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A Research Guide for Agricultural & Food Systems 401

Project Goals

Partnering Organization: Wilbur-Ellis 

Project Goals:

  • Determine, document and assist creating best practices for onboarding new employees.

A Note About Finding Resources

Among many different types of research resources, this project is going to require finding data pertaining to how organizations attract and retain employees and the best practices for doing so. You will also need to understand the field of Agribusiness.

Listed below are resources that might assist you with this project. This list is by no means meant to be an exhaustive. Rather it is meant to get you thinking about what sort of resources you might need and where they may come from.

If you have any question, please email me.

Understand Wilbur-Ellis (and find more information about them)

Below is some helpful information created by Wilbur-Ellis that may assist you in better understanding the company and their culture.

Resources Created by Wilbur-Ellis

Other Useful Resources:

SWOT analysis of Wilbur- Ellis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis can reveal a lot about  a company's strategic planning, management strengths and weaknesses, organization culture, market strengths and weaknesses, competition, and opportunities. You can find a SWOT analyses here (after clicking the link select "Full Text: 07/01/2008 to present" on the publisher's website:

Wilbur-Ellis MarketLine Company Profile. This analyses includes information on the company history, size, acquisitions, strategic planning, and much more.


Trade Publications, Business Profiles, and Newspapers

For this project you will need to find resources about how organizations like  Wilbur-Ellis operate and recruit. 

Helpful Industry Resources, newspapers, and trade publications.

  • Nexis Uni - Provides information on U.S. and international private and public companies. Info includes company/non-profits organization descriptions, size, locations, history, and more. You can also search across newspapers and trade publications. 
  • Business Source Complete - Allows you to search company and industry information across popular press, trade journals, product reviews, and much more. Also provides information regarding company and industry profiles. This may be helpful when for searching for information regarding other non-profit organizations.
  • Newspaper Source - This database provides selected full text coverage for 245 newspapers, newswires and other sources. 

For more in-depth information regarding corporate research, take a look at the Company Research Library Guide. 

See also WSU News and Newspaper Research Guide

Find Scholarly Resources & Useful Books

Much of this project is going to involve finding scholarly research regarding a myriad of topics. Although you may find this research across many different resources, 

Useful Scholarly Databases:


There have been many useful books published on best practices of onboarding employees

The following books may helpful:

Bradt, G. (2009). Onboarding: How to get your new employees up to speed in half the time. 

Lauby. S. (2016). Manager Onboarding.

Rosenthal, A. (2021). Managing Employees Without Fear. Society For Human Resource Management.

Find General Data About Agribusiness

It may be useful to understand generational markets and trends regarding agribusiness. Below are a few places to get such data.

USDA Ag. and Food Sectors and the Economy - The U.S. agriculture sector extends beyond the farm business to include a range of farm-related industries. The largest of these are food service and food manufacturing. Provides an overview of U.S. agricultural markets and growth.

USDA Agricultural Productivity in the U.S - Provides estimates of productivity growth in the U.S. farm sector and estimates of output, inputs, and the growth and relative levels of productivity across U.S. States.

Collection of USDA Research and Data - Looking for other agribusiness data? Here's a large list of USDA research.

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