Business – Agriculture

Post-Secondary Programs
Credential Earned: College Diploma (2 Year)
Campus: Kirkland Lake
Program Length: 4 Semesters

Program Codes: B316
Co-op Program: B327

Become a critical link in our food chain

In partnership with Algonquin College – and offered with the option of a paid co-op work term – Northern’s two-year Business Agriculture diploma is your gateway to a rewarding future in the complex industry that literally feeds our world.

With a hands-on approach to the land – and by leveraging the latest technology and management techniques – you’ll examine agricultural challenges through a business lens in order to increase yields, optimize resources, and motivate the team.

You’ll hone your skills through simulations and case studies. And – along the way – you’ll develop strategic and sustainable approaches to crop and herd selection, pest and soil management, farm safety, equipment maintenance, and more.

The result is you’ll graduate prepared to join a farming operation or industry-related business – or become the boss of your very own business.

Agriculture is an increasingly complex industry, with sophisticated agribusiness managers required to make decisions about crop/herd selection and improvement, pest and soil management, equipment maintenance, farm safety and agricultural production. At the same time, there is a growing need for skills and knowledge to apply management concepts related to agricultural financial administration, human resources, operational efficiency, government regulations, technology, sales and marketing.

Through this program, you examine agricultural techniques through a business lens, with a focus on:

  • developing fundamental research
  • financial and operations skills to evaluate farm production methodologies
  • technologies and systems in order to inform business decisions

You have opportunities to apply your knowledge and skills through activities, simulations, case studies and interactions with professionals in active farm operations.

Career Opportunities

Graduates may seek employment in entry-level farming positions or as entrepreneurs. Graduates may also seek entry-level employment in a variety of companies and organizations that provide services in the agricultural sector, including businesses providing:

  • agricultural supplies
  • feed
  • banking, accounting or logistical services
  • process improvement or animal care support
  • equipment and maintenance sales and services

Contact Information

For questions about being admitted into the program, please contact Northern College Admissions at or by phone at 705-235-3211 ext. 7222.

For questions about the content of the program, contact the Program Coordinator.

Eliisa Ollila
Distance Learning Officer
Tel: 705-567-9291 ext. 3671

Admission Requirements

General Admission Requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
  • Grade 12 English (C, U)
  • Grade 11 Math (C, U)

Or equivalent


Academic prerequisites for this program may be obtained free of charge through Academic Upgrading.

Applicants who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent and will have reached the age of 19 years on or before the start of the program must undergo academic testing and may be required to complete Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) process to demonstrate equivalency of admission requirements prior to admission into a program.

For more details, please contact the Admissions Office at 705-235-7222 or

Additional Information

Co-op Program: B327
Students also have the option to gain real-world experience through a paid co-operative education (co-op) work term. Please note that places in the co-op version of the program are subject to availability. Students who elect to apply to the non co-op version of the program may not have the opportunity to transfer to the co-op version at a later date. The Co-op term will be take place in the Summer semester between Year One and Year Two. Co-op will assist students in relating theory to practice, bringing more meaning to academic studies. Co-op helps orient students to their chosen field, enables them to learn and results in a well-developed career plan before graduation.

Semester 1
BU1363 Introduction to Business Concepts

In this course, students will be introduced to business in Canada, focusing on introductory topics for those interested in employment in a business management role. Topics of study will include the relationships between the areas of finance, human resources, marketing, and operations within an organization, business ethics and social responsibility, management concepts and practices, and an exploration of the entrepreneurial spirit.

CM1903 Communications I – Model A

Communications I is a practical course designed to help strengthen essential oral and written communication skills. Students will be exposed to a variety of learning methods and communication formats. Emphasis will be placed on the use of appropriate structure, writing conventions, tone and style as well as the enhancement of interpersonal, teamwork and presentation skills. Students will also develop discipline-specific documents, practice proper business etiquette and learn the importance of ethical behaviour and professionalism in the classroom and workplace. Attention to detail is emphasized.

HO1004 Plants, Soil and Fertilization

Knowledge of plant biology, soil characteristics and proper soil maintenance by producers can substantially affect crop yield and farm profitability. Students examine the basic structure, physiology and functions of plants. Students learn soil properties, fertility and amendment concepts. Topics include soil fertilization practices, plant nutrition, soil testing, fertilizer application, amendments and tillage. Students work with producers to review soil testing procedures, perform soil sampling, review testing results and recommend soil amendments.

IN1173 Computer Applications for Business I

In this course, students will gain practical experience with Microsoft Excel for Windows. Excel will be used to prepare various reports, presentations and applications which directly correlate to the critical-thinking requirements of the workplace. Students will gain practical experience working with formulas and functions, developing, and enhancing financial reports, organizing data with charts, data lists, and tables, managing multiple work sheets, workbooks, and external data sources, developing macros, using conditional functions, working with financial tools and functions, and performing what-if analysis.

MA1024 Business Math I

In this course, students will begin with a review of basic arithmetic and algebraic manipulations, continuing topics that include ratios, proportions and percentages, math of merchandising that include mark-ups and mark-downs, various payroll scenarios, and the evaluation and calculations using simple interest.

LA1003 Farm Safety and Biosecurity Regulations

Agricultural workers are subject to some of the highest occupational fatality rates in Canada. In addition, biosecurity events greatly jeopardize farmers’ income. Students prepare to visit farms, to work collaboratively on their education with producers and to enter the workforce in a manner that ensures their safety and the safety of the producers’ livestock. By completing provincially mandated health and safety awareness training, students learn to recognize occupational risk with an emphasis on farm hazards. Students review best practices for biosecurity and collaborate with producers in reviewing and writing a Canada FarmSafe plan for an active operation.

Semester 2
AC1034 Introduction to Financial Accounting

In this course, students will be introduced to the accounting cycle and the preparation of financial statements. Topics include recording entries, preparing financial statements and accounting for merchandising activities. This course will be essential for further study in financial accounting.

HO3004 Crop Production Management

Corn, oilseed, forage and grain production are essential to livestock production. These cultures are also the basis for the food production industry. With emphasis on preparation and seeding, students examine these fundamental crops and methods for maximizing their production in a financially and environmentally sustainable way. Students combine theory and case studies with practical observations during site visits to small and large producers during spring planning and early season crop production activities.

LA2033 Legislation and Agriculture

Canadian agriculture is highly regulated to ensure customer safety and continued economic development of the industry. Students examine legislative concepts and regulations that target the agriculture industry to understand the benefits and limitations they impose on farm activities. Students also review the global impact of trade on Canadian agricultural commodities and the effect of changes in trade agreements.

MG2003 Equipment and Asset Management

Efficient farm operations depend on strategic selection and maintenance of machinery, equipment and buildings. Students examine the various equipment required for tillage, planting, fertilization, chemical application, harvesting, housing and storage. Topics include capital asset financial justification, procurement methods and financing. Working with producers, students create practical maintenance schedules and procedures to increase overall profitability and sustainability. Combining class activities and interactive demonstrations with equipment suppliers, students explore safe procedures for operation, maintenance and adjustments of farm equipment

MR3063 Professional Selling

This course will explore the world of building relationships in the sales field. Students will examine the steps in the preparation, presentation and the follow up of a professional sale. This course deals with a hands-on approach to developing the tools to be successful in most selling situations. Emphasis is placed on building a relationship based on rapport and trust. Students learn and practice the fundamentals of the sales process including, needs analysis, preparing sales presentations, handling objectives, confirming and closing the sale and the strategic importance of follow-up and providing exceptional customer service. Throughout the course role playing and case studies will be utilized to allow students to apply sound reasoning skills to solve sales challenges.

SC3003 Animal Health and Nutrition

Understanding biological principles applied to animal sciences is the basis for success in livestock production. Students learn the anatomy of animals, nutritional requirements and the effect of various diseases on animal health. Topics include digestive, nervous, reproductive and mammary systems, as well as hooves and their maintenance. Through guest participation and site visits, students develop an awareness of general health problems encountered in livestock production operations and the resulting impact on business objectives

General Education Elective

General Education Courses are selected online each semester by the student from a list provided and exposes students to a related area of study outside of their immediate academic discipline. Certain programs have predetermined electives. 

Semester 3
BU3273 Dairy Production Management

Substantial regulation makes the Canadian dairy industry a commodity with very specific business considerations. Students explore the dairy industry from a business perspective, by analyzing economic factors and financial implications of the supply management system, modern parlours and robotic milking technology. Students apply a major focus on cow milk production while peripherally investigating the growing trend towards goat and sheep milk production.

BU4033 Microeconomics

This course is designed to introduce the student to the study of economics, beginning with the field of microeconomics. The course will use scientific theory in order to better understand the relationship and consequence of economic and business decisions. Additionally, this course will use mathematical procedures in order to predict and practically use economic models in real world settings. As oppose to Macroeconomics, Microeconomics will focus on the effects of business decisions on an industry or a single business specifically. Topics include: supply and demand, elasticity, consumer choice, and production costs in the short and long run.

EV3003 Sustainable Practices in Agriculture

The agricultural industry has a profound impact on society. It feeds the population but also impacts its environment. Consumers are increasingly aware and actively concerned about agriculture’s impact on the economy, the environment and society. Students explore mitigation and correction methods for various environmental problems related to water systems and soil management. Topics include the effect of societal trends related to animal welfare, local production, employment and organic methods on the agriculture industry. Students examine provincial regulations, support from the local conservation authority and real cases encountered by farmers to understand the process that must be followed to safely handle environmental issues in agriculture.

HO3003 Pest, Disease and Weed Management

Modern, large-scale crop production can only be profitable with adequate control of pests, weeds and diseases. Students explore the impacts of pests, weeds and diseases on farming operations and their profitability and learn about the various control and mitigation methods. Students review safe pesticide handling and usage. Students also investigate physical and biological controls available in the context of organic operations or for the benefit of a moderated pesticide utilization.

HO3013 Vegetable and Fruit Production Management

Increased demand for local produce fuels sustainability movements and an increased customer awareness about food origin and quality. Students discuss production management systems for major Ontario fruit and vegetable crops, including planning, planting, growth, harvest, crop rotation, propagation, pruning and training. Through class visits and collaboration with local producers, students review and present production schedules for produce, and explore differences between organic and conventional production methods.

General Education Elective

General Education Courses are selected online each semester by the student from a list provided and exposes students to a related area of study outside of their immediate academic discipline. Certain programs have predetermined electives. 

Semester 4
AC4044 Accounting for Agribusiness

Farmers and the agriculture industry face escalating challenges. Changing government policy, market trends and environmental influences contribute to increasingly complex financial challenges for farm entrepreneurs, who must handle financial issues specific to their industry. Topics include accounting concepts involved in measuring and analyzing business transactions and reporting financial results. Through exercises and agriculture-related case studies, students learn about cash flow management and explore the benefits of commodity futures as a financial tool. Students expand practical accounting skills using accounting software designed specifically for Canadian farms. Students examine succession planning strategies and the advantages provided by tax, law, banking and accounting professionals in planning, establishing clarity and providing guidance for farm businesses.

BU1383 Leading Responsibly

Leadership and leadership styles affect society. Students examine different models of leadership, as well as a history of leadership in society. Students discuss the situational leadership model and ethics of various leadership styles.

BU3153 Business Planning

Entrepreneurs starting new enterprises or entrepreneurs working to establish new projects within larger organizations require the essential skill of business planning to create effective strategic and operational plans, for both internal and external stakeholders. In this course the learner will be instructed in the business planning process in detail, with the goal of creating business professionals who can rapidly produce high quality plans.

BU4044 Livestock Business Operations

Livestock operational efficiency requires the application of proven animal husbandry methods. Through a combination of group discussions and producer presentations, students learn the effect of health and breeding techniques on livestock production efficiency. In the light of recent technological developments and through farm visits with partners, students explore various livestock production systems applied to beef, dairy and small ruminants. Students select a species of personal interest, review a producer’s genetic strategies, reconcile them with electronic livestock records and present their findings in class.

BU4054 Directed Project in Agriculture

Continuing professional development is fundamental to the improvement of standards and skills for individuals and their industries. Skills in locating, synthesizing and evaluating information are keys to success. With guidance from experienced faculty, students explore an advanced topic of personal interest in the agriculture industry and summarize findings in the form of a term paper and a class presentation.

BU4113 Project Management

In this course, students will develop managerial skills to propose, plan, secure resources, budget, and lead project teams to successful completions of projects. Students will also learn why organizations have developed a formal project management process supported by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and its Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) to gain a competitive advantage. The case study approach will be used along with an investigation of software and collaboration tools that aid in carrying out activities of project planning and project execution.

CM2903 Communications II – Model A

Communications 2 is a one-semester course that applies the oral and written communication tools learned in Comm1 to specific business/technical applications as required by industry today. The student will enhance the writing skills acquired in COMM1 and learn to produce effective documents including business letters, emails, employment documents as well as reports applicable to their field of study. Students will also learn how to plan and participate in meeting situations and participate in mock interviews (as applicable) so that they are prepared to transition into the competitive employment market. Students will continue to learn and apply proper language and grammatical structures and apply editing strategies to business/technical documents through both in-class/online activities and through the usage of the customized Mylab online grammar tool. As with COMM1, the content will be inclusive and reflect the diverse workplace that students will experience in the future.

*Students for whom English is not their first language will receive additional language support through the concurrent delivery of CM2933 (Enhanced Comm2) which continues to focus on the foundational grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure skills introduced in CM1933.

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