At the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, the Dhillon School of Business is undertaking research and education programs that are set to change the way we think about agriculture and agricultural enterprise management in Canada.

“Agriculture is the backbone of Alberta’s economy,” says Dr. Bahareh Mosadegh Sedghy, an Assistant Professor of Policy and Strategy at the School. “This dependency on the economy within the agricultural sector reveals the necessity of research and education. It provides the possibility of growth, and the growth of agriculture leads to a secure supply of food.”

From field to classroom to your table

Agricultural enterprise management means looking at the business and operation of agriculture assets as a whole to find the vital efficiencies and tweaks that can help maximize their reliability and positive outcomes without driving up costs or risk profiles.

“Given the importance of risk management in agriculture, the Dhillon School of Business conducts several studies in this area,” says Sedghy. “We look at risk aversion of farmers and agricultural firms’ managers and its consequences on production and food security. We also provide suggestions to business risk management programs that support agriculture, protect our food supply against adverse effects, and make farming more efficient and less costly.”

While the direct benefits of this research will percolate throughout the agricultural sectors of Canada and the world, the indirect benefits may be felt most strongly in the classroom, where learnings can be compounded for future generations. “Motivating young people to get into agribusiness is important, as agricultural development requires youth’s initiatives,” says Sedghy.

Science putting its money where its hungry mouth is

What it really comes down to is a need to remember that just because agriculture has been around for more than 10,000 years, that doesn’t mean we’ve run out of room for innovation. “The first farmers were mainly producing for self-consumption and satisfying their primary needs,” Sedghy reminds us.

“Through the appearance of cities and the growth of populations, the demand for food and agricultural products increased, which threatened the sustainability of the resources employed in agriculture,” she says. “Technological developments provide opportunities to improve the sustainability of agriculture by increasing productivity and efficiency.”

With the world population the highest it has ever been and urbanization progressing at unprecedented rates, it’s safe to assume that the agriculture industry is going to be playing host to some of the world’s most interesting scientific research for the foreseeable future. And, for those who want in on that, the University of Lethbridge may just be the best place to be.