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Morrisville State professor takes students on the road to gain skills

Determining agricultural property appraisal values can be a pretty complicated process. So when it was time for Morrisville State College Professor Sheila Marshman to teach the subject in class, she chose a different approach "she took her students on the road.

Seventeen students in her Agricultural Financial Decision Making class became agricultural entrepreneurs for part of the semester, working in the field, most recently at an actual farm, learning hands-on what goes into appraising a dairy farm.

With the help of Kevin Manion, a certified appraiser from First Pioneer Farm Credit, the largest agricultural lender in the United States, students determined an appraisal value of the Taylwind Dairy farm located in Cassville.

Marshman, assistant professor of agricultural business, took on the class this semester, utilizing her own unique approach.

"Given the current economic climate, it is essential that students know how a market value is arrived at for real-estate, farms and homes, Marshman said. "It is also critical that students know how banks determine the amount a client can borrow based on the appraised value.

"The concept of conducting an on farm appraisal is consistent with Morrisville State College 's hands-on philosophy of learning by doing, she said.

Taking what they learned in class, the bachelor degree students from agricultural business development, dairy management, horticulture business management and equine science majors, were tasked to determine values for the land and buildings on the family farm.

Divided into four teams, they set out to classify and evaluate characteristics of the farm to make their final valuation, a complexly detailed process that entailed hours of tedious work.

Among their toils was measuring structures and assessing building values.

"There was so much involved with putting prices on buildings, including determining depreciation, physical deterioration and pricing every building and every stall, Lene Roberts, of Remsen, an agricultural business development major, said.

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