There are many views about what 'Agribusiness' really means; it has both good and not-so-good aspects to consider. This is well outlined in the Wikipedia entry on Agribusiness (click here). The Agribusiness Council welcomes all definitions, because it is the commonly held perceptions about agribusiness that is relevant to its acceptance throughout the wider community. In summary, the two notions are:
The root definition of the words, 'farming' and 'agriculture' mean exactly the same thing. So it is also important to note that agribusiness is neither dependent nor independent upon farming or agriculture, rather it is interdependent of it. Agribusiness operates entirely separately from farmers and yet cannot work without farming. Agribusiness includes, but is not limited to farming or production agriculture.
Like many definitions on Wikipedia, the definition of 'agribusiness' is subject to change. For example, much depends upon the last author writing the Wikipedia 'agribusiness' entry. Wikipedia authors tend to derive definitions based upon their own experiential observations supplemented by supporting references. The definition of 'Agribusiness' on Wikipedia changes so do check it each time you need to reference it (it has changed twice during 2014).
The ACA adopts the current definition of 'Agribusiness' articulated by the word's creator in 1997 , which is:
As with many languages, the actual meaning and usage of any word can vary over time, and vary in meaning between different countries, cultures, and communities. Throughout the world, the term agribusiness varies in meaning accordingly. For example, commonly the words agribusiness and agriculture are assumed to have the same meaning, particularly by those outside the industry.
Agribusiness is the world's largest industry, it is complex, and so too are the variants of the word and its meaning in use. Thus, it is helpful to understand the word 'agribusiness' by also considering the meaning of other words involved in the root derivation or genesis of it. Some examples are:
The concept of Agribusiness is further explained by the notion of business 'wealth-creating' value-chains as outlined by Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard University in his 1985 book "Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance".
Rather than outline those in detail here, there are two key points that can greatly assist in understanding the wider significance of agribusiness, they are:
In reality the whole agribusiness sector, consisting of both sequential and support businesses, behaves more like a living organism, a whole system of interdependent structures. Hence, the rise of terms like 'food system', the 'agribusiness system', etc.
This Ag+Community welcomes comments about improving upon these definitions. You can do this simply by filling out the form below, or use the "Contact" link in the menu bar at the top of any web page within the Ag+Community web site.