What is a Horticultural Business Management Degree?

General horticulture degree programs focus on the science of garden crops and ornamental plants. The horticultural business management curriculum is concerned, as its name suggests, with the business operations aspects of the field. It is concerned with everything that happens to keep a horticultural enterprise running and earning money. This includes understanding the systems, facilities, equipment, people, and processes needed to make the business function.

Of course, to understand these elements, it is necessary to understand some of the science of horticulture as well. Therefore, programs in horticultural business management balance content from both areas, while emphasizing courses in economics, finance, accounting, marketing, communications, applied mathematics and statistics, and computer application software.

Program Options

Certificate in Horticultural Business Management – Varying Durations
Certificate programs teach only subjects in the major. They are focused exclusively on the various aspects of horticultural business management. Durations vary widely because schools may choose to offer certificates in single or combined subject areas of the field, such as nursery management, greenhouse management, and/or agricultural law.

Associate Degree in Horticultural Business Management – Two Year Duration
A horticultural business management associate program combines introductory and intermediate courses in the major with some liberal arts classes in subjects such as English literature and composition and the social sciences.

Bachelor’s Degree in Horticultural Business Management – Four Year Duration
The bachelor’s program in horticultural business management is the broadest credential in the field. Its curriculum provides a comprehensive core of business, computer, and economic courses. Graduates qualify for supervisory and management positions.

Despite the differences described above, all horticultural business management programs are built around course like the following:

• Orientation to Agricultural Systems – information and skills necessary to succeed in the agricultural sciences
• Agricultural and Resource Economics – introduction to decision making by consumers, companies, and government and the resulting allocation of resources through markets
• Principles of Plant Biology – diversity of relationships of plants and their structure and function
• Fundamentals of Chemistry with Laboratory – atomic/molecular theory, gases, liquids, solids, solutions, acid/base and oxidation/reduction reactions, kinetics, and other topics
• College Composition – critical reading and response, writing source-based arguments for academic and public audiences
• Principles of Macroeconomics – examination of the factors which determine national output, employment, and price level; inflation and unemployment; fiscal and monetary policy
• Horticultural Science – principles of plant science and related disciplines as they relate to horticultural practices
• College Algebra in Context – algebraic relationships, functions, and graphs that go beyond basic high school algebra; solving for one or two unknown variables in a variety of complex equations
• Logarithmic and Exponential Functions – definition and graphs of exponential and logarithmic functions, properties of logarithmic functions, exponential and logarithmic equations, applications
• Fundamentals of Accounting – understanding financial statements to support financial and managerial decision making
• Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry – nomenclature, structure, bonding, reactions, mechanisms, synthesis, stereochemistry of organic compounds
• Plant Propagation – theories, principles, and techniques of sexual and asexual plant reproduction
• Introduction to Soil Science – formation, properties, and management of soils emphasizing soil conditions that affect plant growth
• Public Speaking – fundamentals of public speaking including content, organization, delivery, and audience response
• Business Computing Concepts and Applications – system hardware, operating environments, and software applications
• Writing in the Science Disciplines – writing strategies for addressing general audiences in sciences
• Plant Physiology – the physical, chemical, and biological functions and activities of plants
• Fundamentals of Management – overview of the four commonly accepted functions of management: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling
• Fundamentals of Marketing – overview of the four pillars of marketing: product, price, promotion, and place
• Statistics with Business Applications – statistical methods in business; descriptive methods, simple probability, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, correlation, simple and multiple regression, practical concerns in inference; using Excel to analyze data
• Agricultural Law – laws, regulations, and case decisions affecting ranching and farming in the local area
• Agricultural Finance – monetary affairs of agribusiness and agricultural production; credit institutions and procurement, investment, and management
• Greenhouse Management – design and use of enclosed structures to control environments, effects on growth as applied to crops, production, and marketing costs
• Horticulture Crop Production and Management – the commercial production and management of horticulture crops
• Environmental Plant Stress Physiology – plant growth, development, and physiology; major sources of stress in plants; global issues in environment and plant stress

Degrees Similar to Horticultural Business Management

Accounting
Degree programs in accounting prepare students for the work of gathering, recording, analyzing, interpreting, evaluating, and communicating financial information. This includes examining accounting records, reconciling accounts, preparing financial reports, and completing tax returns. The typical curriculum includes classes in mathematics, business management, business communication, business research, finance, and economics.

Agribusiness
As the name implies, agribusiness degree programs are focused on the business of agriculture. Students learn about the economics and operations of farming, ranching, livestock management, and other agricultural businesses. Coursework spans topics such as finance, marketing, sales, and human resource management.

Agronomy
Students of agronomy learn about the science of soil management and crop production. Topics covered in this degree program include soil nutrients, weed control, and pest management.

Botany
Botany is the study of the physiology, structure, genetics, ecology, distribution, classification, and economic importance of plants. Degree programs in the field include courses in biochemistry, microbiology, photosynthesis, and plant evolution.

Business Administration
Business administration is about overseeing a business’s finances, staffing, and contract negotiations. Degree programs in the field, therefore, teach students how to plan, organize, and direct all the activities of an organization.

Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship students learn how to build, promote, and manage their own or others’ businesses. Common classes are entrepreneurial finance, foundations of entrepreneurship, investor relations and funding, new product design and development, and business plans.

Horticulture
Degree programs in this field teach the science and art of cultivating fruits, vegetables, flowers, and/or ornamental plants. Horticulture students learn about plant biology and nutrition, soil science, and greenhouse and nursery management.

Landscape Architecture
Landscape architecture students learn how to apply both the creative and technical skills of architecture to plan outdoor spaces and landscapes, such as parks, gardens, playgrounds, residential areas, and college campuses. The curriculum includes computer-aided design (CAD) and courses specific to landscape architecture, such as horticulture, hydrology, geology, environmental design, and landscape design.

International Business
Students of international business study business from a global perspective. They learn how to work cross-culturally, how to manage multinational businesses, and how to turn local and national companies into international corporations. Coursework often includes some foreign language studies, as well.

Marketing
This degree field is focused on activities undertaken by businesses to promote the buying or selling of products and services. Students study advertising and promotion, marketing communications, international marketing, marketing management, sales and sales management, consumer behavior, marketing research, and marketing strategy.

Skills You'll Learn

Horticultural business management students develop several transferable skills, including:

• Communication and teamwork
• Organization
• Attention to detail
• Critical thinking
• Project planning and implementation
• Organizational leadership and people management
• Capacity to work in physically demanding environments
• Health and safety awareness
• Flexibility
• Business-oriented computer applications / IT skills
• Fundamentals of business – accounting / finance / marketing / advertising

What Can You Do with a Horticultural Business Management Degree?

The following is a list of occupational categories in which both general horticulture graduates and horticultural business management graduates find employment. While there is considerable career crossover between the holders of the two degrees, the sectors shown in bold are those which most commonly employ grads who have completed the business management concentration option.

Production and Sales – operating a landscape service, nursery, garden center, plant shop, vegetable farm, or orchard
Facilities and Equipment Sales – selling greenhouses and related equipment
Purchasing – buying horticulture products in the US or in international markets
Public Gardens – managing plant collections in conservatories and public gardens
Marketing – wholesale or retail marketing and sales of fruits, vegetable, seeds, cut flowers, etc.
• Research – developing techniques for improving the yield and quality of fruits, vegetables, plants, and flowers
• Teaching – teaching horticulture in high schools, technical schools, and universities
Consulting – working with seed firms, canning and freezing companies, and fertilizer manufacturers; advising communities and cities on grass selection for parks and golf courses
• Inspection – conducting inspection of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables for government or private agencies
Landscape Construction and Management – installing landscape projects
• Landscape Design – creating gardens
• Pest management – working with regulatory agencies, agricultural suppliers, and large farms
• Horticultural Journalism – writing for farm and garden magazines, television, and radio
• Plant Pathology – conducting lab experiments on plant matter to determine the nature of diseases that attack plants
Ornamental Horticulture – working in the florist and landscaping fields
• Horticultural Technology – planting and maintaining plant life used in the food, medical, and decorative sectors

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