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Ag lending: the next generation

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to identify relevant financial concepts and skills that are being taught and/or should be taught, as part of the financial management curriculum in undergraduate agricultural economics and agribusiness programs. Design/methodology/approach - The skill gap analysis uses survey respondents' rankings of the importance and competence scores of recent graduates' skills. The scores help to identify opportunities for improvement in the most critical areas of importance. The skill gap is calculated as (Average importance–Average competence)*Average importance. Findings - Generally, employers in the agricultural financial services sector saw greater opportunities for improvement in finance skills relative to non-finance skills. The results also indicated a greater focus on business and financial risk might be helpful in increasing the competence of new hires. Finally, respondents strongly endorsed maintaining a focus on the problem-solving skills in undergraduate agribusiness programs. Originality/value - The value of the study would be that departments of agricultural and applied economics would use the results of this survey to enhance their financial management curriculum and their undergraduate program. By responding to the desires of employers, agricultural economics and agribusiness programs cannot only remain relevant as a source of employees for the industry but the first choice of agricultural financial services sector when they are searching for new hires. This should also help inform students of the desirability of the skills they acquire in their degree programs. This information will also benefit the agricultural finance services sector by assisting college and university instructors in developing and/or enhancing their agricultural finance course(s) so that the may provide their students with the requisite financial and non-financial skills that they require.

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Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Agricultural Finance Review.

Volume (Year): 71 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
Pages: 280-294

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Handle: RePEc:eme:afrpps:v:71:y:2011:i:3:p:280-294
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