Programs in agricultural production operations prepare people to manage farm and ranch resources. Students learn elements of production and ways to improve it. They study costs and benefits of resources such as labor and equipment.
Consumers everywhere rely on food from plants and animals. For this reason, agricultural production is always important - from the smallest family farm to the largest agribusiness. For instance, at a dairy farm, automated milking machines must be maintained and updated. And of course, the cows must be milked, and the milk itself must be kept cold, pasteurized, and shipped. Employees must be supervised, instructed, and paid. Records must be kept and money must be kept in the proper accounts.
With a degree in agricultural production and operations, you can improve your own farm or ranch's operations. Or, you can work as a manager at a large corporate farm, monitoring the day to day workings of the organization. Regardless of where you work, agricultural production and operations programs teach you how to keep a farm running efficiently.
Your course work combines both agriculture and business study. You take courses in economics, accounting, and operations management. You study how to analyze daily operations and how to improve them. You also learn about agricultural engineering, power machinery, and plant and animal biology. Depending on your area of focus, you can learn about soil science, water control, or livestock health and breeding. Most programs require hands-on training at functioning farms and ranches. In addition, many programs have on-site facilities that include heavy equipment, livestock, and crops.
About 25 schools offer programs specifically in agricultural production operations. However, every state has a land grant college that offers agricultural science programs. Many other colleges and universities also offer degrees or courses in agriculture. When two-year colleges offer certificate and associate degrees, students can often transfer the credits to a four-year school.