Ag Broker

Bringing fruit and vegetables from the field to your table is a process that requires not just farming, but scheduling, cooling and transportation. For four years, CSU Monterey Bay and agricultural stakeholders have talked about needs in the industry with an eye toward creating a four-year agricultural business degree. Those efforts have come to fruition, and CSUMB announced it will launch a bachelor’s of science degree in agribusiness supply chain management in the fall of 2024. Students will learn logistics to ensure perishable food – including fruit and vegetables – hits shelves on time.

Kevin Murphy, former Driscoll’s CEO and chair at Ocean Mist Farms, says storing food properly and getting it to consumers fast is key. He says other universities offer supply chain majors, but perishables aren’t the main focus. At CSUMB, graduates will specialize in perishables commonly grown in Monterey County with an emphasis on things like refrigeration, food safety and more.

Currently, CSUMB offers an agribusiness concentration. Marylou Shockley, interim dean of the college of business at CSUMB, is pleased the concentration will expand into a standalone bachelor’s degree.

Shockley hopes to attract more local students. “Many of the students [from Hartnell College] did not come here because we did not have a BS in agribusiness,” she says.

The new major was approved by the CSU Chancellor’s Office last month. “That’s good news for us,” Shockley says. “It really says they think this is an important degree in our area.”

Murphy hopes it helps retain specialized workers locally: “This creates a really powerful circle of people being able to go to universities and come back and work in their area where they grew up.”

The university has so far raised $2 million to move the major forward. They will also convene a committee of professors and ag professionals to adapt the curriculum to the needs of the industry.

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