Northern State University to offer agribusiness as a minor

Farm Forum

Beginning this autumn, Northern State University business students will be able to supplement their degrees with an agricultural business minor.

The minor is a partnership between NSU and South Dakota State University in Brookings, which offers agribusiness degrees through its department of economics in the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences. The minor was announced in a news release Tuesday morning.

The NSU School of Business has been working on the minor for nearly two years, but has nailed down the details for the past several months, Dean Bill Broucek said.

The minor will combine agribusiness courses provided online by SDSU with courses already offered at Northern by the School of Business, many of which are already part of major coursework, said Jason Zimmerman, professor and assistant head of the department of economics at SDSU.

“It will be a good opportunity for both universities,” Zimmerman said.

SDSU has offered an agribusiness major and minor for years, Zimmerman said. It is the only agricultural college in South Dakota and has the only agribusiness program in the state.

The addition of the minor will help fill a void for many business majors in agriculture-dominant South Dakota, Broucek said.

Because so many banks and other financial institutions do business with the agriculture industry, having agribusiness knowledge gives graduates a leg up in their post-college job searches, Zimmerman said.

“The agribusiness minor will sharpen their perspective and will help all business students,” Broucek said.

The minor will be available for all nine business majors, Broucek said, but will especially benefit accounting and banking and financial services majors.

The minor was not heavily requested by students, but Broucek said he believes it will be popular once students realize how valuable agricultural knowledge is for businesses in the Midwest.

The partnership will only strengthen the growing business school at Northern, Zimmerman said.

Students are able to register for the fall courses now, Broucek said.

There are three online courses student will need to take from SDSU, Zimmerman said. They can be taken all in one summer or split between two easy summers, as far as coursework is concerned.

NSU also partners with SDSU for its nursing program. In addition, the business school is working on agreements with community colleges in Iowa and California to create a two and two program, in which students would complete two years at the community college and finish their degrees in Aberdeen, Broucek said.

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