Agricultural Business Fundamentals

Two farmers in a greenhouse

Agricultural Business Fundamentals

Pathway Certificate

12 Credits | 1 Year part time

Ashland*, New Richmond*, Rice Lake*

Outreach Center: Balsam Lake*

*Combination of Your Choice and On Site instruction

Career Cluster: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

Understanding where you are financially is the first step in making plans for the future. This certificate is all about creating financial statements, understanding them and figuring out ways to mitigate risk, diversify income streams and find bottlenecks. 

Program Overview

The business side of the farm operation is often times the most critical part of any farm regardless of focus. In this pathway certificate, you will learn what financial records to keep, how to market commodities, analyze financial benchmarks and assess new technology.

Program Outcomes

The Agricultural Business Fundamentals Certificate will prepare students to:

  • Plan for operation and maintenance of farm facilities and equipment
  • Create farm business plans
  • Apply marketing principles to agricultural enterprises
A farmer using a drone over the field

As a student in this program, you will learn how to contribute to the farm in a profitable and sustainable manner. 

Two farmers in a field looking at a tablet

Practical, on-farm application.

Pricing of commodities

A sharing environment.

Two farmers shaking hands for a business transaction

Flexible scheduling.


Agricultural Business Fundamental courses are offered in person in Rice Lake and available through Hybrid instruction at Ashland, Balsam Lake and New Richmond.

  • Evening course will be available for individuals needing to complete continuing education requirements for FSA loans.
  • Labs will be on Fridays at the Rice Lake campus or On-Farm (at regional farms or test plots).

Career Pathways

This pathway certificate will ladder into the Farm Operation technical diploma.

Practical & Applicable Lessons

The lessons of this program are designed to be applied directly to the production agricultural operation. The intent of each lesson is to either improve quality of life, strengthen farm profitability and streamline management. 

Experienced Instructor

The instructor has a background in production agriculture and has tacit knowledge to sort through university and industry recommendations with competency and awareness of day-to-day farm activities. 


Agricultural Business Fundamentals specifically covers: Farm Commodities, Emerging Trends in Agriculture, Farm Records and Analysis and Operating the Farm Business. 

Explore the Curriculum

Featured Agricultural Business Fundamental Courses

| 3 CR
This course is designed to introduce students to the purpose, operation, and use of futures and options in managing commodity price risks. The objectives of the course are to understand commodity marketing, futures contracts, options contracts, basis, hedging and speculating strategies as part of a successful commodity risk management program. Students will be introduced to fundamental and technical analysis techniques.
| 3 CR
In this course, students will learn about the technological advances in production agricultural, relevant policy changes in legislation, consumer trends and new niche ventures. The production technology section will focus on data analysis and management from multiple sources including: robotic milkers, activity monitors, rumination meters, precision feeding, precision planting and harvesting data, satellite imagery and soil sampling.
| 3 CR
This course emphasizes the practical use of a farm record system in managing the farm through farm and financial analysis. Includes the establishment of farm business goals, selection and use of farm credit, farm business arrangements, farm estate planning, and farm income taxes. Instruction is provided on the use of computers and/or computer records and financial analysis of the farm business and finance strategy to meet the learner's needs. Production and financial decisions will be made based on the learner's farm business analysis. All competencies will be assessed using the learner's farm or with simulations established by the instructor.

Agricultural Business Fundamentals is Part of a Career Pathway

As an Agricultural Business Fundamentals student at Northwood Tech, you can earn credentials each step of the way! 

Download Career Pathway map

You could take this first and get a credential.

Pathway Certificate
9 Credits/Less than one year
Potential Careers
Field Technician, Field Applicators, Custom Operators, Agricultural Equipment Operator
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Pathway Certificate
9 Credits/Less than one year
Potential Careers
Farm Laborers, Feeder, Animal/Livestock Handler
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Advance your skills to obtain a one-year technical diploma. 

Technical Diploma
28 Credits total/One Year
Potential Careers
CSA Owner, Organic Farmer, Farm Owner, Farm Manager/Operator, Farm/Field Crop Manager, Livestock Farmer, Breeder, Farm Worker, Dairy Laborer, Dairy Herdsperson
Range of Yearly Salary
$25,998-$37,437 annually
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Obtain a bachelor's degree through Northwood Tech's transfer opportunities. 

Admissions and Tuition

Northwood Tech has a simple admission process for this program that can be completed in one step: simply fill out an application form. That's it!

Tuition and Fees

Northwood Tech breaks down the cost of education, so you'll have a good idea of how much your education will cost. 

Learn More About Paying for College

Estimated Total Program Costs 2021-22*

Agricultural Business Fundamentals

12 Credits | Less than 1 Year


*Tuition is an estimate and does not include any miscellaneous fees for various courses, tools, books, supplies or uniforms. Program book costs are in addition to tuition and fees and vary depending on course selection and where the books are purchased or rented. 

After the Northwood Tech Agricultural Business Fundamentals Program

Upon completion of the program, you will obtain an Agricultural Business Fundamentals technical diploma. 

Student studying at a computer

Transfer Options

Transfer your Northwood Tech credits to a four-year college in Wisconsin to obtain your bachelor's degree and beyond.

View Transfer Options

Career Outlooks

Northwood Tech's graduates experience success. Learn more about the types of careers you can get after graduation.

View Career Options

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Choose a campus to view contact information, or for general assistance, please contact us.

Rice Lake Admissions Contact

Tia Dietz

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 5220


Ashland Admissions Contact

Jennifer Bednarik

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 3195


New Richmond Admissions Contact

Jodi Saliny

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 4339


Superior Admissions Contact

Mary Glad

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 6243


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