Agriculture Law and Management


Course Materials

This section is organized as chapters in a farm & agribusiness management text.
Introduction to Ag Management
This page introduces farm and agribusiness management.
Overview of Economic Resources
Business management involves making decisions about how to use resources to produce a product or service. This page introduces five general economic resources.
Management is Decision Making
This page introduces business management as decision making.
Role of Goals
This page describes the role of goals as "criteria by which decisions are made". Another way to think about goals and management is to ask: "among my alternatives, which one will help me achieve my goals most effectively and efficiently".
Decision Making Process
Decision making is a multi-step process. This page suggests how managers may want to define their own decision making process.
Trends in Agriculture
The agriculture industry continues to evolve. This page suggests trends and factors influencing trends in the agriculture industry.
Demand & Supply
This page reviews the basic economic concepts of demand and supply. The discussion also challenges us to consider how these basic economic concepts relate to agriculture and how they can help managers in their decision making.
Characteristics of Competition
Economic theory describes perfect competition and imperfect competition. This chapter reviews the characteristics and implications of perfect competition, suggests factors that influence the level of competition a business encounters, and asks whether agricultural firms facing perfect competition may want to attempt to "break into" imperfect competition.
Financial Goals & Statements
This chapter reviews the basic financial statements (balance sheet, income statement and cash flow) and suggests a relationship to common business goals of profit, feasibility, equity and risk management).
Accounting Profit
Accounting profit is the net income a business earns as determined by a methodology recognized by accountants. Once the firm's accounting profit is calculated, the manager needs to decide whether the level of accounting profit is adequate to justify continued operation of the business.
This chapter offers a distinction between depreciation for income tax purposes and depreciation for managerial purposes, and encourages business managers to focus more on depreciation for managerial purposes.
Opportunity Cost
This page introduces the concept of opportunity cost and its application by managers in their decision making. The discussion also introduces Return on Assets (ROA) and Return on Equity (ROE).
Diminishing Marginal Productivity
Diminishing marginal productivity recognizes that a business manager cannot change the quantity of all inputs at one time. Instead, altering the level of one or more inputs while holding the level of other inputs constant is the realistic means of adjusting productivity. However, adding an input while holding other inputs constant will not increase productivity indefinitely. The reality that output will decline as more of one input is added is referred to a diminishing marginal productivity. The challenge is to determine the level of input that will maximize profit, rather than maximize production.
Production Theory
These pages discuss production theory. Each economic concept (and there are several concepts embedded in production theory) reflects the underlying reality of diminishing marginal productivity.
Enterprise Analysis
Enterprise analysis is a methodology by which a business manager determines the profitability of a particular portion or enterprise within a business.
Partial Budget Analysis
A partial budget analysis is a methodology by which a business manager assesses whether a change in production practices will increase or decrease profit. A partial budget analysis, however, does not determine profitability. It determines only the CHANGE in profitability that would result from changing a production practice.
Present Value & More
The value of cash that will be received in the future is less than the value of cash that is received immediately. Present value is the concept by which the value of a future payment is determined. The present value of future payments can then be compared so the manager can decide or identify which alternative offers the greatest value.
Integrated Analysis
Description of Integrated Analysis for Decision Making with Emphasis on Partial Budget and Enterprise Analysis
Management Skills
Managers need to interpersonal skills as well as analytical skills. These interpersonal skills include communication, leadership, teamwork, negotiating and others.
Strategic/Business Planning
This section contains several pages which introduce long-term decision making, or what is often called "business planning" or "strategic planning."
The next several pages review the economic resources which underpin the discussion in this web site. This page offers thoughts about land.
The page offers thoughts on the economic resource of labor.
This page introduces capital -- another economic resource.
Although few textbooks separately categorize information as an economic resource, it may be helpful to discuss information and royalty payments as a distinct resources that needs to be managed.
The person who assumes risk is entitled to control and profit. If the goal is to earn a profit, risks need to be assumed and managed.
Review & Summary
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