Taking the tour around the UD farm was great. Driving over the bridge every day you see the small plot of crops but I had never realized how big the farm was and how many different things they were working on. Getting to visit a research farm was really interesting and it was such a great opportunity to great such an in-depth tour. I felt like this tour really opened my eyes to a new field in Ag and seeing how meticulous they were on the farm was amazing.
One thing we learned about was the milking process and the care they take for their cows. I think anyone who thinks it’s wrong to use cows for milk probably has a different idea of what they are actually doing than reality. They talked about the measurements they take to ensure not to much milk is collected and how they are constantly assessing the health of each cow. This is not the picture painted by negative media but this first-hand learning can really clear things up for a lot of people.
Dave’s speech on Agricultural industries and businesses was a lecture I think anyone studying in Ag in college and anyone interested in the field should listen to. He talked about a lot of the different job opportunities that are available in this field and also went into the facts behind a lot of media misconceptions. Myself wanting to work in agricultural research really appreciated the discussion about the different scientific jobs but I also really liked how he dove into the facts about a lot of current issues. When you hear someone from the industry explain the reality behind so many viral social media subjects, it’s amazing how far things can get blown out of proportion. I think if more people looked even one level deeper than a facebook post or talked to real people like dave, there would be way fewer misconceptions about the industry.
Dr. Dave Mayonado came to our class to talk about technology in agriculture. He works for Bayer, which bought Monsanto. He had grown up uninvolved in agriculture and majored in chemistry, which ended up being helpful in weed science and herbicides.
In the past, farming was very labor intensive and hands-on. Families would have lots of children in order to have enough labor to run the farm. Many kids did not go to school and instead worked on their family farm. In 1862, the Morrill Acts were passed, which funded land grant universities, which taught agriculture and science. Research stations were then built in ever state which were connected to the universities and researched crops. Increases in crop yields were a direct response to the data these research stations found. Advancements in chemical aspects of farms, such as fertilizers and pesticides, also aided farmers. Now, we have found advancements in the biological area with things like GMOs. Corn has been edited to protect itself from specific insects, which reduces the need for insecticides. Other corn has enhanced drought tolerance, which reduces crop losses. Soybeans have been made to produce a vegetable oil that is healthier and is more similar to olive oil, which is much more expensive.
Dave Mayonado, a representative of the Bayer company and their products and use, discussed with the University of Delaware’s students about the agricultural industry and how it has evolved over time in both efficiency with the advancing use of technology and as an industry as a whole. During the earlier centuries, Dr. Mayonado explained that the agricultural industry was very labor intensive and hands on. However, as the time moved forward, the advancement of technology grew which has allowed agricultural to become less labor intensive and farmers to produce steadily larger crops while at the same time improving soil quality and fostering an environment that supports a thriving wildlife population.
With the growth of technology, agricultural companies, like Bayer, who bought out Monsanto, were able to develop chemicals like glyphosate or round up that kill weeds and insects without killing the crop essentially allowing farmers to protect their crops from encroaching weeds and insects that effect the crops growth and development and produce a greater yield at harvest; as well as reduce the need of tillage and improve the soil quality of the field. With the development of chemicals, Bayer did further research in crop efficiency and increasing yield and found that modifying certain genes and adding beneficial genes to a plant (GMO and CRISPR), all regulated under the EPA, USDA, and FDA, allows for the plant to protect itself against specific pests which allows for the use of less chemicals as well as, the modification allows for the plant to produce a sufficiently greater yield at harvest which allows for the world to produce more food and reduce hunger across various states. As the presentation came to a close, Dr. Mayonado informed and cleared up the litigations about the product, round up, that was created by the former company, Monsanto, they bought out, which allows the students and myself to know the truth about the product and the litigations behind it. Ultimately, from this presentation, many things about the agricultural industry and the company Bayer can be learned, which can help the students and myself to develop a better understanding of the industry as well as develop a broader perspective of the company Bayer and the industry as a whole.
Dave came and spoke to us today about improving the industry in agriculture. He first off started by talking about how there are multiple fields in agriculture and not every part might be for you.
Everything in life changes over a period of time. The changing in tools was a big part of agriculture. We went from hand labor, to the mechanical evolution, to the use of chemicals in agriculture which would help prevent weeds and pests, to all the new twenty first century electronic equipment. We are always developing new ways to be successful. Another big development in agriculture is Round Up. Round Up kills the weeds are pesticides near the crops to help them stay safe from bugs, weeds, ect. Decades ago, people declared that there was nothing wrong with the chemical weed killer know as Round Up. Now they are saying it could somehow develop cancer but people did research on it saying otherwise. Like life everything can change at any point in time.
Dave was originally a crop company and now they are the number one seed company. He was a chemist but then that changed too. He claims that we are the future and many things in life can change. Things that are being developed can change everything. These are beneficial changes that are helping the agricultural world.
On November 11th, Dave Mayonado talked to our class about the industry and academia in agriculture. He talks about the technology in agriculture, working in industry, and safety and litigation. Farming used to be very hands on, people were involved, and animals. Agriculture use to be very labor intensive. He talked about the Morrill Act of 1862 and 1890 which established the raising of funds and allowed land grant to universities. UD happened to be one. The Hatch Act of 1887 established an agricultural experiment station, this was affiliated with the grant. Technology allows farmers to be innovated. Farmers can produce larger crops while improving soil and fostering environment with technology. Farming used to be hands on work (muscle), then it became mechanical (steel), then it became chemical (small molecules) and has no-till, then it was biological (proteins, RNA/ information). When it became biological, they got CRISPR, RNAi, GMO, and, GWS. Agriculture is all about genes and proteins. Proteins are not generally stable outside the confines of living cells. Genes are information packets for making proteins. Is it safe to modify a crop? If they do the right regulations to make sure all their crops are safe, then yes. USDA has a job to make sure the crops are safe to grow, EPA must approve if it’s safe for the environment, and FDA makes sure it is safe to eat. When working in industry, to survive, you must know your products. Industries must keep relationships with colleagues in academia and keep them abreast with their products. I learned some cool things by listening to today’s guest speaker Dave.
Today, David Mayonado, who worked for Monsanto, came in and gave us a lecture on Industry and Academia in Agriculture. It was very interesting to learn about how the agricultural boom in the mid-20th century contributed to an explosion in the population of wildlife. I do live in Bucks County, PA, which is one of the deer capitals of America, so I thought everyone saw deer as often as I did. We learned about the 4 stages of Agriculture: manual, mechanical, chemical, and biological. With today’s agriculture being in the biological stage with manipulating genes, I didn’t think about the companies’ point of view. They must constantly be coming up with new products to demonstrate value to farmers because of our constantly competing society. As I am sort of interested in law, it was nice to learn a little bit about legislation in agriculture, like the Morrill, Hatch, and Smith-Lever Acts, which apply to land grant colleges.
Dr. Mayonado works for Bayer, a company that focuses on producing herbicides for agriculture. He started off by talking about the start of agriculture and how labor intensive and hands on it was. As technology has enhanced, yields have increased and the impact on the environment has gone way down, thanks to strategies like no till farming to help soil quality. Technology has also brought on chemicals that increase efficiency. These chemicals can kill a weed and not kill the crop with Glyphosate. He also talked about GMOs and the different modifications to plants that help them produce more. He moved into how these modifications happen and how they help the plant and what it protects against. Bayer, who used to be Monsanto, creates and does research on these technologies. They developed chemicals at first, but moved to seeds as the technology took them down that route. He finished his lecture by clearing up the RoundUp litigation’s around the world.
Dan Stevenson discussed the livestock industry in Delaware, however, one of the most shocking statistics he shared was that only 9.7% of a person’s income is spent on food, I expected that number to be higher because food prices seem to be so high and the rate that people go out to eat is also pretty high. In contrast, though, cheap fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s or the increase of smart shopping could offset the prices. In the future, I would expect to see that number increase because as we learned from our professor, studies have shown that millennials care more about their values (choosing healthy foods, ethically sourced, etc.) than the bottom dollar when it comes to food choices.
Dan also talked a lot about the differences between family and commercial operations.
Family Labor, Smaller Herd Sizes, Less Profitable
Hired Labor, Larger Herd Sizes, More Profitable (Less input per unit)
On Monday October 21st, 2019 Dan Severson lectured our Understanding Today’s Agriculture class and gave us an overview of the livestock industry. His presentation covered everything ranging from pork production to honeybees. In his presentation he mentioned that beef, pork, and poultry are the top three types of meat consumed by people today. Other products are made from other species like cheese and lotion from goats. Mr. Severson also spoke about the dairy industry. He covered all types of dairies such as commercial, family owned, purebred, and even creameries. Creameries are a huge part of Delaware’s agriculture, making a presence in many farm fresh produce stands.
On Saturday, November 2nd, the class visited the farm owned by the university. It is a research farm which means that it is collecting and analyzing data related to the cultivation of plants and animals. This data helps find new ways to farm more efficiently and with less environmental impacts. Some of the things that they farm there are cows, sheep, and even rice.
The one of the first places that we visited was the dairy farm. This is the place where the UD creamery, UDairy, gets all of their dairy products. An interesting thing is how the cows are organised. They each have their own area from which only they can feed, and the cows quickly learn where this is without much help by the farmers.
My favorite place was the barn with the sheep. I learned that the tails were docked because it helps the sheep avoid infections around the area where the tail and hind legs are.
This past Saturday, the class visited the UD farm here on the Newark campus. I had visited a small portion of it when I initially checked out the school last year, but I was not aware that there are multiple fields and operations that go on here. For example, I had no idea that there were any sheep on campus here, or that there is a whole equine building. A few weeks ago as part of my Organic and Sustainable Farming class I assisted in a round of milking of our campus cows, whose milk goes to Hy-point dairy. It was nice learning a real skill that I can use outside the classroom anywhere in the world. I really take for granted the fact that there is a farm here on campus, where some schools must travel hours for experience in the field, while we just walk outside. Overall, the field trip was nice to reiterate the farm’s layout with myself and learn more about agriculture.
The University of Delaware farm consists of 350 acres and is more diverse than one might think just driving past it. It’s remarkable to note how space can be utilized in an agricultural setting. The common misconception that to have a farm or land in production, you can’t live in a city or you need a lot of land is clearly debunked during this lab. The Universities operation includes research, dairy, beef, sheep, poultry, equine, acreage for tomatoes, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and more. My favorite part of the tour was seeing the beehives miss Delaney works hard on, as the hives play a major role on the farm. I think it’s truly amazing how even the smallest and sometimes immobile lifeforms are perhaps the most intricate of our ecosystem. Understanding the various reproductive parts of a plant is helpful especially in agricultural seed and fruit production, I think it would be interesting to see more integrated crop/ agricultural practices in the future. Bees are the cheapest employees a farmer could have. Crops from nuts to vegetables and as diverse as alfalfa, apple, cantaloupe, cranberry, pumpkin, and sunflower all require pollinating by honey bees.
Last Saturday on November 1st, we went on a tour of the UD farm. More specifically we focused on the different animals that the farm works with and how they are used in the agriculture industry. However, oddly enough we didn’t take tours of the poultry part of the farm but we did get a tour of the cows and the equipment used to milk them. It was fascinating finding out that the milking process was not only time consuming, but also required many different aspects to the programming of the machine. Each cows milking specification varied and any issue that occurs could mess up the process drastically. Other parts we toured were the sheep, which are mostly slaughtered. Overall what I gained from the tour was the the process of running has many different aspects such as cleaning the cows, mixing the feed, and collecting the waste. There’s no job that is simple and if not done correctly could end up reducing the productiveness of the farm.
On November 2, 2019, our class had its last field trip and to none other than the University’s own research farm. Out of all the field trips, this one was the most informative to me. There is a lot that goes into maintaining a research farm that many people do not understand. Scott Hopkins, the superintendent of the research farm, explained to our class that there are various tasks and responsibilities that are required in maintaining the farm but even so, he loves it. What he loves most, is when he shows people with very little or no knowledge of farming what goes on and seeing the look they have in their eyes; full of awe and amazement. Some of the people, however, that don’t come with some background knowledge can also be a problem. “Always ask before doing anything on another person’s farm!” Scott Hopkins advised. Many times people have done things like touch an animal or pick crops that put either the animal or the human at risk. He explained that some people will just pick some corn and it was part of a research experiment so not only did they mess up the data, but may have also endangered themselves. Even so, Scott Hopkins also enjoys all of the data analysis and research because “I’m kind of science-brained so it’s all pretty exciting to me.” The most exciting research project to him was artificially inseminating a group of queen bees with a single drone. Due to advancements in technology, he is able to experience these great milestones in science and agriculture.