A major goal of Colleges of Agriculture is to prepare students for productive careers in agribusiness. Goecker, Gilmore, and Whatley estimated that approximately 40% of the potential job openings for food and agricultural sciences graduates during 2000-2005 would be for posi-tions in management, finance, and marketing, and Goecker et al. (2005a) projected that 46% of job openings for agricultural graduates from 2005-2010 will be in management and business oc-cupations. Goecker et al. (2005a) also estimated that the number of agricultural graduates quali-fied for these management/business positions would represent only 60% of the job openings, and that agribusiness firms would turn to graduates of allied fields, such as business curricula, to fill the remaining 40% of the job openings. There is no previous research to indicate whether agri-cultural graduates are at an advantage or disadvantage relative to business graduates in meeting the needs of agribusiness employers. Research evaluating the relative performance of agricul-tural and business college graduates would be valuable in assisting educators in determining the relevant curricula and course content to improve the competencies of agricultural and business graduates as agribusiness employees. The objective of this research is to determine what weaknesses and strengths agribusiness managers observe in their recent agricultural and business college-graduate employees. That is, we seek to identify “gaps” between the knowledge, skill, ability, and trait areas (KSATs) of en-try-level college graduate employees and the KSATs required for successful careers in agribusi-ness. We do so by conducting a nationwide survey of agribusiness firms. The paper proceeds as follows. First, we provide background information on previous studies that have investigated the KSATs that employers desire in their college graduate employ- 2 ees and/or employer perceptions of the strengths/weaknesses of their college graduate employ-ees. Next, we discuss our survey procedures. We then present our survey results and discuss their implications for curricula and course content.


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