A Brief Introduction into
the Complexities of a U.S. Agribusiness Sector


This web tutorial was designed to give a broad introduction into many of the characteristics of and issues facing agribusiness in the United States. This is done by focusing on a single commodity -- California avocados. While there is a lot of information presented in the tutorial, it is not meant to be a rigorous presentation of research. Hopefully it will communicate to the interested readers that agribusiness -- which includes everything from the inputs of production to the creation of product displays in grocery stores -- has numerous facets that offer many different types of work and study opportunities.

Outline of the web tutorial:

(You may click on any part of the outline and go directly to that portion of the tutorial)

I.    Introduction
II.   Basic Background of Avocado Production
            A.    Avocado Output
                   Figure: Total Avocado Production
            B.    Avocado Acreage
                   Figure: Bearing Acreage of Avocado
            C.    Value of Avocado Production
                   Figure: Total Value of Avocado Production
            D.    Avocado Yields and Prices
                   Figure: Avocado Yield and Price
            E.    Structure of Avocado Industry
III.    Basic Characteristics of Avocado Production
IV.    The US Market for Avocados
V.     Foreign Competitors in the US Avocado Market
            A.    Background
            B.    Mexican Avocado Production and Imports
            C.    TheRole of Processed Avocado Products
VI.    Producer Decision-Making in Avocado Production
            A.    Overview
            B.    "Is it worth starting an avocado orchard?"
                   Figure: California Avocado Acreage
            C.    "Is it worth replacing older avocado trees ?"
                        1.    The Influence of the Costs of Production
                        2.    The Influence of Prices and Interest Rates
            D.    "Is it worth expanding an existing avocado orchard?"
                        1.    The Influence of the Costs of Production (again)
                        2.    The Influence of the Availability of Inputs
VII.    Selling Avocados and the Role of Value-Added
            A.    Packaging
            B.    Processing (again)
VIII.   Critical Issues and Opportunities Facing the Avocado Industry
            A.    Introduction
            B.    The Squeeze of Value-Added Activity on Producers
            C.    The Opening of Trade and Its Impacts on US Agriculture
            D.    The Shifts in Power in the Grocery Industry
IX.     Some Final Words
X.     Some Useful Links

Begin the tutorial

This web tutorial was developed as part of the "Partnership to Promote Diversity in Food System Education" project funded by the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program administered by the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The project is part of a collaboration among the following organizations:
The Business Division of Santa Ana College in Santa Ana, CA
The Agribusiness Department of the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA
The United Agribusiness League of Irvine, CA

This web tutorial was initially written and designed by:
Neal MacDougall
Agribusiness Department
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA  93407
e-mail: nmacdoug@calpoly.edu
Any questions about the overall project should be directed to:
Glenn A. Doolittle, Jr.
Business Division
Santa Ana College
1530 W. 17th Street
Santa Ana, CA  92706-3398
e-mail: doolittle_glenn@cc.rancho.cc.ca.us

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