Guest Speaker Ed Kee: Food Shed

“The Delmarva is the main food provider for the eastern states” (Ed Kee). Mr. Ed Kee, former secretary of agriculture, educated students of the university of Delaware’s, understanding todays ag class, about the importance of agriculture in Delaware, the history, and the factor it plays in feeding the east coast and the surrounding population. Delaware’s agriculture, unlike many states, feeds 1/3 of the U.S. population due to its close proximity to the large cities on the east coast. Delaware has over 2,500 farms which makes up 40% of the land in the state and 30% of that land is permanently reserved so the industry stays within Delaware and further contributes to the U.S. population. With agricultures major production to nearby states, the agricultural industry is able to make 1.2 billion in ag sales and 7.9 million in production and agricultural sales in total which allows the economy for Delaware to further drive in success. However, this was only possible due to the improvements in technology and the family and individual run farms that have been added and continue to grow over many years.

During the past centuries, railroads developed and eventually water transportation and local highways opened up which allowed food to be easily transported throughout the neighboring states; eventually leading to the improvement in the technology of equipment and process in crop production to occur as well. Improvements in tractors, genetics of plants, water production (irrigation), soil fertility, pest management, weed control and other production processes has allowed farmers to produce more food more efficiently with fewer problems throughout the plants growth which has allowed for better production and better food to be grown overall. Although agriculture is a striving industry in the state of Delaware, many challenges are faced in order to keep agriculture striving in the state. Before the presentation came to a close, Mr. Kee informed the students that within the agricultural industry, farming and agriculture as a whole must remain profitable, maintain a consistent and fair regulatory environment that is also effective, promote the best technology practices that are most efficient in production for farmers and safe for the environment, connect farmers with market opportunity and have connections with state and federal organizations in order to keep the industry striving and profitable enough for the farmers and others working in the industry to keep their businesses and production running. From this presentation, many things about the agricultural industry in the past and current day time can be learned, which can help the students and myself to develop a better understanding of the industry, especially the agricultural industry in Delaware.

Throughout this lecture, Mr. Ed Kee stressed the importance of Delaware’s agricultural industry and the history that led the industry to success today which led myself and other students to develop a further understanding of agriculture within the state of Delaware and discover an interesting fact which was that Delaware, on its own, feeds one third of the U.S. population making the agricultural industry very important to sustain now and for the future day time.

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