Agriculture is more than just the family farm. It touches every part of the food supply chain, from the field to the dinner table. It plays a major role in other industries, like apparel and furniture manufacturing. Many of our business students’ careers will touch one or more of these industries–sales, financing, marketing products and services, and accounting..
Indiana is the 10th largest agricultural producing state in the United States with a net farm income of more than $2.1 billion. The Tri-state region includes Illinois and Kentucky, ranked 6th and 24th respectively, in cash receipts. There are no agribusiness programs offered in the southern region of Indiana to support this industry, so the Romain College of Business is launching agricultural business classes to meet the demand in this increasingly sophisticated field. The courses will be taught by two familiar faces at USI.
Alumnus Ryan Loehrlein M’20, a member of the team that built and launched USI's UNITE CubeSat, the first orbiting satellite designed by students at an Indiana public university, will teach this summer’s class that focuses on the use of drones in agriculture. Not only will students examine topics like weather patterns, photogrammetry and field mapping, this hands-on course will prepare them to take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 107 Exam to enable them to get a license to fly a drone. A Farm and Ranch Management course offered in the Fall introduces the principles of farm organization, management and operations. The course will be taught by Dr. Les Nunn, Professor Emeritus of Business Law, who manages Nunn Ranch in Oklahoma. He has an extensive background in law and agriculture, and a long list of accomplishments and accolades.
Dr. Jill Oeding, Associate Professor of Business Law and Business Administration Coordinator, is overseeing the launch of the agribusiness program, with an eye toward continually evolving it to fulfill regional needs. “We would like to partner with local farmers and agricultural associations to determine their greatest needs,” she said. “In addition, we will build relationships with businesses and farmers who are interested in the development of the program.”
The courses are for anyone from current students to non-degree seeking individuals. Dr. Cathy Carey, Dean of the Romain College of Business, expects to see the program flourish and eventually offer a full concentration and a certificate program in Agribusiness in the Business Administration program. If there is a demand, it will move to a full degree program. “Our goal is to provide an exceptional educational opportunity, contributing high-quality research and thought leadership in the area that serves the community well.”
More details about the Agribusiness program are on our website at USI.edu/agribusiness.