Ian Marshall was born on a mixed family farm near Markethill in Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland. His father was a farmer and his mother a school teacher, he was the 3rd of four children. 


In the early years he attended Newry Model Primary School with his siblings, where his mother was a teacher, transferring to Markethill Primary school when his mother moved to take up a teaching post closer to the family home. He subsequently took the transfer test and moved on to complete secondary education at The Royal School Armagh, progressing to Greenmount Agricultural College to further his education undertaking a Diploma in Agriculture with a view to return to the farm to expand and grow the family business. 

During this period the dairy business was grown and expanded in conjunction with a beef enterprise with cereals grown on farm to complement the livestock enterprises. At the same time as a young man a significant amount of time was committed to support the work of the Ulster Farmers’ Union through their committee structure, Management Board and Executive Committee culminating in his election as Vice President in 2011 and election as President in 2014. 

It was over 20 years later that he returned to academia when the opportunity arose to complete a Masters in Agri-Food Business Development at Ulster University and Babson College in Boston, USA. 

Ian Marshall has a natural ability to lead and plan, he is a strategist by nature and gets great satisfaction from negotiation and dialogue, finding solutions to problems and managing crises.

Recent Activity

Ian Marshall currently works within the Queens University Belfast (QUB) Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) as a Business Development Manager. The IGFS is one of four Global Research Institutes at Queen's University Belfast, and was established to address the key, international challenge of the future of the world's food systems.

Following two terms as Vice President and a term as President Ian Marshall stepped down in 2016 from the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU). He has also served on the Agri-Food Strategy Board for NI (AFSB), the Executive Committee of the Young Farmers’ Club of Ulster (YFCU), The Farm Safety Partnership and the College Advisory Group to the College of Agriculture Food and Rural Development (CAFRE). Furthermore, he was Regional Chair for LANTRA NI and was a member of the Assured Foods Standards Ownership Body and sits on the UK Board for NFU Mutual.  

He is also a Professional Member of the Institute of Agricultural Management P.Agric (IAgrM).

Political Activity

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Ian Marshall has vast experience and an extensive knowledge of the agri-food industry and understands every part of the supply chain from 'farm to fork' with his involvement in primary production of dairy, beef, sheep and grains on the family farm business over a 30 year period following his education and subsequent return to the farm business. This understanding was enhanced during his political lobbying with the UFU over a career spanning 25 years representing the interests of farmers, their families and the agri-food industry at Stormont Buildings, Belfast, at Westminster in London and at the EU Commission in Brussels.  

In 2018 he was nominated to run in a Seanad Eireann election by Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and was later successfully elected on April 27th, 2018 as a Senator to serve in the Senate. 

He made his maiden speech on Tuesday 1st May 2018.

Following his election he was appointed to serve on the joint Oireachtas Committee for Climate Change and Environment and the Seanad Committee for the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. He is also a member of the Joint Committee on Rural and Community Development.