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Agribusiness Shelman
Agribusiness: Big Business for Global Issues

Kentucky native and agribusiness expert Mary Shelman recently brought her worldwide experiences in education and the private sector to GCHS AND GCMS classrooms. The former Director of the Harvard Business School Agribusiness Program shared her career path and major agribusiness trends, as students prepare for their own career path.

A University of Kentucky grad with a degree in Chemical Engineering, Shelman started her career in industrial oil sales with Texaco, later deciding to pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School. While there, she was introduced to the Agribusiness field. The term was coined by Harvard professor Ray Goldberg, with whom Shelman later worked in research.

Shelman is an expert in global food trends and noted several during her talks. One major trend is the population shift to major cities, where it is projected that 70 percent of the world’s population will live by 2050. World population by that date is a project nine billion. This will require new methods of farming, developing improved seeds, and increased use of technology to feed.

Land availability and water supplies are also current areas of research and exploration. Technology is and will continue playing a large role, as scientist and farmers look to produce more with fewer natural resources.

She also addressed the consumer, who is now more interested than ever in knowing who produces their food and where. She noted that in some countries farmers are prominently featured in media campaigns and considered “celebrities.” Apps have even been developed to trace foods back to their source of origin.

With career opportunities from farming, to scientific research, marketing and technology, that will impact basic, but critical needs around the globe, “I think this is the most important field in the entire world,” said Shelman.

Shelman currently works as a consultant in the agribusiness industry, while maintaining a family farm in Kentucky.
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Fax: 270.259.4756
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