In agriculture, agribusiness…is a generic term for various businesses involved in food production, including farming and contract farming, seed supply, agrichemicals, farm machinery, wholesale and distribution, processing, marketing and retail sales.
Within the agriculture industry, agribusiness is widely used simply as a convenient means 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 publication and so forth, worldwide. Here, the term is only descriptive, and is synonymous in the broadest sense with the food industry. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization for example, operates a section devoted to Agribusiness Development which seeks to promote food industry growth in the Third World.
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 small family-owned farms. Negative connotations are also derived from the negative associations of “business” and “corporations” by critics of capitalism or corporate excess. As concern over global warming intensifies, biofuels derived from food crops quickly emerged as a practical answer to the energy crisis. Adding corn ethanol to gasoline or using palm oil for biodiesel makes the fuel burn more cleanly, stretches oil supplies and perhaps most attractive to some politicians, provides a nice boost to be agribusiness. In Europe and the US, increasing additional financial burdens on the day-to-day running of agricultural companies make it sometimes difficult to show a profit.
Examples of agribusinesses include Monsanto, seed and agrichemical producer; ADM, grain transport and processing; John Deere, farm machinery producer, Ocean Spray, farmer’s cooperative; and Purina Farms, agritourism farm.
To promote exports of food products, many government agencies publish on the web economic studies and reports categorized by product and country. Among these agencies include four of the largest exporters of food products, such as FAS of the United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture and Agra-Food Canada (AAFC), Austrade, and NZTE. The Federation of International Trade Associations publishes studies and reports by FAS and AAFC, as well as other non-governmental organizations on its website www.GlobalTrade.net.