Delaware Agriculture with Ed Kee

On September 16th, we were greeted by Ed Kee, a retired Delaware agricultural secretary. He gave us a lecture on Delaware’s agricultural production and how it is considered a foodshed for the Eastern United States. This industry alone compensates for over 1/3 of the U.S. population! Today, there are over 2,500 farms in Delaware, which might seem like a lot for such a small state, but it is actually a 25% decrease compared to the 8,300 farms that were recorded in 1950. We learned about the history of Delaware agriculture and how it has diversified over time. At one point, Delaware had one of the largest tomato producing industries with over 83% in production compared to other fruits and vegetables, but that changed once the industry became overruled by poultry, soybeans, and corn. Sciences in agriculture have improved as well, with better technologies in genetics, weed and pest control, and management. Now farms have the ability to yield a higher amount of crop on smaller quantities of land. Today, there are many challenges that farmers face, such as sustaining the profitability of products and promoting the best practices of cultivation that meet consumer needs, especially for the growing population of the future.

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