Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication Department


Date of this Version

April 1989


Published in The Journal of Agricultural Education, volume 30 (1989). Used by permission.
The Journal of Agricultural Education (JAE) is a publication of the American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE). Its back issues are available online at


Agribusiness instruction in vocational agriculture programs can help prepare employees for service related job opportunities in agriculture. Many employment opportunities can be found in occupations related to food and fiber production, transportation, processing, packaging, storing, advertising, and distributing. These jobs are numerous and diverse, strengthening the link between farm products and the consumer (Steward, 1987).

The need for trained employees in non-farm agricultural occupations has been well documented in the decade of the 1960's (Williams, 1971). Cooper (1985), reported there is a need for continuous expansion and revision of competencies for employment in agriculture/agribusiness occupations. Birkenholz and Stewart (1986), found that local programs were less than adequate in preparing students for careers in agribusiness. Priebe (1986) surveyed 1,312 business firms and reported that entry level agribusiness opportunities were good because they required little work experience and low levels of education. To advance professionally, the student must seek higher levels of education; often a baccalaureate degree.

Litzenberg (1987) remarked, that any effective agribusiness education program in the future will require a commitment of time and money from public and private agricultural interests. Future agribusiness programs will depend heavily on the educator's ability to develop curriculum and to provide relevant course materials to current instructors of agribusiness education.

It has become the responsibility of agricultural educators to determine present and future agribusiness needs and to revitalize agricultural education. The development of curriculum which prepares students to enter the occupations of their choices is the major reason for the existence of vocational educators at all levels (Matteson, 1974). Secondary and postsecondary vocational educators are ultimately responsible for the development of appropriate vocational education curriculum.