Agricultural & Consumer Economics

What Is It?:

Agricultural and Consumer Economics equips students for careers in many areas of business and consumer affairs, as well as for advanced studies in applied economics, business, law, applied finance, policy analysis, or public policy. Students may choose from one of nine concentrations.

For more information, please visit the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.


  • Agribusiness Markets & Management: develops management skills; strategy development and implementation; and an awareness of the interaction among agricultural technology, supply, distribution, processing, and marketing firms in the business environment. Graduates are prepared for entry-level management, sales and marketing, and technical analyst positions, and are sought by firms involved in the production, marketing, sales, and financing of farm inputs, agricultural commodities, food industry, and other retail products.
  • Agricultural Accounting: enables students to apply accounting principles in production, processing, or retailing sectors in agribusiness industries. Graduates find professional opportunities as consultants and managerial accountants.
  • Finance in Agribusiness: studies finance as used in agribusiness, farming, financial institutions, and more broadly, in the financial services industry. In addition to positions as loan officers in banks and other lending institutions, recent graduates are working in trust and other banking operations, investments and securities firms, rural appraisals, financial management, financial planning, insurance, real estate, and related fields.
  • Consumer Economics and Finance: develops knowledge and skills to help consumers with everyday problems. Coursework in consumer economics, personal finance, and economics gives students a broad-based background and an understanding of the role of consumers in the marketplace. Students can choose an emphasis in consumer economics, family economics, or financial planning and counseling, which leads to career opportunities with government and public agencies, marketing and sales firms, and financial institutions.
  • Environmental Economics and Policy: focuses on environmental and resource management issues at the local, state, national, and international levels. Graduates are prepared for positions in governmental, environmental, and resource management agencies; interest groups; and the environmental area of private firms. Course concentrations include law, policy, management, administration, quantitative methods, and sociology, as well as economics.
  • Farm Management: studies the principles of economics, finance, risk and the decision-making process - all central to the successful management of a farm enterprise. Students develop skills to combine and manage land, labor, and capital resources for a competitive return, as well as learn how to appraise farmland and other assets. Farm (and other asset) appraisal is a growing part of professional farm management and can be pursued as a profession in itself.
  • Financial Planning: studies finance economics as they apply to individuals, households, and small businesses in the course of accumulating and using financial resources.
  • Policy, International Trade and Development: provides a broad exposure to policy, international trade, and agricultural development from an economics perspective. The concentration provides a global and societal perspective ideally suited for exploring studies in administration, government, policy analysis, social processes, and international economics. Graduates are prepared for positions in firms with international business; in federal or state government agencies dealing with policy, trade, or development; in trade organizations; and in public interest groups.
  • Public Policy and Law: exposes students to the economics of public policy, including the legal and institutional structures in which policies are developed, the analysis of the economics impacts of policies, and special circumstances of public policy and law pertaining to the environment, consumers, the agricultural sector, and international relations.

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • ECON 102—Microeconomics Principles
  • ECON 103—Macroeconomics Principles
  • MATH 124/125—Finite Mathematics / Elementary Linear Algebra
  • MATH 220—Calculus or MATH 234Business Calculus

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

  • Accounting
  • Affect government policy
  • Agricultural statistician
  • Assist corporations in marketing farm products
  • Assist in environmental conservation
  • Commodities trader
  • Economist
  • Extension specialist
  • Farmland portfolio analyst
  • Help rural communities develop and grow
  • Loan officer
  • Manage a farm or ranch
  • Marketing manager
  • Professor
  • Research analyst
  • State conservation economist

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Accountant
  • Agri-Business Analysis
  • Agricultural Specialist
  • Banker
  • Consultant
  • Economic Development Research Specialist
  • Economist
  • Marketing Manager
  • Research Assistant
  • Statistician

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • Collegiate Farm Bureau: offers invaluable leadership and communication skills, including Collegiate Discussion Meet to solve real-world problems in agriculture, and invaluable, personal contacts with industry professionals.
    • Economics Club: Investigate the role of economics in business, host visiting businesses/organizations, and inform people interested in economics.
    • Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS): welcomes membership of people of all racial and ethnic group participation in agricultural and related sciences careers. MANRRS attempts to provide networks to support professional development of minorities. It is a springboard for their entry into and advancement in careers where they otherwise could be lost in the sheer number and established connections of mainstream participants.

Related Skills:

  • Analytic thinking and problem solving abilities
  • Communication skills
  • Completion of internships and international study/travel
  • Computer literacy skills
  • Critical thinking abilities
  • Subject matter expertise in key areas
  • Understanding and appreciating diverse cultures

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Agricultural and Consumer Economics, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Agricultural and Consumer Economics.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of ACE.  These organizations include American Assocation of Family and Consumer Sciences and Renewable Natural Resource Foundation.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Agricultural and Consumer Economics, visit Undergraduate Programs.