About

Mr. Marsden is a well known, highly respected consultant in the critical field of controlled environment agricultural systems. His qualifications include extensive experience in the design, sales, and construction of agricultural systems and related support equipment. His knowledge of project design ranges from small individual units to large multi-acre complexes. He has experience in basic project design and layout, site selection, manufacturing and purchasing of equipment, construction management, personnel training, and marketing. He has worked in the United States, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Grenada, Venezuela, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates. Typical of the projects undertaken by Mr. Marsden are:

  • Owner/Operator of the mail order company Herbal Advantage, Inc. The company operates several web sites including www.HerbalAdvantage.com and www.Stevia-Plant.com and is one of the largest growers of the sweet plant Stevia in North America.
  • Design and build a half acre greenhouse on a mountain top in Venezuela.
  • Builder of retail greenhouses at three Builders Square outlets in Puerto Rico.
  • Preliminary investigations, prior to feasibility study, for a 30,000 head beef cattle ranch to be built in the Philippines. The money to build this project has been found and is awaiting the completion of the feasibility study.
  • Joint effort with a financial consultant for the preparation of a feasibility study for a twenty-five acre greenhouse and 300 acre outdoor agriculture production facility to be built in Mexico. Construction for this project should begin 1998, based upon the completion of the financial package. No other information can be released on this project until the project is operational.
  • Preparation of a feasibility study for the specialized production and marketing of a high protein salt tolerant forage crop for Saudi Arabia. This crop has extremely low water requirements. A non disclosure statement has been signed. However the information might be available from the client.
  • Due to improper maintenance, Mr. Marsden was asked to return to the 8 hectare (19 acre) greenhouse project (described below) that he built near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Marsden prepared a list of areas that needed improving along with an approximate cost and a time schedule for completion. This was done for the entire farming operation that included; greenhouses, center pivots, a sod farm, sheep, dates, citrus and vineyard. This work should have only taken about five months, however due to the outbreak of the Gulf War Marsden was asked to stay until a suitable manager could be found.
  • Preparation of a feasibility study for a greenhouse project to grow tomatoes in Long Island, New York. The greenhouses were to be built adjacent to an incinerator that burnt waste wood and produce electricity and hot water. The feasibility study covered such areas as project design, management, marketing and a seven year cash flow analysis.
  • Preparation of a preliminary feasibility study for an “Exotic Tropical Cut Flower Production” facility to be established in Grenada, West Indies. Marsden was selected by The American Society of Agricultural Consultants International, along with four other consultants, to be part of a team sponsored by the U.S. Trade and Development Program. The five man team spent one month in Grenada identifying potential agricultural projects that could be built by interested U.S. investors. A one hundred page “Project Profile Report”, published by ASAC International, describes these projects.
  • Complete responsibility for all areas of construction supervision of an 8 hectare greenhouse vegetable production facility built 50 miles southwest of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The project was built on a 40 acre site. Included were seven 1.15 hectare climate controlled greenhouse ranges, four management villas, a labor camp for 140 workers, a 1000 square meter warehouse / vegetable packing facility, a 1200 kW prime power generation plant, a 100,000 gallon per day water treatment plant, and an office building with six offices and a conference – training room. Marsden was also responsible for the installation of a 900 meter well, asphalt roads, underground utilities, waste water disposal, sewerage treatment, and site landscaping. Marsden hired and trained a local Arabic speaking construction crew. He also traveled to the Philippines, interviewed over 250 applicants, and selected 50 agricultural specialists that were trained as greenhouse vegetable production workers. The project was completed and all 7 greenhouse ranges were commissioned within 14 months. Fifteen months from the start of construction cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce were being shipped daily to the Riyadh markets.
  • The design and testing of a Mobile Assembly Plant (MAP) and the redesign of a hydroponic grass Fodder Production Unit (FPU). The FPU was redesigned to allow it to be shipped in “kit” form which drastically reduced shipping costs. The MAP was designed to fit into two specially modified 40 foot containers which, when emptied, became completely sulf-contained living quarters for four men, a power generation plant, and a work shop. The MAP can be erected on a 10 meter X 50 meter concrete slab by four men in one week. The Mobile Assembly Plant and the special shipping containers were built in Holland under Marsden’s supervision. Annual production of the FPU was increased by 25% by incorporating a set of pre-germination tanks.
  • Preparation of a feasibility study for a 1.25 million bird per year integrated broiler project for Nigeria. The project included pullet, breeder, and broiler houses, a feed mill, a processing plant, a rendering plant, and a laboratory. It also included on-site housing, water storage, power generation, and all the other support systems necessary for an integrated broiler production facility. The feasibility study covered such areas as project design, management and financing, as well as a time scale for construction and implementation.
  • Design of two 7.5 acre hydroponic vegetable production facilities to be built in Massachusetts. The project design included the latest innovations in hydroponic growing systems, greenhouse insulation, vegetable packaging and storage facilities, and an on site co-generation plant capable of producing all the required heat, carbon dioxide, and most of the electrical energy. Preparation of a feasibility study included all costs for construction and operation for the first year, and all maintenance costs, operating costs, and profits for the second through the sixth years. The project is expected to reach a positive financial status six and one-half years from start of construction.
  • Assistance in the design of a hydroponic vegetable production facility built for a public corporation in western New York. The greenhouses are heated by gas from on-site gas wells and by wood grown and harvested on the farm. Due to the low heating costs and the close proximity of the markets, the project is expected to be extremely profitable.
  • Responsibility for the initial design, purchasing, coordination of shipping schedules, hiring of local construction personnel, as well as directing the actual installation of a hydroponic farm project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The support systems for this project included living facilities for thirty workers, water desalination, a fully automatic 700 kW on-site prime power generation system, and vegetable packaging and storage facilities. This is a private venture and is currently producing cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant in a 1.2 hectare greenhouse.
  • Evaluation and identification of the potential market in the United States greenhouse industry and the establishment of a dealer network for a new extruded twin wall plastic panel. An outline for sales strategy was prepared for all greenhouse manufacturers and horticultural suppliers who were chosen as dealers. A series of full page ads and one-eighth page ads were prepared for inclusion in trade magazines directed toward the commercial greenhouse operator.
  • Design of the greenhouse and growing systems, as well as construction supervision, for a 15,000 square foot operation to grow gourmet hydroponic tomatoes. The greenhouse was engineered to carry the wind and snow load common to the north central part of the United States as well as support a full crop load of tomatoes without extra internal bracing. The automatic climate control system would notify the owner by telephone if it could not hold the greenhouse temperature for which it was programmed. The harvest was sold primarily on contract —- guaranteeing uniform year round quality, quantity, and price.

Mr. Marsden was the sales manager for Hummert Seed Company, one of the largest horticultural supply companies in the United States, from September 1972 to March 1979. His responsibilities included preparation of a horticultural supply catalog, hiring and training a sales team, product procurement, design of the first low profile, poly covered, gutter connected greenhouse, and the design and manufacture of the first solid state multiple zone programmable timer for mist propagation. He assisted in the preparation of ads and coordinated them with seasonal changes. The major emphasis for direct contact was trade shows; Mr. Marsden designed and executed all trade show exhibits.

From 1970 to 1972, Mr. Marsden was a commissioned salesman for Stuppy Greenhouse Supply Company. He was the first greenhouse supply salesman for the company; his territory was the eastern half of the United States. As business grew, new salesmen were hired and his territory was divided. Mr. Marsden was responsible for field training of these new salesmen. He assisted in the preparation of the company’s first greenhouse supply catalogue. He was responsible for, or assisted in, the design of many new items the company manufactured and marketed for the commercial greenhouse industry.

From 1965 to 1970, Mr. Marsden was employed by Somerset Nursery. He was involved in all areas of the operation including landscape design, sales, planting, and the propagation and growing of nursery stock. Mr. Marsden received intensive electronics training in the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed in Kansas City, Missouri from 1961 to 1965 but was often sent to other bases on temporary assignments. He was an aircraft weapons systems mechanic on the F102 fighter-interceptor. His responsibilities included the repair of the radar, the communications system, and the missile firing systems. He was selected and specially trained to assist Hughes Aircraft Company with a major modification of the aircraft’s systems to include infrared detection and tracking systems. Mr. Marsden was awarded top security clearance and received several medals for outstanding performance.

Mr. Marsden’s depth of agricultural expertise began at an early age; he is the son of a major wholesale grower of nursery stock in Somerset, Massachusetts. Through his high school years (1957 to 1960) he worked weekends and summers at the nursery developing his skills in plant propagation and identification, insect and disease control, landscape design and sales, and as a foreman. Most of the workers under him were non-English speaking Portuguese immigrants. Although he only learned a few words of Portuguese, he developed a knack for working with men without being able to speak their language.

Mr. Marsden lives on a beef cattle ranch in the Missouri Ozarks with his wife Josefina. Josie, a dentist, has practiced in the Philippines and Saudi Arabia and speaks Arabic, Spanish and English quite well.

He is a member of the National Cattlemen’s Association, the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, the American Forage & Grassland Council, the Ohio Florists’ Association, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, and Bedding Plants International.

He is a certified member of the American Society of Agricultural Consultants and is a founding member of ASAC International. He is also a member of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.