Monthly Archives: January 2014

Current Issues in Agriculture, Food and Genetic Engineering | Jan. 27

Photo: Cornell University

Register thru January 23, 2014. Seats limited.

On the evening of Monday, January 27th, the Cornell Club of the Greater Capital District will provide an exciting program at the Albany Marriott featuring one of Cornell’s own alumni, Dr. Margaret Smith (BS ’78, PhD ’82) – world renowned for her expertise in plant breeding and genetics, – who will discuss Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering in Agriculture.

Recognizing that there is significant public concern and misunderstanding about genetic engineering, Dr. Smith addresses many public audiences on the topic and will likely encourage much discussion.

Prior to hearing the guest speaker’s presentation, the Marriott will have open to all guests a cash bar of soda, water, beer, and wine complimented by a cheeseboard, vegetable platter, and fine assortment of hot hors d’oeuvres.

The cost for the event is only $15 and reservations must be completed by January 23, 2014.

Space is limited so reserve soon. More information to follow on registration site.

This event is being substantially underwritten by Zimmerman and Associates. Thank you Kathy and Rick Zimmerman, ’78.

Meeting Location/Parking:

The Albany Marriott is located at 189 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12205. More information will follow regarding specific meeting room.


  • 5:30 PM – Social gathering/meet Professor Smith. Hot hors d’oeuvres, cheese and vegetable platters with cash bar.
  • 6:15 PM – Last call for food/drink
  • 6:30 PM – Guest Speaker – Dr. Margaret Smith
  • 7:15/7:45 PM – Q&A from audience
  • 7:45 PM/8:00 PM – Informal questions/social time.

Talk Synopsis:

From food labeling, to feeding the world, to climate change; GMO’s are generating much discussion throughout our society. Dr. Margaret Smith, Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University, will discuss Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering in Agriculture with specific topics to include: the basics of genetic engineering, how GE is addressing challenges such as world hunger and climate change, and the issues surrounding food labeling.

Guest Speaker Bio:

Prof. Margaret Smith

Margaret E. Smith came to Cornell University in 1987 as a faculty member in the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, focusing on corn breeding. Her research is primarily on field corn, but also includes limited work on sweet corn. Her program emphasizes breeding for productivity and adaptation to New York growing conditions, improving insect and disease resistance, adapting varieties to more sustainable production systems, breeding for organic systems, and exploring farmer-participatory plant breeding. Until spring 2002, she taught a course on genetic improvement of crop plants. From 1998 until 2001, Margaret served as the Associate Director for Cornell Cooperative Extension in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Upon completion of her half-time administration assignment, she returned full time to the Plant Breeding and Genetics faculty to continue her corn breeding research and to serve as the Department Extension Leader. In her extension role, she conducts educational programs for agricultural audiences on crop varieties and seeds, and on plant genetic engineering for diverse public audiences. Before coming to Cornell, Margaret worked for several years in Latin America, first as a plant breeder at the Tropical Agriculture Center for Research and Teaching in Turrialba, Costa Rica, and later as a corn breeder at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Texcoco, Mexico. The focus of her work in both of these positions was on improving crop varieties for small-scale and subsistence farmers in the tropics – a research interest she maintains to date. She currently has collaborative projects in Kenya and South Africa. Dr. Smith holds both a Bachelor’s Degree (Class of ’82) and Doctorate Degree (1982) from our very own Cornell University.

More Info: Please contact Renee Roth-O’Neil ‘88 at or (518) 339-2845 if you have any questions.

Register thru January 23, 2014. Seats limited.