Food labeling is currently a big topic in the agriculture and food industry. Many people have conflicting opinions about it. I think that there are definitely some pro’s and con’s to enhanced food labeling. Some of the pro’s include more transparency to the consumer regarding what is in what they are buying. Consumers will know exactly what they are purchasing, and can make a more informed decision. People who are allergic to certain things will be safer, and people who are trying to buy healthy products will be able to do with more certainty. Some cons include producers losing profits depending on what is in their product. People who do not grow organically may lose sales because of some of the things they use in their products. GMO products and other agriculture methods may scare off consumers if they are uneducated, which would hurt agricultural producer’s sales. As you can see, there are many pro’s and con’s and factors that need to be taken into account when thinking about introducing enhanced food labels and making new rules about them.I think that this is a very interesting argument, and am interested to see the extent to which enhanced labels are implemented, and the reaction from consumers and producers.
Mr. James Adkins came in to speak to our class about irrigation and how it works, as well as all the different types. He showed us center pivot, sprinkler systems, drip irrigation, and a very other types. He showed us pictures of circular crop fields, and explained that they are that way because of the center pivot irrigation. Some areas of the circle were less green because of inaccurate spraying. Luckily the systems now have the technology to control the amounts of water and nutrients each part of the field is sprayed with. He also showed us a picture of what happens when you part where the wheel of the center pivot irrigation system will drive… the car was crushed. Irrigation is a very interesting and important aspect to agriculture. Mr. Adkins lecture was very informative and I am glad he came in to speak with us. I look forward to learning more about irrigation possibly in the future.
Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak came in to our class and gave a very interesting lecture on Delaware’s green industry. Economically, Delaware’s green industry generates over $21 million every year. This includes landscapers, producers, retailers, golf courses, and many other fields. They told us a lot about how a nursery works and the types of plants they produced. I was surprised to learn about the Delaware Christmas Tree Grower’s Association. I once worked for a nursery who sold Christmas trees, so it was very cool to learn that there is an association for those that grow them. I also thought it was interesting that landscapers do so many different jobs within Delaware to keep everything looking nice, including landscaping between the highways in an attempt to keep Delaware beautiful. They also told us about the State Parks, which own the most land in the state, and all that they do in Delaware.
Georgie Cartanza came in to our class and gave a guest lecture on her experience in the poultry industry and owning a poultry farm. It was a very informative lecture, I previously knew very little about the poultry farming industry or where our chicken comes from. I was surprised to learn that for every job in the poultry industry, seven are created in the community. She explained to us how she started her poultry farm after working in the industry for many years, and how the poultry company provides a lot of the things she needs to run her farm efficiently. We also were told about the amazing technology that is used to control the ventilation and temperature within the chicken houses. Overall, Georgie gave us a lot of very useful information and gave me a much better perspective of where the chicken that we eat comes from. I was amazed at how it all works.
Mark Davis’ guest lecture to our class about the horse racing industry in Delaware was very interesting and informative. He gave us a lot of information about the economics and history of horse racing. I was previously unaware that the first equine racetrack in Delaware was built in Newark in the 1760’s. Horse racing was also the second most popular sport behind baseball until about 1989! We learned about the big difference between thoroughbreds and and harness horses in the racing industry. Harness horses can race much more frequently than thoroughbreds, because their bodies are able to handle it. From an economic stand point, horse racing brings in over $180 million yearly. dollars and creates over 1,500 jobs. Horse racing in Delaware is now highly dependent on casinos, which have been introduced at racetracks and bring in many patrons. Overall, this guest lecture was extremely interesting and informative. I am a fan of horse racing and was glad to learn more about it.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the field trip to the research farm this past Saturday. But, after getting the notes and talking with a classmate, I can see that it was an extremely educational and fun trip. Students were able to see the cows and calves, and learn how the ice cream for the creamery is made. They got an in-depth tour of the farm, and got a better understanding for how it all works. I regret not being able to make it to the trip, but I am definitely interested in hearing more about it from my classmates.
I learned a lot from Mark Lynas’ speech at the Oxford farming convention. Like him, I did not know very much about GMOs when I first heard about them. I was also skeptical that they may not be a good thing. But after hearing his lecture, I feel much differently. Especially after he explained how much more food the world will need by 2050, all the while producing this food without using much more land, water, pesticides/fertilizers that could hurt the environment. Clearing more land would also increase global warming, and complicate an already difficult and changing climate globally. GMO’s could definitely be a viable source of the food that the world will need. By tinkering with the genes of crops, we could be able to get a higher yield and healthier fruits and vegetables to feed an ever increasing population. I enjoyed the lecture given by Mark Lynas and got a lot of useful information about GMOs.
This Saturday we visited Hoober’s equipment company. Seeing their showroom, combines, tractors, and drones was very interesting. I was shocked to learn that one of their drones cost $10,000! The fixed wing drone could fly for about an hour, and take hundreds of different pictures of a farmer’s crop. I never knew exactly how much went into being successful at precision agriculture until I learned about all of the amazing technology that Hoobers can supply to their clients. Aside from using drones, they can outfit old and new farm vehicles with hi-tech devices like auto steering and numerous sensors. I also enjoyed seeing the garage where the mechanics worked on different combines, sprayers, and tractors. At the end of our field trip, we all got to drive a tractor and see what it is like. Even though it is a massive piece of equipment, it was surprisingly easy to maneuver and drive. Overall, I learned a lot and enjoyed our visit to Hoober’s.
Our recent trip to Fifer Orchards was very interesting. It was the first time that I’ve been behind the scenes at an orchard or farm of that size, and I thought it was an incredible operation. We drove out to a field which was growing kale and broccoli first, and learned about how they are grown; as well as challenge like disease,insects and the weather. I also learned about the purpose of raised beds when growing strawberries. The purpose of the raised beds is to keep the crop out of the water, and control the amount of irrigation they are getting. After seeing some of Fifer Orchards’ fields, we went and saw the apple orchard. They currently grow over 20 types of apples, and make many of their own products with those apples. They also ship the apples all over the east coast. Finally, we saw their packing area and cold storage. They have a machine that can separate good and bad apples, tomatoes, and peaches through a computer program. It was amazing to see what a large operation Fifer Orchards is and to learn about agriculture and business aspects of running a farm like that.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the field trip to the organic poultry farm because of another class field trip, but after hearing Mrs. Cartanza speak to us and gathering notes from a class-mate, it looked like a very fun and informational trip. Previously, I knew very little about poultry farms, or how America gets it’s chicken. In class, Mrs. Cartanza explained how a poultry farm works, and all of the interesting technology involved. I was amazed at how much easier chicken farming is with that technology. In the pictures that were taken on the trip, I can see the large fans and heaters that control the climate in the chicken houses. I also learned the difference between organic chicken and non-organic, and what Mrs. Cartanza had to do to ensure her chickens were organic. It is interesting to me that none of the chickens are allowed to have vaccines to keep them healthy, and can only be given vinegar in some occasions. It was also shocking to learn from a classmate that organic chicken feed is 3 times as expensive as normal feed. Overall, I learned a lot about the poultry industry and wish I could’ve seen the chicken houses in person.