Academic Year 2022/2023

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Agricultural Sciences and Technologies (cod. 9235)

Learning outcomes

After completing the course , student acquires the basic elements to interpret the behaviour of the entrepreneur and to support his economic choices . The student also acquires a general knowledge of the administrative commitments that affect the management of agricultural enterprises.

Course contents


The student who accesses this course should have an elementary knowledge of microeconomics and rural appraisal. S/he should understand the logic underlying the behaviour of operators, both for the demand and supply sides, and the functioning of markets. S/he should also have acquired fair confidence in translating some economic concepts into operational tools and basic knowledge in financial mathematics techniques. The student must also have a fair knowledge of the spreadsheet software and the functions' use.

Content of classroom activities

  • Introduction: presentation of the contents and materials
  • The agricultural enterprise
    • Definition of farmer
    • Definition of professional farmer and relevance of the concept for business management
    • Administrative obligations for the entrepreneur: registration, variation and cancellation from the Business Register
  • The budget for agricultural enterprise
    • The budget as a tool for knowledge and administrative requirements
    • The structure of the financial statements
    • The balance sheet
    • The income statement
    • The cash flow statement
    • The budget-related documents
  • Strategic decisions: investment
    • The concept of investment
    • The tools for investment decisions
    • The discounted cash flow analysis
    • The main indicators
    • Sensitivity analysis
  • Operational decisions and management control
    • Costs analysis and contribution margin
    • Production costs: the technical and economic approach and the enterprises' approach
    • Types of cost and cost configurations
    • The contribution margin and the definition of the level of production
    • The business cost structure: flexibility and rigidity
  • The agricultural enterprise
    • Administrative, fiscal obligations for the entrepreneur: value added tax and related obligations;
    • Administrative obligations for the entrepreneur: the mechanisms of taxation: taxation on a cadastral basis and taxation on financial statements;

Contents of laboratory activities

The laboratory activities are an integral part of the teaching and aim to strengthen understanding of the topics covered in the classroom. To this end, students will be asked to build spreadsheets helpful in carrying out business analyzes.
The topics of the exercises will be the following:
a) Accounting for administrative events and preparation of the financial statements
b) Types of agricultural budget: common traits and diversity
c) Canvass and business model
d) Convenience investment
e) Sensitivity analysis

The feedback activities on posts/essays produced by the students and uploaded on a platform are also part of the laboratory activities. The posts/essays will be related to applying concepts and methods to the economic and agricultural issues of the moment. Active participation will be evaluated by students who request it (see the paragraph on the methods of verification and evaluation of learning).

A detailed plan of the laboratory activities will be available on the Virtual platform (link on this same page, as soon as it is active).

Integrative digital teaching
Students embarking on the master's degree path may have different backgrounds. The experience of the past years has shown, in particular, that not all students have solid basic knowledge relating i) to the so-called Serpierian balance sheet of the  farm; ii) the financial calculation.
Audiovisual material has been prepared on the subject (i. and ii.), and some exercises and a self-assessment grid will be proposed (ii.). Interested students are invited to take advantage of this opportunity according to the following timelines:
i. Before the activities referred to in points 3) and b);
ii. Before the activities referred to in points 5) and d).


Material is distributed through the Virtuale platform. As already reported in the notice on July 11, it is emphasized that filling in the entry questionnaire available on the same platform is necessary to access this material.

Frascarelli M. (2021) The farm, Edizioni Fag, Milan, capp. 1-5.

For some topics, it may be helpful to consult the following books:

Antoldi F. (2003) Knowing the company, McGaw-Hill, cap. 1.

Antoldi F. (2012) Economics and business organization - Introduction to corporate governance 2 / ed, McGaw-Hill, capp. 2-4.

N.B. The editions indicated are the most recent at the time when the publication of the program on GuideWeb was completed. Students are encouraged to acquire the latter when more up-to-date editions become available. In particular, concerning Antoldi (2012), it should be noted that the financial statement format to which chapter 2 refers has been superseded by the legislation currently in force. Updates are provided in class and through the Virtual platform.

Teaching methods

The course is divided into classroom activities and activities in the computer lab or on a PC. Classroom activities are essentially theoretical or notional. The lab activities aim to translate theoretical concepts into management tools. Students are compelled to respect obligations relating to workplace safety.

Continuous participation in the lessons allows for an easier understanding and more fluid teaching. Occasional attendance is strongly discouraged.

The first hour of lessons will be dedicated to the course presentation and the Virtual platform's use. Participation in this first lesson is considered essential.

The previously described supplementary digital teaching activities aim to fill any entry gaps.

Assessment methods

Verification of learning takes place through the final exam, which verifies the acquisition of the expected knowledge and skills through the performance of an oral test. The oral exam may involve all the topics covered in the theoretical part of the course. It may also include verifying the knowledge of the tools developed during the laboratory activities. The exam usually involves three or four broad questions.

The evaluation of the final result will consider the knowledge, skills, and correctness of the vocabulary and argumentative skills.

The duration of the oral exam is, on average, 30 minutes.

Attending students who have actively participated in the activities described in the paragraph relating to the Contents may ask to be examined only on the topics referred to in points 2 and 4 of the program. This faculty is only allowed for sessions prior to February 17, 2023. These students will be asked only two questions, and the exam will last, on average, 15 minutes. The final grade will mediate the assessments of the oral exam (50%) and the activity mentioned above (50%).

Teaching tools

Virtuale platform.

Computer lab (compatible with the number of attending students and availability).

Discussion platform.

Office hours

See the website of Aldo Bertazzoli


Decent work and economic growth Industry, innovation and infrastructure Responsible consumption and production Peace, justice and strong institutions

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.