Archive of ‘Delaware Agriculture’ category

A bootiful two days for Sussex County’s 4-H farm tour at Hopkins dairy, Lewes

In rain and in sunshine, Sussex County 4-H held their annual two-day farm tour at Green Acres Farm in Lewes on Wed. May 9 and Thurs. May 10.  The dairy farm, the largest in Delaware  – milking 550 cows three times daily,  is owned by the Hopkins family, longtime 4-H supporters who have opened their barn doors for agricultural education for the past 26 years.

Luke Hopkins cuddles a baby chick inside his family's animal barn

Wednesday’s rain didn’t dampen this year’s exploration as more than 700 children, visited the farm’s many attractions, such as Pig Alley and Calf Lane and a tractor ride.  Sussex County 4-H focuses this agriculture education outreach for students in preschool to grade two. Students register through their schools. Each preregistered student received a free cone from the Hopkins Farm Creamery, which opened in 2009. Students, well-prepared in slickers and rain boots of many colors, confirmed that ice cream tastes as good in the rain as it does in the sun.

Thursday’s total neared 1,000 youth.  Wednesday’s rain had left a few mud puddles for the pigs to play in, delighting the students who watched them frolic in the soft, gushy Delaware soil.  In all, an estimated 1900 visitors in all,  including teachers, parents, chaperones, Extension staff and 4-H and Master Gardener volunteers, attended the farm tour on both days.

Hollymount 4-H'ers Colleen Anderson, Grace Hopkins and Holly Anderson show off their show cows!

During the tour, students, who leave the bus pinching their noses, eventually forget the farm aroma and begin to  make the connection between the family farm and the final food product – usually referred to as ‘farm to fork’ in this case was ‘farm to cone!’  Teachers and students have an opportunity to meet the Hopkins family; Walter and his wife Jenny; son Burli and wife Allison; and the next generation of Hopkins farmers, 4-H’ers Michael, Jacob, Grace and Luke who can be seen throughout the tour comfortably hanging out with the pigs, lovingly tugging on a cow’s ear and sharing their farm experiences with visitors.

Burli and dairy farm manager Bob Geiman offered tours of the modern milking process.  School children observed firsthand the all the teamwork efforts that go into producing healthy, nutritious and safe food.

Master Gardener Brent Marsh, AKA Farmer McGregor, asks his audience if they saw who took his vegetables!

Under blue and gold tents Cooperative Extension educators provided additional learning, including exhibits on corn and corn products, healthy beverages and the importance of exercise.  A popular puppet and people show, the Adventures of Peter Rabbit in Farmer McGregor’s Garden was performed numerous times by volunteer Master Gardeners.

Local 4-H youth members brought their project animals, providing a talkative tom turkey, horse, sheep, goats, ducks and rabbits for young students to interact with and pet. UD Poultry Extension provided a chick hatchery and baby chick display, the inhabitants of which are now taking a much needed rest after being gently cupped by 1700 little hands.

Any area school or daycare center up to the second grade are invited to attend, with registration opening in late January before the May tour. The event is free.

For more information about the Sussex County 4-H Farm Tour contact the 4-H office at 856-7303.
Additional photos and videos of the farm tour may be found at 4-H’s Flickr site:  where photo sets for both days can be found, or visit Sussex County 4-H on

Article and photos by Michele Walfred

LEADelaware seeks new generation of agriculture leaders

LEADelaware, sponsored by the University of Delaware, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UD Cooperative Extension, and the Delaware Department of Agriculture is seeking new candidates to train as agricultural leadership fellows for its two-year program. The program is scheduled to begin September, 2012.

As an industry, agriculture contributes $8 billion dollars annually to the Delaware economy, according to a 2010 University of Delaware study. Continued effective and progressive leadership in the agriculture sector is essential.

LEADelaware is an agricultural and natural resource leadership program designed to help build the next generation of leaders within the food and fiber industries.

During the two-year training program, fellows will participate in teamwork and leadership capacity building exercises. They will be provided opportunities to practice these skills and will visit local and regional agribusinesses, and meet with policy makers that affect the agriculture industry. In the second year, the LEADelaware class will plan an international trip to experience diverse agricultural practices, thus broadening their perspectives. The first and second classes visited Chile and Peru, respectively.

“LEADelaware is an opportunity to learn and experience leadership,” says Bill McGowan, UD community development Extension agent in Sussex County and part of a three-member leadership team that will conduct class sessions beginning in September, 2012.

McGowan explained that LEADelware fellows will work together over two years on a variety of agriculture and natural resource issues, all the while developing and enhancing personal and organizational leadership skills.

“People come together as strangers or acquaintances and form long-standing relationships that expand their capacities, help them to engage on issues critical to Delaware and regional agriculture, and gain an international perspective as well, “ McGowan said.  “LEADelaware is a great start for those ready to expand their horizons and embark on a continual learning adventure.”

Joining McGowan in coordinating the program and leading the sessions are Tom Ilvento, chair of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Department of Food and Resource Economics, Laurie Wolinski, UD Extension Associate in Food and Resource Economics.

Past fellows have included agricultural Extension agents, high school agriculture teachers, farmers, agency personnel representing USDA Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource and Conservation Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Delaware Department of Agriculture and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, an aerial applicator, and commercial agriculture industry professionals.

The LEADelaware programs seeks to fulfill its third class, recruiting 15-20 individuals from diverse agricultural professions.

For more information about LEADelaware and the application process for Class III, contact Laurie Wolinkski at or call  (302) 831-2538.  Application deadline is August 10, 2012. You may also visit LEADelaware’s website.

Delaware Cooperative Extension to host Ag Workshops

Our partners at Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University have announced two agricultural workshops.

The first, Agriculture Entrepreneurship Workshop Series, begins Feb. 29 and continues through March 21, 2012

Download Agriculture Entrepreneurship Workshop brochure here

The second is a two-day workshop is Geospatial Technology in Agriculture , on March 15-16. 2012

Download the GIS Technology brochure here

For more information on these workshop opportunities please contact John Clendaniel. Phone- (302) 857-6425.

Carvel UDel Researchers and Extension Agents at Delaware Ag Week

Delaware Agricultural Week 2012 began on Monday evening January 16, at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington. Tuesday marked the first full day of exhibits from local and regional vendors,  several sessions including Delmarva hay and pasture, grain marketing, equine pasture and nutrient management, and presentations from the Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware (FVGAD). Spanning three facilities, Exhibition Hall, Dover Building and Commodities Building, attendees escaped the rain,  met with friends and colleagues, exchanged information and resources and took in a little bit of Delaware’s agriculture history at the First State Antique Tractor Club.   Events continue through the week and include nutrient management sessions both in Harrington and at the Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown.

Carvel personnel in attendance throughout the week include: Dr. Mark Isaacs, Tracy Wootten, Dr. Mark VanGessel, Dr. Kate Everts, Dr. Gordon Johnson, Dr. Cory Whaley, Emmalea Ernest, James Adkins, Bill Brown and other Extension staff and UD researchers from New Castle and Kent County.

Delaware Ag Week is organized by the University of Delaware, Delaware State University and Delaware Department of Agriculture. This year marks the seventh consecutive Ag Week.


Below are some photos taken at Delaware Ag Week 2012. Please visit again as more photographs are added daily.

UD Cooperative Extension to offer Annie’s Project in Georgetown

In 2008 the first class of Annie’s Project was offered to Delaware women, with subsequent classes offered in Kent and Sussex in 2010 and 2011. The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension is pleased to announce that the 2012 Annie’s Project class has been scheduled at the Carvel Research & Education Center in Georgetown.  Click here to view photos of past graduates and general information about Annie’s Project.

Annie’s project is designed to empower farm women to manage information systems used in critical decision making processes and to build local networks throughout the state. The target audience is farm women with a passion for business and involvement in the farm operation.

Project Topics cover the five areas of:

  • Risk Management –Production
  • Market
  • Financial, Legal Risk
  • Human Resources

Annie’s Project will be held Wednesdays,  January 25 to March 14, 2012. (This includes two days in computer lab Feb. 15 and Feb. 22). All sessions will be located at the  Sussex County Extension Office, Carvel Research & Education Center,

16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown, Del.   6 to 9 p.m.  $75.00 per person: Includes dinner and all course materials. Dinner will begin at 6 p.m. with social and networking sessions beginning promptly at 6:30 p.m.

For registration information email  Tracy Wootten or call her at  302.856.7303  (office) or 302-236-0298 (cell) or visit the website at   Download the mail in registration form


Class Schedule

Click here to download Annie’s Project 2012 brochure and class schedule

January 25   Session One

6:30pm – Annie’s Project Introduction

Class Introductions

Class Survey

6:45 pm – Women in Farm Business:  A Personal Experience

Ashley Winterstein, Queen Anne’s County

7:00pm – How Property is Titled: Who Else is in business with you?

Lori Lynch, University of Maryland

We will discuss the different forms of ownership or property titling that impacts the rights of each and every person:  Sole Proprietor, Joint Tenancy; Rights of Survivorship; incorporation versus Partnership.  Some issues related to passing on the farm and estate tax will also be investigated.

8:15pm – Colors Personality Test

Tracy Wootten, Horticulture Agent, University of Delaware Extension

The Personality I.Q. workshop is a spinoff of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators. Using a simple series of word associations, participants will acquire a deeper understanding and insights of their personality style and work type. Hopefully this leads to clearer perceptions about ourselves and the different gifts we each bring to our families, work groups and personal relationships.


February 1   Session Two

6:30pm – Crop Insurance

Jackie King, King Crop Insurance

Purchasing a crop insurance policy is one risk management option that farm businesses cannot ignore.  This session will focus on available policies, coverage levels and how a policy will work in conjunction with other risk management strategies.

7:00pm – Understanding your Farm Insurance Policy 

Kurt Fetterman, Nationwide Insurance

Farming can be a risky business therefore farms should take measures to protect themselves.  This session will focus on insurance topics and policy information regarding liability protection and risk management.  It will also suggest points to ponder including off premises and ATV as well as production liability insurance, agri-tourism enterprises and equine operations.

8:00pm – 2009 USDA FSA Update

Robin Talley and Jennifer Feindt,  USDA Farm Service Agency

There have been many changes to current (FSA) Farm Service Agency programs and new programs will be added as part of the 2008 Farm Bill. Learn more about these programs and how these changes may implicate your decision making and farm planning.

Become an Informed Agricultural Producer!!


February 8 Session Three

6:30 pm – Business Planning

Shannon Dill, Agriculture Educator, University of MD Extension

Planning is essential to any business, no matter how large or small your inventory, payroll and bank account. To be sustainable and profitable a farm operation must have a clear understanding of production, marketing, finances and labor. Having these plans mentally is not enough!

Taking time to formulate thoughts, evaluate your business, devise a strategy, and anticipate possible problems will help your business be successful.

8:30 pm – Computer Basics and Minimizing Technology-Related Risk – Part 1

Nan Stenzel, Regional IT Coordinator, University of MD Extension

Computer technology provides many benefits to business/farm operations; however, there are also many risks.  Learn about computer basics, internet access options, online security, and securing your data.


February 15  Session Four

6:30pm – Credit Reports

Anne Camasso, Extension Educator, University of Delaware Extension

Credit history or credit report is a record of an individual’s past borrowing and repaying, including information about late payments and bankruptcy. When you fill out an application for credit from a bank, store or credit card company, their information is forwarded to a credit bureau. Therefore, it is important that you understand credit reports and know your credit score.  We will cover how to read and access your credit report.

7:00pm – Computer Basics and Minimizing Technology-Related Risk – Part 2

Nan Stenzel, Regional IT Coordinator, University of MD Extension

Computer technology provides many benefits to business/farm operations; however, there are also many risks.  This session will be hands-on in the computer lab. Learn about computer basics, internet access options, online security, and securing your data.  We will also cover basic spreadsheet operations using Microsoft Excel.


February 22  Session Five

6:45pm – Computers and Your Farm Business

Laurie Wolinski, Extension Educator, University of Delaware Extension

Computers can increase farm efficiency by managing financial and production records.  This session will help you apply Excel and QuickBooks to your farm business.  Learn how to set up Excel spreadsheets to maintain records.  Practice with QuickBooks financial software to improve your farm business.


February 29  Session Six

6:30pm – Straight Talk about Farm Transfer

Crystal Terhune, Extension Educator, University of MD Extension

When communicating with family members and other heirs about farm transfer, many issues and tensions can arise.  This segment will highlight some resources that you can access to make these communications more effective.  Resources will include information about mediation programs, fact sheets to guide you through specific aspects of talking with others about the future of your farm, and handouts pointing you to trusted online sources of information.

7:00 p.m.  Class’s Chosen Topics

March 7  Session Seven

6:30pm – Tax Considerations for Farm Businesses

Henry Leonard, CBIZ

Understanding tax laws is important for every farm business.  This session will address farm tax planning as well as common errors made by agriculture operations.  Information from the Farm Tax guide and the personal experience of a CPA will help you understand tax planning for your farm.

 7:00pm – Estate Planning

Buck Smith, Esquire – Smith Feinberg McCartney & Berl, LLP

An effective estate plan ensures that you and those you care most for will enjoy the security of your assets.   This in-depth discussion focuses on “best practices” to preserve your life’s holdings, ensure their efficient transfer to your beneficiaries and meet family objectives.

Attendees will learn:   Wills, Living Wills, Powers of Attorneys – What they do- and don’t do; When to update?, How to protect your assets from death taxes and nursing home care costs, Your options for paying for home care and assisted living care, Keeping the peace: Ideas for reducing conflict among family members, Stretch IRA- reducing tax liability over multiple generations, Special issues unique to farmland and farming businesses, What  you can start doing now to prepare for the possibility of your death or disability.


March 14  Session Eight

Annie’s Graduation

Course Wrap-Up

End of Class Evaluation

8:00pm – Developing Grain Marketing Plans

Jenny Rhodes, Extension Educator, University of MD Extension

This session will teach you how to develop a solid grain marketing plan for your farming operation.  Emotions can affect your marketing decisions. Adding just 10 cents to your bottom line could increase your net income by 33-50%.  This grain marketing plan session will include costs of production, knowing where to start marketing, financial goals, crop insurance coverage, storage capacity, projected production, and pricing tools.


Funding for this project was provided by the Northeast Center for Risk Management Education, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, UMD Extension and DE Cooperative ExtensionThis material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2010-49200-06201.



Carvel REC vies for UD Spirit Award – please vote!!

Representing Delaware agriculture, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Cooperative Extension, Lasher Laboratory and the University of Delaware southern campus, members of the Carvel REC staff assembled to don their colors and DARED to be a BLUE HEN !

There are two ways to vote:

Visit the University of Delaware Dare to Show More Spirit Award Contest website and submit your vote, or

Visit the UD Alumni Relations Facebook pageand “Like” our photo!

The submitted photo is one of 14 that will vie for the UD’s Dare to Show More Spirit Award. We had a difficult time deciding on which photo to submit. Over two days our staff posed inside and out to get it “just right.”   Take a look at all of the great images we took leading up to the contest: UD Spirit photos  We have so much spirit here we had two different photo shoots! It was hard to narrow it down but we think our “Dare to Farm” shot says it all!

Thank you for voting!

UD researchers share weed, crop trial info at annual Weed Day in Georgetown

On Wednesday, June 22, Mark VanGessel, University of Delaware’s extension’s specialist and professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, his team of weed science researchers, Barbara Scott and Quintin Johnson, and Mark Isaacs, director of Carvel Research and Education Center, welcomed growers and those serving in the agricultural industry to tour their research plots at the Carvel Center in Georgetown. Weed Day has become an annual agriculture tradition at UD’s experimental station.

Mark VanGessel explains how a roller/crimper is used for mechanical weed control in organic crop production. Photo:M.Walfred

Throughout the year UD Extension and research staff conducts unbiased studies on more than 70 trials (which amount to more than 700 plots) most are devoted to key agronomic crops, and evaluate their effectiveness of weed management. Chemical, mechanical and cultural practices are evaluated. Their findings are published in an annual guide of trial results that is made available to attendees and the results serve as the basis for educational programs throughout the year and provide the experience to answer questions from farmers and the agricultural industry. More than 50 attended Wednesday’s weed session.

The goal of Weed Day is to deliver the latest research. Communication to the industry is a key component in Delaware’s continued agronomic success and is part of Cooperative Extension’s outreach mission. Many of the plots are identified by signage indicating the particular study and methodology.

The trial studies included a variety of herbicide programs for conventional tillage and no-till production.  Included in the 2011 Delaware Weed Field Day publication are studies in field corn and sweet corn, soybean, watermelon, cantaloupes, winter wheat, peppers, lima beans and snap beans. VanGessel also introduced the tour group to a trial on organic production of corn, soybean and winter wheat. Weed management relies on cover crops and mechanical weed control. A roller/crimper is used to kill the cover crops prior to planting corn or soybeans by crimping the plant stems and rolling it down on the ground so it dies. A high residue cultivator is being used to control weeds after the corn and soybeans have begun to grow.

Kevin Ryan, a planner with the Sussex Conservation District and also a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) attended the tour to keep informed and maintain his CCA accreditation. Ryan feels the tours provide a valuable visual experience. an important complement to what is shared in printed materials. “Book learning is one thing, but we learn a lot by seeing what does and doesn’t work in Delaware,” Ryan says.  Ryan appreciates the efforts and accessibility of UD Extension staff and researchers.  “They are always available to help any time, and what is learned here can be shared with our customers. It’s great,”  Ryan says of Weed Day.

According to a recent UD study, The Impact of Agriculture on Delaware’s Economy, agriculture in the First State contributes nearly $8 billion to the local economy.  As the study points out, production efficiency is vital keeping Delaware agriculture in the forefront of what is a very competitive sector.

Weed Day began inside Carvel’s meeting rooms with a brief overview of UD’s trials, what methods or herbicides have shown promising results, and weeds that remains challenging- morningglory, speedwell, annual ryegrass, herbicide-resistant pigweed and Palmer-aramanth. VanGessel also acknowledged the valuable contribution of student interns and the Carvel’s farm and administrative staff for the continued success and relevance of Weed Day. Later in the morning, Weed Day visitors were chauffeured on haystacks for a firsthand look at several field trials. View photos of Weed Day 2011 here.


Article and photos by Michele Walfred

LEADelaware graduates second class of agriculture fellows

2010-2011 LEADelaware graduates:First row: Judith Leith (Camden), Maryann Reed (Felton), Karen Breeding (Bridgeville), Bill McGowan Standing: Mark J. Davis (Georgetown), Tom Ilvento, Jeff Chorman (Greenwood), Laurie Wolinski, Ron Lindale (Milford) , Kristin Pusey (Seaford), Darryl Moore (Smyrna), Jennifer Walls (Milford), Cory Atkins (Laurel), Jennifer Volk (Smyrna), Jayme Arthurs (Houston), Mark A. Davis (Harrington). Photo by Anne Camasso

Thirteen participants in the second class of LEADelaware celebrated a graduation ceremony on Friday, June 3, at the USDA State Service Center in Dover, capping two years of agricultural leadership training which began in Seaford, helping to raise a Habitat for Humanity residence and culminating with a tour of Peru’s agricultural industry (click link for photos). In between, the fellows enriched their personal style of leadership with a variety of experiences that broadened their interaction with Delaware agriculture – an industry, according to a recent University of Delaware study, that contributes $7.9 billion to Delaware’s economy.

LEADelaware fellows met regularly over a two-year period. The participants brought diverse agricultural backgrounds and experiences to inspire each other to implement new ideas to benefit the industry.  Among the 13 fellows were three farmers, others were agency personnel representing USDA Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource and Conservation Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Delaware Department of Agriculture and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, an aerial applicator, high school agriculture teacher and commercial agricultural industry professionals.

Their agenda over two years, coordinated by Tom Ilvento, chair of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Department of Food and Resource Economics, Bill McGowan, UD Community Development Extension Agent in Sussex County and Laurie Wolinski, UD Extension Associate in Food and Resource Economics Department included:

  • Examination of public perception of agriculture by viewing and discussing the documentary Food Inc. within the college and with LEADelaware alumni
  • Touring animal and crop farms in Delaware including UD’s farm
  • Visited the Delaware Biotechnology Institute in Newark
  • Met with local media
  • Visited Washington, D.C.
  • Developed and practiced leadership skills including conflict resolution, communication and decision-making.
  • Developed stretch goals with Mike Nally, of Lead Your Way Solutions.

Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, who led the first LEADelaware class while serving as a UD Cooperative Extension Specialist, noted the importance of leadership for this industry. Delaware agriculture is a significant and diverse economic force.  Change is constant. The class of LEADelaware II fully recognizes the challenges and rewards ahead and looks forward to playing their part.

LEADelaware seeks to build the next generation of leaders within the food, fiber and natural resources industries in Delaware.  Sponsors include the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UD Cooperative Extension, Delaware Department of Agriculture and MidAtlantic Farm Credit.

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