Purchasing agents and buyers of farm products are savvy shoppers, but instead of malls, they head to farms and other locations to buy livestock, oysters, cotton, fruit, grain and much more. They keep farm products moving; from the initial purchase, to quality evaluation, to storage, to sale. Purchasing agents and buyers need to thoroughly understand the needs of the marketplace so they can anticipate which farm goods are needed, how many, and when. Recognizing a good quality product when they see it is essential. Agents and buyers negotiate for the best possible terms, while dealing with farmers, brokers and processors who also want to get their best price. The majority of farm product buyers work in one of three markets in the U.S., milk, grain, or Christmas trees. They need to keep detailed records of product inventory and transactions to meet government regulations. These buyers and agents keep up to date on product innovations through research, conducting Internet searches, reading up on news and market projections, or attending trade shows to see products first hand. While this field offers a lot of autonomy, keeping in contact with customers and suppliers is a big part of the job. In addition to a four-year college degree in business or accounting, people in this field need a good working knowledge of farming.
A program that prepares individuals to sell agricultural products and supplies, provide support services to agricultural enterprises, and purchase and market agricultural products. Includes instruction in basic business management, marketing, retailing and wholesaling operations, and applicable principles of agriculture and agricultural operations.