Advanced Agribusiness Applications

June 16, 2015

Advanced Agribusiness Applications – AGBS 170 – Fall 2012
California State University, Fresno
Department of Agricultural Business
Course No.: AGBS 170 I Instructor: Annette E. Levi, Ph.D. Time: TTH 2:00-3:15pm Office #: Peters Business 301

Final: Thurs. Dec 20, 3:30pm E-mail:
Location: S 145 Telephone: 559.278.3004
Prerequisite: AGBS 110, 120, 130, 150, 160 and UD Writing

Catalog Description
Research methods applied to agricultural business, problem definition and solution formulation; data collection and analysis using statistics and other techniques. Culminating activities may include research proposal, feasibility study, project review, business plan, strategic management, case study, written reports and oral presentations. Service-Learning Course Portion AGBS 170 is a senior-capstone course where students will apply a variety of theories, skills and core knowledge from the major while serving the community in a service-learning project. Students will be exposed to various community-based organizations (CBOs) that assist growers, labor or ancillary industries in California that enhance the agricultural sector for the public good. Students will work on a team with an agricultural community-based partner. Student teams will participate in unique activities associated with a commodity group, stakeholder association, or public entity. Strong communication and organizational skills will be necessary to accomplish your service-learning activity. Students will synthesize all components they have learned from the major and other areas of the academy; they will problem solve; and they will make recommendations. Professionalism is expected of all team members throughout the process.

Student Learner Outcomes Upon completion of the course
Understand the importance of economic concepts as crucial aids to decision making in the agribusiness sector and government.
Refine skills necessary for day-to-day business operations and career advancement in a variety of agribusiness and/or government organizations.

1. Apply statistical, technical and quantitative analyses to agribusiness problems, interpret the results, and make recommendations.
2. Demonstrate communication proficiency orally and in writing in relation to the agribusiness industry. They will communicate in a knowledgeable, coherent, and professional manner on an array of agribusiness topics that demonstrates appropriate informational and technical competencies.
3. Use their academic training and observe how the CBOs’ practice compares to “best practices” while engaged in a service-learning activity.

Textbook Readings appear in Blackboard and in handouts given during lecture. Readings from other sources will be assigned.

Performance Evaluation-Grading Criteria: A final letter grade is determined by converting the total number of points accumulated during the semester into a percentage that is based on the total points possible. The final grade is determined by the following:

                                                                               Possible                        Percent of 

                                                                                Points                             Final Grade                     

Three exams                                                         150                                        15%

Attendance                                                            100                                        10%

One homework assignment                              50                                          5%

Research Project                                                  300                                        30%

Project Deadlines                                                   50                                            5%

Project Presentation                                             50                                            5%

Service-Learning Activity                                 200                                           20%

                     Learning Plan (5%)

             20-Hour Timesheet (5%)

                        Online Survey (5%)

                         Group Report (5%)

Reflective Journal                                                  50                                                 5%

Group Presentation                                               50                                                 5%

TOTAL POSSIBLE                                              1000                                             100%


Students should feel free to discuss their individual performance with the instructor, whether it is their overall course grade or a score they earned on a single graded item. Occasionally a scoring mistake will be made; if a student has reason to believe a graded item deserves a point value higher than the one earned, bring it to the instructor’s attention during scheduled office hours or by special office appointment. Due to privacy issues, a student’s grade will not be discussed during class.

A final course grade will be assigned based upon the table below.

Percentage of Total Points

A= 90-100% 
B= 80-89%
C= 70-79%
D= 60-69%
F= 0-59%

Examinations Three exams will be administered during the semester and each is worth 50 points (5% each). Material covered in lectures, discussions, handouts, readings, assignments, etc. may appear on an exam. The question format may vary and may consist of: objective (multiple choices, True/False, etc.), subjective (short answer and essay), or problem solving (mathematical and graphical analysis). All exams are cumulative and the format will be similar. The time and date of the final exam will not be changed to accommodate personal situations. No Make-Up Exams will be given.

Attendance is mandatory Attendance is considered the equivalent of a business appointment. Much of our class work, in particular your Service-Learning Activity, is in a group where you must rely on one another. A high level of professionalism is expected in a senior-capstone course. Attendance will be taken daily. No make-ups are allowed for missed assignments or exams. You are expected to be on time and two late arrivals or early departures will be recorded as on absence.

Homework One homework will be given during the semester worth 50 points (5%). The assignment allows the student to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the topics covered in class. Homework due date will be clearly specified on the assignment sheet and the student will have at least one week to complete the assignment. Completed homework must be delivered to the instructor during the first 5 minutes of class on the due date. Homework submitted via e-mail must be turned in on time. No late homework will not be accepted and no make-up homework will be offered.

Research Project Requirements are posted on Blackboard and on a separate handout. The project will be discussed in detail during the first week and throughout the semester; it is worth 300 points (30%). Deadlines are clearly specified (there are three) in the handout and in the course schedule. Deadlines are worth a total of 50 points (5%). Late projects will receive a 40% deduction in points for being up to 24-hours late. After 24 hours no projects are accepted.

Presentations Two presentations – one solo and one group – are assigned and worth 50 points each (5% each). Solo presentations will be based on your research project results and will be given at the end of the semester. The Group presentation will be made related to the Service-Learning activity. Presentations dates will be determined in early November. Both presentations are considered “professional”, professional dress are expected.

Service-Learning Activity You will be assigned to a service-learning team. Your team will be engaged in a service-learning activity with an assigned agricultural business organization also referred to as a community-based partner (CBO). This activity is worth 200 points (20%) of your grade.

An introduction of service learning will be conducted during the first week of class meetings using PowerPoint, class discussion and examples. Class and group discussion will continue throughout the semester regarding team activities. Group activities can be direct and/or indirect, that is, service-learning work can be conducted at the organization’s place of business and/or away from the place of business, respectively. Discussions that clearly define the activity your group will do with your community partner are critical. You will be graded by the following:

1. The Learning Plan filled out with all signatures and filed with by September 15th. This means that the Team, Organization, and Faculty Member understand the deliverable agreed upon from the beginning. (5%)
2. Complete 20 hours and turn in time sheet signed by supervisor. Additionally the site supervisor will complete an evaluation of each student’s service-learning contribution. The evaluation will be completed toward the end of the semester. (5%)
3. Complete Service-Learning Surveys conducted by the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. (5%)
4. Turn in final group report to instructor PRIOR to giving report to community-based partner; this is due by November 22rd. (5%)

Reflective Journal – The Reflective Journal focuses on particular aspects of your time working on your Service-Learning activity. The journal is an individual assignment worth 50 points (5%). The journal includes the following:
1. Include the dates when you wrote each part.
2. Include the name of the organization and supervisor name.
3. What is the mission and purpose of the organization; who are their stakeholders?
4. Describe the organization’s staff; are they agricultural business professionals?
5. Discuss how this project will enhance your college experience.
6. Discuss how can you more actively contribute to service-learning project to have your group be more successful?
7. Discuss how this experience has enhanced or further developed your understanding of community-service organizations for the agricultural industry.
8. Describe how your knowledge base in the agricultural business major influenced your approach in working on the activity that your team focused.
9. What is your assessment of the delegation of duties within the group? How can the work within your group be more evenly divided?
10. What is the most important lesson you learned while performing your service activity? Describe how this helped you personally.
11. Take a moment and reflect upon your major, degree and career path. Given that this course is a senior-capstone course, discuss how the incorporation of a service-learning component has positive and negative influences in the learning environment for you.

Due Dates for Reflective Journal:
Numbers 1 through 5 is due September 22
Numbers 1 through 8 is due October 25
Numbers 1 through 11 is due November 22

Attendance with Community-based Partner – If you are unable to attend a scheduled meeting, contact the service site coordinator in advance prior to the planned service. Please remember that these community-based partners are depending on your attendance if you indicated you would be there. Among the agribusiness community partners, many of our stakeholders are unaccustomed to having students on premises, thus they prepare for you. These same individuals will also sign off on your time sheets at the end of the semester. Finally, being reliable and professional reflects well on you, Fresno State and on our department.

Expectations of writing – The Project, Reflective Journal, Presentations, Service-Learning Project and other assignments have a writing requirement. Grades earned on the writing will be based on organization, application of critical thinking/course content, clarity, and writing style (including spelling). Neatness, legibility, and proper grammar are important components of written communication. Assignments that are difficult to read or follow will earn a low grade. A hard copy of all written assignments must be delivered to the instructor during the first 5 minutes of class on due dates.

Tentative Outline

I. Introduction of Service-Learning & Price Analysis:

Introduction to Agricultural Price Analysis
Introduction to Service Learning
Communicating in Professional Environs
Correcting for Inflation—Index Numbers
Time Trends

II. Regression model specification and estimation;

Statistical applications to demand estimations
Model development, data assessment, evaluation of results
Coefficients, t-values, R2, F values, Dummy variables
Elasticity estimates and price forecasts

III. Supply and Demand Relationships in agriculture

Demand Relationships
Marketing Margins
Supply Relationships

IV. Price Determination and Market Structure: Industrial Organization

Perfect Competition
Monopoly and Monopsony
Oligopoly and Oligopsony

Note: Service Learning will be revisited in Parts III and IV as group activities get established.
Team service-learning projects and challenges will be discussed in seminar style. All students are expected to contribute and participation is encouraged.

Sample Service-Learning Activities from Previous Semesters

• Create a database of bearing and nonbearing acreage of a crop for all 58 counties in California for a particular crop. Also get current name and contact information for each County Ag. Commissioner (58 counties).

• Create a written and PowerPoint report on business etiquette in seven different nations for men and women. Examples of information included business card exchange,gift giving, handshakes, appropriate dress and timing for business conversations. This activity was to minimize misinterpretation of behavior by American representatives of commodity groups during business meetings overseas.

• Stakeholder surveys were conducted at organization’s annual meeting. Students analyzed data on how organization could better meet the needs of the constituency. Survey was on 4X6 cards and consisted of seven questions. The community-based organization (CBO) observed that growers seemed more willing to answer questions honestly when students were conducting the survey “for a class” versus the CBO collecting the data.

• Organizations with websites or social networking that was not current, spent time thoroughly reviewing their website. Recommendations were made on new approaches, possible layouts, links, Twitter accounts, and so forth.

Tentative Class Schedule

Date       Topic

8/23/12 Introduction, Course Requirements, Service Learning

8/28/12 Service Learning Examples and Discussion

8/30/12 Introduction to Agricultural Price Analysis, Commodity Selection

9/4/12    Communication in Professional Environs

9/6/12    Data types, data relationships, Price Indices

9/11/12 Using Price indices, Data collection, Data Conversion

9/13/12  Service Learning – Learning Plans and Group Goals

9/18/12  Exam 1

9/20/12 Computer Lab Activity – Deadline 1 Reflective Journal Part 1 Due 9/22

9/25/12 Graphing— what is good data? Where do we find it?

9/27/12 Building Graphs, Finalizing Data Set

10/2/12 Regression Analysis—What is a coefficient?

10/4/12 What is a good model? Evaluation of the Criteria Price Elasticity Models

10/9/12 Computer Lab Activity

10/11/12 Discussion about community partner dynamics and group work

10/16/12 Computer Lab Activity – Deadline 2

10/18/12 Exam 2

10/23/12 Computer Lab Activity – Dummy Variables

10/25/12 Lab time to finish your model Reflective Journal Part 2 Due

10/30/12 Evaluating the model — Meeting the Criteria

11/1/12    Estimating your elasticities and predicting prices

11/6/12    Civic Engagement Discussion – Deadline 3

11/8/12     Supply Response

11/13/12 Marketing Margins

11/15/12 Exam 3

11/20/12 Prices in Perfect and Imperfect Market Structures

11/22/12 Oligopoly and Rivalry in Agribusinesses Reflective Journal Part 3 Due

11/27/12 Conducting Surveys versus Census Data

11/29/12 Thanksgiving Break

12/4/12    Group Service-Learning Presentations

12/6/12    Student PowerPoint Presentations

12/11/12  Student PowerPoint Presentations

Finals week                                                                         Days                           Dates

Final Exam Preparation & Faculty                          Thursday and            Dec. 13-14
Consultation Days:                                                         Friday


Final Semester Examinations                                    Monday-Thursday   Dec. 17 – 20

Final Exam in this course                                             Wednesday             3:30 pm Dec. 20


Sample Service-Learning Partners in Fresno (unless indicated otherwise)

Almond Board of California (in Modesto)

California Department of Food and Agriculture

California Grape & Tree Fruit League

California School Nutrition Association

California Tree Fruit Agreement

Fresno County Farm Bureau

California Grape and Tree Fruit League

American Pistachios

Tulare Dairy Herd Improve. Assoc

California Raisin Marketing Board

USDA Ag. Marketing Service – Fresno Office


  • update-img-new

    Get updates on what's new in the Campus Compact Network