US, increased research and production of biofuels has been mandated by law.
Studies and reports
Studies of agribusiness often come from the academic fields of agricultural economics and management studies, sometimes called agribusiness management.  To promote more development of food economies, many government agencies support the research and publication of economic studies and reports exploring agribusiness and agribusiness practices. Some of these studies are on foods produced for export and are derived from agencies focused on food exports. These agencies include the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Austrade, and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). The Federation of International Trade Associations publishes studies and reports by FAS and AAFC, as well as other non-governmental organizations on its website.
Notes and references
- "AGS: Agribusiness development". Fao.org. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
- Ng, Desmond; Siebert, John W. (2009). "Toward Better Defining the Field of Agribusiness Management". International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 12 (4).
- "Backpedaling on Biofuels". Wild.org. 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
- "fita.org". fita.org. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
- The Globalization of Agribusiness and Developing World Food Systems by John Wilkinson, Monthly Review
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Agribusiness.|
- Cornell Food and Brand Lab
- "Bacon as a Weapon of Mass Destruction" - video by Democracy Now!
- Agribusiness at the University of British Columbia