Agriculture as a Food Shed

September 16th, 2019 Mr. Ed Kee talked to the class about why we should see our Agriculture Industry as a food shed. In Delaware there are 2,500 farms which covers 510,000 acres of land. All together it comes out to about 1.2 billion in Agriculture sales. That then multiplies 6-7 billion to economic activity. In total there is 41 percent farmland coupled with forest land! That’ leaves 76 percent FREE SPACE! The change in the economy from 1950 to 2007 decreased by 25 percent in farms and 24 percent in acres. In 1950 there were 8,300 farms and 904,000 acres. When 2007 came around there were only 2,546 farms and only 510,000 acres. Transportation was a big deal in agriculture and food production. Sail power and steam ships moved grain and produce to markets. Delaware’s first completed railroad was in Delmar in 1859 and stimulated a market driven to agricultural economy. When the railroad started to receive major competition, they then built the Dupont Highway in the 1920’s which is still used this very day!

Understanding the Poultry Industry

September 9th, 2019 Mrs. Georgie Cartanza spoke to my class about the poultry industry. Mrs. Georgie is a poultry extension agent. In her job they take egg laying chickens and make them meat chickens. This process began after the “Chicken of Tomorrow Contest.” As well as many others, Mrs. Georgie works in the Delmarva poultry industry. In Delmarva they produce 605 million birds, which is 9.6% of national production. Sussex county is #1 in broiler production and there are 825,000,000 birds in Delmarva a year. WOW! That comes out to be 3.2 billion in bird value. Only 1300 people are growers. Its amazing how they put so much effort and dedication into taking care of chickens and feeding the world. Learning about the poultry industry has been very fascinating to me. I never knew much about the poultry industry until I heard Mrs. Georgie’s story.

Guest Speaker Georgie on Evolving of the Poultry Industry

On Monday September 9th, Organic Poultry farmer, Georgie Cartanza, gave a presentation  on the evolution of poultry farming in Delaware. Before she went into any specifics about poultry farming’s complex history, we were educated on the land grants and acts that were established in order to further the research that goes into the agriculture field. For example, land grant universities were established in 1862 under the Morell Act, which made educating  individuals going into the agriculture field more feaseable. Another Act she mention was the 1914 Smith-lever act, which  brought cooperative Extension into play. However, one of the main lessons taken away from the presentation is that the main purpose of agriculture is to transport the produce from one area to another in a certain amount of time and grow the most effective sources of livestock and produce.

As for the history of poultry in Delaware and along the east coast, it all started in 1923. In 1923 Steele Family market grew first young meat birds, which was a result of a shipment 500 chicks were mistakenly shipped to Cecilia Steele. From this she created the first functional poultry farm. Down the road, in 1948-49 there was a contest held to find the “Chicken of tomorrow”. This was held in order to find a chicken with DNA that would allow for producing the most meaty and most producible bird. In todays society Delmarva Poultry industry has 252 million birds produced in Delaware and more broilers per square mile than in other in the United states. For meat type chicken there are 40,000,000,000 worldwide and 9,000,000,000 United states.  However, the poultry industry has an economic impact on Delmarva. It produces jobs for 14500 Poultry Company employees and the value of birds are 3.2 billion dollars.

Social media is the biggest influenced on the question: Where is my food coming from? Even though the most common opinion of agriculture by those who are not in the agriculture field, is that traditional farmers are bad for the environment. However, its is important to understand both sides before making a final judgement. For some individuals that protest non-organic farmers do due to a food choice because they prefer how it taste and makes them feel. Other important factor is sustainability and Perception vs. Reality. These are important because it is important to keep the economy afloat while also providing food for the billion and billions of people living around the world. As for perception vs. reality, if individuals don’t know the truth then it will be hard for them to make non-bias decisions. Balance between consumer demands. Balance between environmental regulations. Balance for economic viability.




Social Media with Michele Walfred

Michele Walfred spoke to our class about social media and the effects it has on professionalism, leadership, and agriculture. Social media is all about branding yourself. It is very important to brand yourself in a professional way. Business owners use social media to gauge if they think you would be a good fit at their company. If our brands do not represent us well and professionally, we most likely would not get the job. Michele not only taught us how to brand ourselves, she also gave us tips on how to be a leader on social media. Advocating for agriculture is another really important topic Michele talked about. The story of agriculture needs to be expanded to the general public so they can be educated about agriculture. When the public is not educated, they will make their own conclusions about what goes on in the agriculture industry and try to bash it on the internet. The stories of agriculture need to be spread on social media so people can begin to see what really goes on in our industry. Michele also showed us some great examples of fake news that showed us what to look out for on the internet since not everything we see on there is true.

Delaware: the small but mighty food shed – guest speaker Ed Kee

What most of the Nation doesn’t know about Delaware (if they even know we exist) is the state’s ability to grow and supply food for up and down the East Coast. Delaware can reach 1/3 of the population within 8 hours, making it the perfect place (and soil) for families to settle down to tackle the job of feeding a population. Before a highway system was established, Delaware farmers relied on waterways and railroads to export produce. The town of Felton became a popular railroad site of export while Wilmington became one of the larger ports for boat and railroad trade goods. The construction of the DuPont highway allowed for faster transportation of produce, ensuring the freshest product to the consumer. With the ability to provide so much for the population, the state had to make sure it would always be a contributor to the Delmarva area.  Currently, 30% of Delaware’s farmland is protected under the Agricultural Land Preservation Program, meaning the land cannot be sold to be developed or commercialized; it is only for the use of farmland. This program helps to provide fresh local produce to Delaware and the surrounding population for years to come.

Georgie Cartanza Guest Lecture

Our class had the privilege of having guest speaker Georgie Cartanza talk to us about the poultry industry and extension. Her presentation included interesting facts about the poultry industry within the U.S, Globally, and even in the Delmarva area. I was surprised to learn how the industry has evolved over the years and just how crucial operations here are due to the fact that we are able to reach ⅓ of the U.S population within 8 hours. Furthermore, as time has gone on chicken houses and the way the poultry industry operates has changed tremendously. I think one of the most interesting facts was learning how big of a role DuPont Highway played and still plays in the way farming especially poultry farming was able to rapidly advance and take off. I think the guest lecture was very informative and I am glad I was able to participate and gain knowledge on a subject I had no previously knowledge on, I was never aware if the impact poultry had on agriculture as a whole and the state of Delaware. 

Guest Speaker: Georgie Cartanza

After the amazing and very informative field trip to Georgie Cartanza’s organic poultry farm, our class was able to further understand the past and present aspects of the chicken industry the following Monday. Miss Georgie gave us a historical timeline of the chicken industry and explained Delmarva’s immense contribution to the nationwide industry. She also went in depth on the economic impact that the poultry industry has on Delmarva’s society. For every 1 job in the poultry industry, 7 are made in the community.  Advances in technology have exponentially increased efficiency and productivity over the years and have proven to be a great success for those in the industry. Of course, with success comes people that question the source of it. Miss Georgie explained the difficulties many people in the poultry business face and how that affects their jobs. There are people that make up stories of animal abuse and neglect out of ignorance that directly impact those in the food industry. Miss Georgie explained and proved how all of those claims were untrue and biased.

Branded for life- professional leadership for agriculture in the social media era

Michele Walfred, a communications specialist, talked to the class about the importance of growing social media and how it can affect us in future job searches. One of the main take-home messages I got (which has stuck with me long after the lecture) was all about personal branding and how we needed to project a clean and professional brand. As a senior taking the class, it was refreshing to be reminded of how companies choose their employees and the tactics they use to do so. Growing up in the social media age, it has always been reinforced to being mindful of what gets posted to social media. Michele’s presentation was spot on reminding the class social media sticks to us and can never fully go away.  It is important for us as young adults to watch what we post on public accounts since many companies turn to social media when scouting information on potential new hires. On the flip side, public social media accounts are a great way to form a network with graduate schools, potential employers, and volunteer opportunities. We should start working on our public profiles now, showing interests in future endeavors, and have professionalism in our social media usage to help create a bright career.

Guest Lecture Georgie Cartanza on the Evolution of the Poultry Industry

On September 9, Ms. Georgie Cartanza visited our classroom to teach us about the Evolution of the Poultry Industry. In teaching us about the Poultry Industry, she elaborated more about the field trip we took to her farm. One thing that I found to be the most important thing about her lecture, was when she showed us a picture of what meat chickens used to look like from 1957 to 2005. In seeing this picture, I understood why others would think that farmers were pumping the chickens up with steroids because of how big they seemed in year 2005. In 1957, chickens were only 905 grams, but as time progressed the average chicken was 4,202 grams. The reason why we have bigger and better chickens today is all due to better genetics. The better the genetics, the better the bird will look. She also mentioned that the number one challenge in the Agriculture Industry was image. Being able to shed a positive light on the Ag Industry is highly important because people always have misconceptions about what happens within the Ag community. In stating this, I learned from Ms. Georgie that we have to understand where the miseducated person is coming from, and then try to inform them on what actually happens. As a whole, I really liked Ms. Cartanza’s lecture because it gave me more insight and knowledge about the Industry, and this is something that I’ll always remember.

Mrs. Georgie’s Poultry Farm

September 7th, 2019 was the first agriculture field trip of the semester. As a class we attended Mrs. Georgie Cartanza’s beautiful poultry farm. Mrs. Georgie has four chicken houses, all of them are 65” wide by 600” long. Each house contained 37,000 chicken which equals out to be 148,000 chickens on her farm. Each chicken is raised to be seven weeks old and six and a half pounds at total. Of all the chicken she has on her farm, she makes up to 913,900 pounds a flock times five and a half flocks a year, equaling 5,000,000 pounds a year, feeding 59,808 people a year! All of Mrs. Georgie’s chickens are conventionally grown, antibiotic free, and some being organic. She never uses steroids or hormones on her chickens and takes the best care of them. It’s amazing seeing how chickens are truly treated in person, instead of how they portray them to be treated on the internet. Learning all about Mrs. Georgie’s farm and holding the baby chicks made my day.

Gergie Cartanza Guest Lecture

Georgie Cartanza is a Delaware poultry farmer.  She locally feeds thousands of families among Delmarva.   One of the largest challenges she faces day to day are the common misconceptions in the poultry industry.  One of the most common beliefs is the belief that chickens are injected with hormones, antibiotics, and are forced to live in confined cages.  This is not at all the case.  Her lecture taught us the importance of spreading awareness of American agriculture and leading the public to make educated decisions.  The more you know before buying a product, the better off you will be.

Social Media with Mrs. Michele Walfred

On September 11th, 2019 Mrs. Michele Walfred lectured our Understanding Today’s Agriculture class on our social media presences and how we can use them to our benefit. She explained how we can have a more professional cover, simply by watching what we post on our pages. She showed us what a clean page looks like and why it appeals to businessmen and women.  Our page should exhibit our school, interest, and hobbies. We should refrain from posting inappropriate photos. Mrs. Walfred also explained why topics such as religion and political beliefs can give our social media a bad image. Our presence on social media is extremely important and often overlooked by the members in today’s society.

Ecodrum at Cartanza’s organic chicken farm

Our trip to the organic Coleman chicken farm introduced me to a lot of technology new to me but what interested me the most was the new in-vessel composting system implemented at the farm named the ecodrum. The Ecodrum was a large black corrosion-free polyethylene cylinder that sat upon long rollers that would periodically rotate the composting vessel. At Georgie’s farm the Ecodrum was used to compost chicken mortality which was added along with pine shavings into the machine, after that the entire process is managed by an automated control system. This new innovation has not only cut back on the manpower required to compost dead chickens but it has done it in a way that reduces odor to a minimum. This technology is being widely implemented on poultry farms in Arizona but the unit at the Cartanza farm that we saw was the only one in Delaware.

Students learning about the Ecodrum installed at Georgie Cartanza’s Chicken farm the only one of its kind in the state of Delaware

Ed Kee Guest Lecture – Sean Michael

Today, UD alum (and former Delaware Agriculture Secretary) Ed Kee taught us about the “Foodshed” of the Delaware area. One very surprising fact I learned was that 76% of Delaware’s land is preserved open space, which is way more than my home state of Pennsylvania. Our area, in relation to agriculture, is super important, because a third of the US population lives within 8 hours of the area, with NYC, Boston, and Philadelphia nearby. The most shocking statistic I learned was that 60% of farm families have other significant incomes, like having someone in the family work in town as a teacher or mailman. Kee’s lecture taught me about the mega trends that we, the future of agriculture, will face soon, such as climate change, shifts in economic and trade flows, and rapid urbanization. Climate change is obviously a big deal, and the shifts in economics and trade will just over complicate taking care of this massive problem. Lastly, rapid urbanization means that we will have to feed more people with less space, so the challenge of vertical farming will be dealt with.

Ms. Michele Guest Lecture – Sean Michael

On Wednesday, September 11, the class learned about the importance of having a professional social media account. She really stressed not posting obnoxious party pictures of yourself, for businesses do not want someone who builds themselves like that. One thing that Ms. Michele pointed out that stuck with me was having a consistent headshot (as your profile picture) across all your social media platforms. As well as a headshot, we were told that we should have a descriptive bio, so professional peers or just people who want to be informed can know who you are. I’ll probably have trouble with the whole headshot and long bio things, because my own social media account has 1 post and my profile picture is not myself. Apparently, Twitter is a very fast rising platform in the Agricultural industry, so having young people who know how to use it and communicate misconceptions or truths well is essential. Multiple times throughout the lecture, we were told that everything we post is around forever, so being careful is recommended.

A Class Journal for UDel CANR AGRI 130