Agribusiness is the business of agricultural production. The term was coined in 1957 by Goldberg and Davis. It includes agri-chemicals, breeding, crop production (farming and contract farming), distribution, farm machinery, processing, and seed supply, as well as marketing and retail sales. All agents of the food and fiber value chain and those institutions that influence it are part of the agribusiness system.
Within the agriculture industry, “agribusiness” is used simply as a portmanteau of agriculture and business, referring to the range of activities and disciplines encompassed by modern food production. There are academic degrees in and departments of agribusiness, agribusiness trade associations, agribusiness publications, and so forth, worldwide.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) operates a section devoted to Agribusiness Development, which seeks to promote food industry growth in developing nations.
In the context of agribusiness management in academia, each individual element of agriculture production and distribution may be described as agribusinesses. However, the term “agribusiness” most often emphasizes the “interdependence” of these various sectors within the production chain.
Among critics of large-scale, industrialized, vertically integrated food production, the term agribusiness is used negatively, synonymous with corporate farming. As such, it is often contrasted with smaller family-owned farms.
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