Morrisville State College Professor to Speak at United Nations



 By Franci Valenzano

(Morrisville, NY – Jan. 2012) Morrisville State College professor Sheila Marshman will give a presentation during the fifty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women being held at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York Feb. 27 to March 9.

Marshman, assistant professor of agricultural business at Morrisville State College and a recognized agricultural advocate, will speak on March 1 during the Women’s Role in Food Security and Sustainable Development: Partnership Between Rural and Urban Women session.

The session will share vital roles women have played in rural and urban communities. Panelists, including farm and urban women, researchers from the United States, Costa Rica, and Japan will also present various innovative and challenging programs during the session.

Drawing on her experiences as a professor and her work in the industry, Marshman’s presentation at the UN will focus on Morrisville State College’s entrepreneurial efforts to encourage and provide experiential learning opportunities to prepare young women to be successful in the global and local food systems.

Marshman, of Oxford was selected to speak at the UN by New York Agri-Women, a state affiliate of the American Agri-Women Association, which advocates and works on issues affecting the agriculture industry. She serves as secretary of the organization.

Born and raised on her family’s farm in Vermont, Marshman’s interests in agriculture and the food system began at an early age. She has traveled to the former Soviet Union, China and Mexico, trips that prompted research and academic and teaching interests in agriculture and the food system, including food safety. She has also written numerous articles based on her research and experiences.

Chair of the Department of Agricultural Business, and Agricultural Science and Dairy Management at Morrisville State College, Marshman started Morrisville Fresh, an LLC operated and managed by agricultural business students.

Through Morrisville Fresh, agricultural business students work closely with the college’s Dairy Incubator and Nelson Farms (food processing facilities) adding value to locally grown commodity based products.  Students have produced their own product line comprised of sauces, dips, aquaponic lettuce, ice cream and cheddar cheese, all made with New York ingredients.  They also market their products on campus, to restaurants, and at area farmers’ markets.

“Through these ventures, students learn valuable business skills while marketing, promoting and educating others about the food system,” Marshman said. “After they graduate, alumni (many of them females) of the program start their own businesses, return to their home farms or seek employment with various agricultural businesses.”

Playing a vital role in curriculum development at Morrisville State College, Marshman was instrumental in establishing the college’s four-year agricultural and business development program which focuses heavily on food, finance and marketing, as well as growth and development of the rural economy.

Although many of the courses she teaches focus on farm financial management and the food system, Marshman’s passion for food and agriculture goes beyond the classroom. During the summer of 2009, she attended the International Agricultural Economics Conference in Beijing China and participated in a food system tour of rural China as an invited guest of the Renmin University of China. The trip prompted much of her advocacy and education for a local food system in the United States.

Marshman resides with her husband, John, on his family’s sixth-generation dairy farm founded in 1856.  The farm has received numerous local, state and national awards for its contributions to agriculture and the food system.

In 2010, Marshman was named Agricultural Advocate of the Year by Commerce Chenango. She received the award based on her knowledge of the industry, commitment to agriculture in Chenango County and her ability to educate and promote agriculture on both a local and global level.

Marshman, who has been at Morrisville State College since 2000, earned an M.B.A. from Le Moyne College and completed post graduate work at Cornell University and the University at Albany. She is currently completing her PhD in management.

Franci Valenzano is a Public Relations Associate at Morrisville State College.


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