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Job change - what does agriculture distinguish from other industries?

Updated: May 16

A blog post in the series: Changing jobs in agribusiness - How best to go about it? by Dr. Jochen Riebensahm | Riebensahm Agribusiness Recruiting | Partner & Agribusiness Lead 'Livestock & Technology

Agriculture is part of the agribusiness sector, which is divided into three subsectors:

  1. Agriculture including horticulture, i.e. the enterprises that produce cereals, oil fruits, fruits, vegetables, silage, milk, meat, etc.

  2. Economic sectors upstream of agriculture that supply them with products they need for their production. These include machinery and other equipment, buildings, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, animal feed, hygiene products, animal health products, breeding animals, consulting services, etc..

  3. Economic sectors downstream of agriculture: these store, buy, trade or further process the products of agriculture, such as agricultural trade, dairies, livestock traders, slaughterhouses, food industry, etc.

Agriculture, including horticulture, is characterized as an industry by the following specifics:

  • Dependence on nature: In agriculture, the success of a crop depends heavily on natural factors such as weather, soil quality and pest infestation. Unlike other industries where you have greater control over the success of your business through planning and investment, agribusinesses are often subject to the whims of nature.

  • Seasonality: Another characteristic is seasonality. Most agricultural products have a limited harvest season, which means that most labor and income is generated within a limited period of time. This poses specific labor, machinery, and management challenges, such as seasonal labor and supply chain and inventory management.

  • Government Regulation: Agriculture is highly regulated because the products it produces and sells can have a direct impact on consumer health. There are extensive laws and regulations that govern both the production and sale of agricultural products.

  • Globality: Agriculture is a global industry, as many countries export and import agricultural products. Agribusiness must therefore deal with various cultural and political differences in order to be successful internationally.

  • Supply chain complexity: Agribusiness supply chains are often very complex, as products can come from many different places and producers. It is important that the company ensures that all products are produced in a way that meets quality and safety standards.

Overall, agriculture as part of agribusiness is a demanding and challenging industry that requires specialized skills and knowledge from those working in the industry due to the industry specifics. At the same time, however, it also offers many opportunities and possibilities for innovative companies and entrepreneurs who are willing to face the challenges of the industry.

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