Livestock in DE

Dan Steverson came to class to talk about the livestock industry in Delaware. He told us that 40% of Delaware’s land area is in farms, which is a large percentage for just one general type of land use. 29% is dedicated to growing corn and soybeans. 98% of the farms are family owned. I was very surprised when he said that 9.7% of a person’s income is spent on food, I expected that number to be higher actually. But I guess with increase of cheap foods and big stores like Walmart, it is easy to get deals. It made sense, however, when he said that family farms have smaller herd sizes compared to commercial farms. Family farms tend to have family labor, while commercial farms can have tons of hired labor and can manage large herds of animals. Commercial farms also tend to be more profitable as you need less input per unit. If both a family farm and a commercial farm need barns, fields, and feeders, it takes less per unit to build one giant barn as opposed to a smaller one.

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