Food & Agribusiness

"Those well versed in food and agriculture production and the international implications of agriculture to our global food economy will be sought after." DR THERESA CRAIG, PRESIDENT OF THE AGRIBUSINESS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA

The business of food and agriculture is thriving. Australia’s food and agriculture industries (farming, production and distribution to food product innovations and initiatives) are significant and rapidly expanding sectors of the economy. The complete agricultural supply chain – including food product innovation and affiliated food industry partners – provides over 1.6 million jobs.

The food industry continues to prosper, accounting for 15% of all Australian jobs. With an excellent international reputation for efficiency, reliability and sustainability, Australia’s food industry is poised to meet new challenges in food security, better human nutrition and environmental sustainability into the future. Key priorities are to produce food that is healthy and safe, produced with the least possible environmental insult. This requires skills in business, technology and management across all parts of the food supply chain.

Agribusiness is the business of food production and supply. At the farming level it includes the production, processing and supply of agricultural goods, as well as the by-products of farming, including fuels derived from farm waste. Agribusiness also reaches beyond the farm to include all aspects of bringing food to consumers: food preservation and storage, processing and manufacturing of food products, business strategy and financial support, food transport, sales and promotion. This post farm-gate agribusiness sector has grown exponentially in recent years, as food product innovation and value-adding activities move off the farm. The size of the food processing and agricultural product input sectors has increased to the point where they now account for approximately 12% of Australia’s GDP.

Food and agribusiness are evolving fields that will continue to expand well into the future. With global efforts to improve the quantity, quality and security of food produced for a growing population, integration of knowledge and expertise across food, agriculture and business management is essential to meet these challenges in the years ahead.

Dr Theresa Craig, President of the Agribusiness Association of Australia, says that by 2050 the world will need to double food production against a background of diminishing resources of land and water. She strongly believes that the science disciplines as applied to agriculture will help to meet these needs. “Those well versed in food and agriculture production and the international implications of agriculture to our global food economy will be sought after. Management of all aspects of the food supply chain, from paddock to plate, will need qualified people to increase efficiencies in a complex business world. If you want a challenging career with good job prospects then consider food and agribusiness,” she says.

“Today's and future agriculture careers will be based on the land, in the labs and in the business offices of our country and internationally. These experts will act as service providers of valuable information for our farmers to improve productivity in an economically viable and environmentally sustainable manner. Exciting times for those in the science and business of agriculture exist now and in the future.”

An undergraduate degree in food and agribusiness is the first step towards a range of diverse and wonderful career possibilities. Food and agribusiness graduates can work in a range of areas from research, food development and production to the finance sector, marketing and commodity trading and public policy analysis.

A sample of potential careers include:

  • Food scientist: uses their knowledge of science, engineering and biotechnology to develop new or better ways of preserving, processing, packaging, storing and delivering food; may be involved in research
  • Food quality assurance officer: monitors the quality of the environment in order to interpret the impact of human actions and to develop strategies for restoring ecosystems
  • Agricultural consultant: provides technical, commercial and financial advice and information regarding the use and management of agricultural land; balances commercial viability with sustainable development
  • Agriculture manager: may work on farms, in agricultural consultancies, research institutions and food production companies; builds and maintains strong business relationships to market products and services; oversees day-to-day operations
  • Commodity trader: connects producers and users of agricultural commodities through origination, processing, marketing and distribution capabilities and services
  • Agronomist: plant growth and use specialist, works closely with farmers to help them optimise their land for the maximum yield of crops (including environmental impact)
  • Livestock manager: provides livestock sales and marketing support; identifies and cultivates new sales opportunities; recommends livestock management solutions
  • Area sales manager: responsible for sales strategies to optimise profitability; effective customer relationships; sales budgets; investigates and secures new business Technical specialist: formulates product development plans, field trials, oversees product issues and provides technical support for sales representatives, customers and end users.

Statistics and salaries

  • Recent Australian government reviews of food and agriculture predict significant shortages in labour and skills across all areas of the agri-food chain.
  • It is estimated that Australia will require more than 5,000 graduate jobs in agribusiness and production management annually to continue to drive the industry forward.

Average salaries:

  • Food scientist: $89,000
  • Agricultural industry: $79,000


Industry bodies/associations

  • Agribusiness Association of Australia Ltd
  • Ag Institute of Australia
  • Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences
  • Australian Food and Grocery Council
  • GrainCorp
  • Grain Growers Limited
  • Grains Research and Development Corporation
  • Horticulture Australia Limited
  • PMA Australia–New Zealand Limited

Courses to consider

Consider enrolling in one of the following courses and majors to prepare yourself for a career in Food and Agribusiness.

Our courses:

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