All posts by bartellb

Food Labeling: GMO’s

When it comes to labeling foods most consumers want to know what’s in it.  If GMO’s were being labeled onto foods, this allows for consumers to know that this food is made of GMO’s.  GMOs are a highly controversial subject and the main reason why people have issues with GMO’s is because they lack knowledge on the subject. This is perceived as a negative side of food labeling, when one see’s “This food was made with GMO’s” consumers not knowing what exactly the product is will either carelessly buy it or just put it back because they don’t agree with GMO’s.  If consumers had knowledge that GMO’s are beneficial and if the food is labeled stating GMO’s made this product, then this creates a consumer and farmer relationship.  Consumers will trust a product that has correct labeling thus allowing for farmers to produce more product and make more money.  I feel that GMO’s should be integrated into food labeling so that consumers know exactly what their getting and as well understand that this is providing more variety.  From regular food, to organic, to all natural, and lastly being to GMO-made food.

Horse Racing

This was the most interesting lecture that I had the opportunity to listen to.  Not knowing the details behind the industry I found that Mark Davis was a very intriguing and knowledgeable person.  I discovered through this lecture that horse racing is one of the oldest sports and as well very popular.  The horse racing industry brings in $39 billion annually and effects the U.S. economy greatly.  Horse racing in Delaware dates back to 1760’s where the first racing facility was built in the town of Newark.  Following this commissions were established and as well numerous racetracks were created.  What really shocked me was how much horse racing  impacted Delaware,  bringing in $182 million and creating 1,540 jobs.   Delaware’s Equine Industry ranks third nationally and as well brings in $280 million each year.   The horse racing industry is quite prominent and impacts Delaware significantly.

Livestock Industry

Dan Severson is a New Castle County Extension Agent who lectured us about the Livestock Industry in Delaware.  Dan went through a variety of animals and how they impacted Delaware.  What really shocked me was that 96% of Delaware farms are family owned.  As well, I didn’t know how much beef and pork consumption there actually is.  I’ve always assumed that poultry was the most consumed, but it ranks third.  Poultry in Delaware brings in the most money by far, but I didn’t know how well beef, dairy, and hogs accounted for.  Dan’s knowledge for the livestock industry allowed for myself to learn a bunch of new information regarding the demographics and the overview of an industry I didn’t necessarily know much about.

Delaware’s Green Industry

In this lecture Tracy Wooten and Valann Budischak spoke about Delaware’s Green Industry.  Delaware in 2014 had $21,774,000 in horticultural product sales this includes numerous different nursery products such as Containerized which was 62.4% and B and B which concluded of 28.7% of the production. The plants are grown in a nursery and can either be a floriculture crop which is garden plants or nursery crops being trees and shrubs.  From here their sent to retailers and then eventually sold. Nursery crops bring in 8.0 billion and floriculture crops bring in 4.8 billion, each year more and more plants are being sold bringing in more money.  The Green industry is overseen throughout Delaware by landscapers and DelDOT who is the largest landholder in the state.   DelDOT provides management and maintenance for the land on the side of roadways such maintenance includes invasive plant removal and design to help boost appeal.

The Evolution of the Poultry Industry

This was one of our first guest lecturers, and one of my favorites.  Georgie Cartanza is an Poultry Extension Agent and as well operates her own organic poultry farm.  Her lecture was on the Poultry business and how its gotten to where it is today.  The Delmarva Poultry Industry produces 566 million birds annually impacting the economy greatly through high profits and creating of job opportunities.  Within the region of Delmarva there are six major integrators through this there are 10 processing plants, 13 hatcheries, and 10 feed mills.  For everyone Job in the poultry industry seven more jobs are created in the community.  This proves how greatly the Poultry Industry affects the region. Georgie spoke on how the industry began with the Allan Family and then how Delaware got into the business.  A key part in Delmarva poultry industry success was the transportation factor railroads.  Trains moved the product up and down the coast.  Georgie then got into the operational and managing aspect of poultry farms and the technology that is constantly advancing.  Technological advances have allowed for the industry to grow rapidly through means of housing more chickens and by the means of feeding and watering them more efficiently.  This allows for chickens to grow to that broiler size quickly.

UDel Newark Farm

This past Saturday November 4th, we had our last field trip visiting our own University of Delaware Newark farm.  We were toured around by Scott Hopkins who oversees the operations on the farm.

The Newark farm consists of greenhouses, crop plants, wetlands, and livestock.  The farm is roughly 350 acres of land.  The first stop Scott took us to were the two green houses where students have the opportunity to plant crops and record/analyze the growth.  If the plant was to die, then the students had to weigh in factors of how the plant could have died.  We then visited the dairy cows and the milk parlor, here Scott gave us the rundown on how the feeding operation and as well the milking is done.  The cows are trained to go to an assigned cubby, here they have FABS on which gives access to food.  There are between 80-85 cows being milked numerous times a day here they use an anti-bacterial spray before milking and after milking.  Each cow produces between 6-8 gallons of milk each day.  The milk is retrieved and goes to the basement of the parlor.   Scott then showed us where the calf’s stay which is a big doggy pen where they’ll stay for 2-3 months.  The calves are goofy and attempted on sucking on everything!  From here we went to the bus and went up the road where we stopped at the poultry section.  Here there were multiple houses for different types of chickens where research is taken placed.

Upon arriving the other side of the farm, we drove passed the wetlands which have been designed through the Wildlife Ecology group.  On this side of the farm the beef cattle, the ewes, and the horses are held.  We first went to the equine building where the horses and as well classes are held, there were six stables and as well two areas for either artificial insemination or for class purposes.  Scott mentioned that the stables are opened instead of being enclosed to keep the horses comfortable.  We were then taken to Scott’s “biggest failure” compost section where compost is placed until it reaches around 130 degrees and then it is placed wherever seen fit.  After this we went to the ewe’s farm here we learned that the ewes have been placed in two groups one group with the older ram and the other group with the younger ram.  When rams have mounted a female, spray paint is placed to show which female has been mounted.  Lastly, we went to the beef cattle section where the cattle are raised on a free-ranged land to graze until it’s time for slaughter.  Scott was very passionate about his job and made sure we understood that being experienced in the field is better than being book smart.  He was very knowledgeable and took this opportunity to show the farm off quite seriously making sure we retained information.

The Conversion from Anti to Pro GMO

When listening to Mark Lynas lecture about his conversion from being against GMO’s to being for GMO’s, he mentioned that while he was against GMO’s he never actually knew about the subject.  After researching and discovering that GMO’s are beneficial regarding society and the environment.  He decided to become pro GMO’s.  GMO can be defined as a genetically modified organism where labs extract genes from a species DNA and injects those genes into an unrelated object being a plant or an animal.  GM foods are genetically altered foods, with the population rising and climate change there are possibilities of crops that are depended on becoming scarce.  GM foods are cheaper, increase yields, extends the durability and edibility of the food, and decreases the likelihood of a crop being harmed by a disease.

Mark Lynas changed his viewpoint mainly because GMO’s help the environment.  GMO’s allow farmers to preserve land while doing more with less crops, preserve habitats and ecosystems, water conservation, and air quality for GMO’s help reduce greenhouse gases.  The main thing I’d take away from this video due to being pro GMO’s is that you should always regardless of what you’ve heard take the time to do your own research on a subject.  Mark Lynas is a very creditable and knowledgeable man in regards to climate change and the environment, if he’s able to see that GMO’s are beneficial then his word should help others become pro GMO as well.

Field Trip: Poultry Farm

This past Saturday, September 9th, I had the opportunity to go to a Poultry Farm.  Georgie Cartanza has been in this business for quite some time now.  She’s been growing organic chickens for the past 11 years and previously worked for Perdue.  When it comes to growing organic chickens, they’re certain requirements and guidelines one must follow.  This poultry farm consisted of four houses that were 65×600 feet long, each house had roughly 37,000 chickens in each house for a total of roughly 148,000 chickens.  Each house had ventilation, air-conditioning, automatic water and food machines that filled up by itself, and lastly an outdoors area for the chickens to go out if pleased.  Georgie produces enough chicken to feed nearly 60,000 families for roughly 5 million pounds of chicken a year.  Going into this trip, I had knowledge about chickens but no knowledge of how poultry farms functioned rather just my own opinions.  I figured the housing and conditions were nearly as bad as people thought, and once visiting these houses, I realized I was correct that the environment was nice.  The housing was much cooler than I expected and as well answered many of my questions.  One question being how they harvested these chickens? I thought possibly there was some kind of machinery that made it easy but Georgie informed us that all the chicken are caught by hand.  My second question was how much room would the chicken have to move and such? And once entering the house you realize the size of the house is more spacious than you would think.  Overall, the field trip was quite interesting, I never thought I’d ever visit a poultry farm but I’m glad I did for I learned greatly.