Focus on Agricultural Business


Kim London

Assistant Professor of Business Kim London enjoys exposing students to the wide array of opportunities developing in agriculture across the region.

Program digs deep into farming industry

Success might be just as much who you know as what you grow. And in SUNY Adirondack’s Agricultural Business program, students have the opportunity to network with regional food growers, vendors, farm owners and professionals in support trades.

“There are a lot of people interested in farming and agriculture who don’t come from agricultural backgrounds,” said Kim London, assistant professor of Business at SUNY Adirondack. “How do they get exposure and meet and network? Not everybody who comes in our program will have their own farm, but will instead be in supporting agriculture. They’re getting their skills here.”

London, a farm owner, has worked on farms, sold produce at farmers markets and CSAs, fostered relationships with restaurants and schools, and advocated for food access. She has a master’s degree in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition.

The Agricultural Business program taps into the expertise of people who, like London, have connections throughout the region and a broad range of experiences.

“These students are getting exposed to a lot of different options and building skills,” she said. “They’ll leave here with a strong business foundation — and they will know something about soil, marketing and harvesting.”

Did you know?

The Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District named the SUNY Adirondack Agricultural Business program as its 2019 Agricultural Environmental Management Farm of the Year. The district recognized the college for its work to create the agriculture program and the campus farm through conservation practices.


Professor of Biology Tim Scherbatskoy

Professor of Biology Tim Scherbatskoy was pivotal in developing SUNY Adirondack’s Agricultural Business degree program.

Professor leads way for innovation

A lot can change in a decade, especially when someone like Professor of Biology Tim Scherbatskoy rolls up his sleeves and gets his hands dirty.

Teaching biology, ecology, botany and agriculture classes in SUNY Adirondack’s Science division for the past 11 years, Scherbatskoy has played a key role in the growth of the college’s programmatic offerings.

“The collegial working environment here makes it easy to develop and advance ideas,” said Scherbatskoy, who planted the seeds for new courses in agriculture, which led to the college launching an Agricultural Business program.

The administration’s openness to new ideas is part of what Scherbatskoy loves about SUNY Adirondack. Most recently, he rolled out a course in agroecology, his response to a new approach to agricultural science and the rapidly expanding Agricultural Business program.

“In the time I’ve been here, I’ve seen numerous changes,” he said, listing construction of Adirondack Hall and an active sustainability program among them.

Scherbatskoy is also responsible for creating the college’s Sustainable Food Project, which provides education and leadership for sustainable communities centered on ecologically sound agriculture. 

“Real sustainability requires balancing environmental, economic and social issues,” he said. “We donate food to our campus Community Hub food pantry, offer Continuing Education classes in home agriculture and promote farm-to-school programs.”

His commitment has a clear impact on the college and community, but also on individuals. 

“Tim Scherbatskoy really cares about what he’s teaching,” said Maggie Hogan, a graduate of the Agricultural Business program who transferred to SUNY Cobleskill. “And that really makes a difference.”


Nick Rowell

Nick Rowell shares his soil experience with SUNY Adirondack students in the classroom.

Educator starts with the soil

When Nick Rowell starts talking about soil, he exudes an enthusiasm most people reserve for their favorite professional sports team, recent vacation or the accomplishments of their grandchildren.

He digs right in, discussing best practices, soil health, resiliency, biology and resource management. Rowell has served as natural resource specialist for Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District for eight years, so he knows his dirt.

As an expert in erosion and sediment control, Rowell has for the past several years worked closely with SUNY Adirondack’s Agricultural Business professors, offering student workshops in such subjects as no-till practices and nutrient management.

“Soil is the base of any farm,” said Rowell, an adjunct professor. “These practices help the farm, economically and productively, and keep the whole ecosystem around the farm healthier.”

Returning year after year, Rowell has witnessed the Agricultural Business program taking root.

“The classes are growing, student interest is growing, and seeing that is great," he said. "We love getting our hands dirty, getting out in the field, digging, getting soil samples and really learning about what’s under our feet."



Samantha Sprague

Samantha Sprague, a graduate of the Agricultural Business degree program, continues to work in the college greenhouse.

Farming career is more than a job

When Samantha Sprague envisions her future, she’s working outside, the sun shining down on her shoulders, the breeze rustling her hair, her hands covered in earth. 

“This is more than a career, it’s a lifestyle,” said Sprague, the first graduate of SUNY Adirondack’s Agricultural Business program. “I crave the career, but also the lifestyle it will bring. You’re outside, exposed to nature and fresh air.”

Sprague took a job on an organic chicken and turkey farm and realized she had a lot to learn, so she changed her major from Managing, Marketing and Entrepreneurship to Agricultural Business. 

“The program gives you a lot of experience — fruit trees, potatoes, garlic,” she said. “You’re not just exposed to growing greens or potatoes, but also the science behind it, what you need to understand.”

She still works on the poultry farm, but also stayed on at the SUNY Adirondack Agricultural greenhouse, where she harvests crops, waters, plants and tries different growing conditions. 

“I’m always able to experiment, which gives me more room to grow,” she said. 

The lessons she learned at SUNY Adirondack aren’t just about planting and soil.

“There’s always something to do, so I’ve learned how important time management is,” she said.

But she isn’t so focused on fitting everything in that the beauty of what she does is lost on her.

“If I pack a sandwich for lunch, I can cut the lettuce or tomato right in the field to add to it. If I ever have children, they will dig in the dirt and find worms,” she said.



Maggie Hogan and cow

SUNY Adirondack Agricultural Business graduate Maggie Hogan pets a cow during a class field trip.

Graduate advocates for dairy farmers

SUNY Adirondack Agricultural Business graduate Maggie Hogan has first-hand experience of what farmers go through.

Raised on a now-defunct dairy farm in Kingsbury, Hogan took her associate degree to SUNY Cobleskill, where she is studying Agricultural Business and Technology.

“I want to change the image that is put on dairy farmers,” she said, expressing disgust over criticisms she has heard of the industry. “We are suppliers of food, but people don’t see that. They’ll eat ice cream all they want, but then they talk down about dairy farmers.”

One of her favorite parts of the SUNY Adirondack program was farm visits in one of Assistant Professor Kim London’s classes. 

“It was very, very educational because you saw all the different kinds of farming — pig, dairy, goat, the back end of Stewart’s — you saw all the sides of everything,” Hogan said. “Advocating is a huge part of it, letting people come to the farm and see what’s going on.”