All posts by Yuchen He

Climate Change

Since I reached out to the Internet, the news about climate change I heard were increasing year by year. Everyone is talking about protecting the environment or saving our Earth Mother from something like greenhouse effect. I can feel the climate change in my own. Summer is getting warmer and warmer, and every winter isn’t that cold as last year. Then people won’t be willing to go outside. Therefore, they choose to stay in the room with air condition. And every shopping malls and restaurants have air condition, or they will lose clients. Air condition is a great invention. We can say that it saves our life from heat and cold. But people are getting addicted to it. Overuse of air condition make the possibility of enduring uncomfortable temperature less and less. When people don’t go outside, they can’t feel how bad the climate is now. It is hard to rise the awareness of protecting climate.

I am not an expert on this. But what I know is that if you can get to somewhere on foot don’t drive, and don’t run air condition lower or high temperature too much than outdoor temperature. These are just some small behaviors that we can do to protect climate.

Guest Lecture: The horse Racing Industry in DE

Mr. Mark Davis came to our Agriculture class lecturing us about the Horse industry in Delaware. He is the Delaware’s Executive director of Harness Racing Commission. The horse racing in one of the oldest of all sports. It began in 12th century, invent by British, then introduce to America in 1665 in Long Island. There are 9.2 million horses in the United States.  The horse industry has massive and direct economic impact on the U.S.  economy. It creates $39 billion annually. Tremendous people in U.S. own horses and love horse racing. Compared to Harness racing and Standardbred racing, Thoroughbred racing has less race game per year but produce more money to the industry. A big industry always supports a lot of job opportunities. In 2014, the horse racing industry created 1500 jobs. In Delaware, there are about 100 farms housing 775 thoroughbreds and 300 farms housing 3000 standardbreds, 1000 of them are one-year-old racing horse and breeding stock. And the annual thoroughbred cost is also high than the standardbred.

guest lecture: Industry and Academia in Agriculture

Dr. David Mayondo lectured us about the industry and academia in the agriculture. He told us how agriculture looks like in the past. It is a job that required massive labor and time input. If you are a farmer or live in a farmer family, you may live with farm or agriculture for the whole life. But with the development of technologies, the yield and production increased and the labor and time decreased. The tools of pest management changes over time. In the beginning, farmers use hand or animal. Then it changed to machinal tools and chemical tools. Nowadays, farmers use the biological tools to control pest, like CRISPR, GMO, GWS, and RNAi. Proteins have the potential to be powerful tools for enhancing agricultural production, as well as being highly biodegradable and produced in plants that need them. There are several commercial products of biotechnology. For example, Roundup Ready Crops can allow farmer manage weeds in a more effective and efficient way, or YieldGard Corn can allow farmer control targeted pest without harming the beneficial and non-threatening insects.

UD farm

In November 2nd, 2019, my class took a field trip in webb farm and dairy farm of university of Delaware. I have been there several time in last semester, and the bad smell are so familiar. UD farm grows crops and vegetables in the field, but they didn’t serve for dining halls in main campus. The yield is not enough to satisfies the needs. But they do sell to the star campus. We saw several herds of sheep, dairy cattle and horses. UD farm even grows rice and raise bees for research. There are over 100 cows in dairy farm. They can produce 800 gallons of milk per day. Staffs use automatic milker machine to milk cows. Because of biosecurity and efficiency. And I noticed that some cows have weird “windows” in their side of body. It allows the researchers to reach inside the animal’s stomach and analyze the contents. If the cow was sick, researcher will take other healthy cow’s stomach contents and put into the sick cow’s stomach to see if it cures the cow. In the webb farm, we luckily saw 4 cute lambs. What a wonderful trip!

Guest lecture: Livestock industry in DE

In oct 21, 2019, Mr. Dan Severson, a new castle county extension agent, came to my class and lectured my class about the livestock industry in DE. He told us many features that something we know and something we don’t know of Delaware farms. To be consider as a farm, this land should produce and sell $1,000 or more of agricultural products annually, or those products normally would have been sold annually. There are 2500 farms in Delaware, and economic contribution of agriculture to Delaware’s economy is about $8 billion. Farmers’ age average are 5-60 years old. Most of farms are family farms. It is about 98%. The biggest two war in the history, WWI and WWII, affect the livestock production heavily. Over time, all type of meat, like beef, pork, lamb or goat, consumption is decreased except poultry. Sheep and goat industries play a low role in the livestock industry in the US and Delaware. They are most likely to be raise in smaller herd size and backyard.

Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak’s Lecture class

On October 16, 2019, Tracy Wooten and Valann Budischak came to my class lecture us about the Green Industry in Delaware. When I hear green, I thought it is just about the plants. But I was wrong. It is more interesting than I though. Green industry includes that nursery business, landscape design and maintenance, land management and so on. It is similar with other industries that many people play different roles. It has producers, landscapers, land managers, golf courses suppliers and others. Horticultural Product Sales is a big part of green industry in Delaware. It creates over 21.7 million dollars sales. When Ms. Wootten and Ms. Budischak showed us a picture of railroad landscape, professor Issacs raised a question that why weed is not allowed to grow on the railroad. It is because the train will pass through with high speed and produce elevated temperature in the surface of rail which will cause fire hazard when weed is growing in there. To sum up, I learned some interesting information about green industry.

Field Trip: Hoober inc

Hoober inc is a company working on selling, maintaining and fixing construction and agriculture equipment since 1941. They have other locations on Philadelphia, Maryland, Virginia and, of course, Delaware. We went to the Hoober inc shop in Middletown, Delaware. We visited their office, there are a whole wall of manual and document of equipment which can track back to 50s. It touches the bottom of me. When I look these files, it really shows their passion and love on this job. It matters to them. They want to supply the best service to their customers. Then we visited their workshops, we saw many staff working on their position. And there is some equipment took apart. When I look inside of an engine, I can’t imagine how hard to take it apart, find the problems, fix them, and put everything back. We also got opportunity to drive some of equipment. They are truly huge, like a tank, or bigger than a tank. And they cost a lot of money, some of them cost over half million dollars. I can figure that. They have so many technological equipment on one vehicle. For example, a sprayer with its 140-gallon fuel tank and 1,200-gallon product tank can keeps working in the field for a full day of spraying, and there are dozens of minicomputers, in its trailer for the each of the sprayers, which are complicated to monitor. They are trying to reduce the computer to 7 computers now.

It was a fascinating experience for me to learn about that the new equipment and technologies improve the precision agriculture in the modern agriculture.

Document Reflection: CFI- Gene Editing Communication Resource in 2018

Gene editing or genome editing is one of the most promising innovations today which can be used to modify gene to resist disease for organism, increase the production of livestock and plants and so on. This advanced technology help improving the farmers’ s and food industries’ business significantly. But it also rises up a huge amount of concern from public. Because less than half people understand what gene editing is, it is easy to fear something that people isn’t familiar with. Therefore, scientists or experts have responsibility to explain. Also, how to demonstrate it is important. There are several effective communication approaches introduced in this document. Frist of all, people are more willing to trust experts or scientist rather than the companies or farmers who sell these GMO products. It is more acceptable, if explaining gene edition by telling that this technology is just similar to the potential of improving human health by using gene editing. And spokespersons should embrace skepticism and respect what people beliefs. Sharing an idea that people can take benefits from this technology most, not the companies, and the plants, animals and environment can be benefitable.

If public can understand more about the advanced technologies popping out in this world, listen to others’ ideas, not only opposing the new technologies, it will help to solve many issues in this planet.

Reflection of Mark Lynas lecture on Farming in 2013 Oxford

I watched a movie today that Mark Linus talked about why he changed his mind from an anti-GMO to support GMO in 2013 Oxford conference. Before I watch Mark Lynas’ s speech, I have heard about many countries opposed GMO. There are many concerns about the GMO will pollute GenBank of whether organism’ s or our human’ s in nature. Some claims that GMO is against to God, or human has no right to change the nature. The thing surprised me is how those people opposed GMO. In Kenya, if you plant GMO crop, you will be sent to prison for 10 years, even though GMO crop have higher yield. People refuse science because of religion. I can’t imagine that thing happens in the 21th centuries. It recalled me the conflict between geocentric theory and heliocentric theory. The global population are growing, and it need the innovative and advanced technology to improve the yield of crops. The anti-GMO organizations support organic food, they believe organic food are healthier. But it has been proven that organic food is not healthier than other food and it is expensive and has a low yield. In the other word, the GMO crop can have higher yield in less land, pesticide, time, and money. If there is a ban for GMO all over the world, millions of people will be died by starving, and more land, like rain forests, will be used to grow crops. I do not think that will be a good result.

Guest Lecture by James Adkins

In oct 2nd, Mr. James Adkins lectured our class about the importance of irrigation in today’s agriculture. Agriculture is all about water, crops cannot survive without water. Therefore, water efficiency is a big concern, especially in the places where are lack of water. There are only 20% of the world’s farmland is irrigated, in the meantime it produces 40% of food supply. Asia has the biggest percentage of irrigation about 68%. In India, 90% of its freshwater is used for agriculture and it cause approximately one‐fifth of the nation’s total electricity consumption. Crops need water, the amount of water used by 100 acres of corn in one day during pollination is 1 million gallons and it equal to the total water use of 10 households in a year. And it is unsustainable. It is pretty a shocking news for me. I have been heard so many appeals like, saving water, remember to close water tap. But compared to agriculture, citizens daily water consumption is not the significant problem of world’s fresh water shortage. It is really a critical issue for agriculture to solve. The improvement in irrigation technology do have advantage for this problem.

Field trip in Fifer Orchard

September 28, we visited Fifer Orchard in Wyoming, DE. It is a farm, a country store and in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. It took about one-hour drive. Bobby Fifer told us that Strawberries, tomatoes, sweet corn, peaches and pumpkins are the major crops grown in the field. It is a family farm for 100 years since 1919. And everyone in the family has a different job with others which they love to do. Our UD bus took us with Bobby visiting several fields. The most impressive one is the strawberries field. They used the white plastic to cover the soil which can extend the harvest season which is good for harvesting decent quality of strawberries. It was new to me and it helps me to understand that innovative technology does benefit farmers. There is one thing surprised me that they don’t grow organic crop in this farm. Because the climate in the east coast is not suitable for growing organic crop and it costs more.

Guest Lucture-Iowa and California: Agricultural Giants

Mr. Ed Kee gave my class a lecture about Iowa and California agriculture.  Iowa is an agricultural state which 85%of Iowa’s land mass is used for agriculture. 87,500 farmers in Iowa till 30.5 million acres. Most income of Iowa’s cash farm comes from corn, soybean, pork and beef. Iowa is the number one producer in corn and soybean. Iowa is the number one producer in hog as well. And it the nation’s leading producer of eggs. All those advantages are resulted in the fertile soils and comfort climate for crops in Iowa. Then, Mr. Kee talked to us about California-the nation’s leading state in cash farm receipts with 47 million dollars. And California ranks first in many commodities, such as milk & cream, almonds, grapes and tomatoes. 95% of U.S. tomato products come from California. But there are some issues in California, like the water issue due to the water quality the water cost more. In the meantime, some farm families own water rights dating over 100 years old, so, their water is less expensive.

Guest Lecture: Ed Kee

2019 September 13th, Mr. Ed Kee came to our ARGI 130 class to talking about the Delaware Agriculture as a Food Shed for eastern United States. There is 41% of DE land area in farms and 20% of it are permanently preserved because of the Agland Preservation Program. It means that those land can and only can be used as farm land. And not only protect these lands from being developed by other non-agriculture industry, but also protect the young farmers in the future. A program called Young Farmers Program, it offers a 30-year, no interest loan to help young farmers purchase farmland. Some farms in the permanently preservation program can be provided to the young farmers. 1842 year, the first canning factory was built for canning oysters in winter. And soon, this new and advanced technology can be used in canning fresh vegetables and fruits in any time. Even though the innovative technology boosts up the yield in agriculture and, reduce the amount of repeated work which improve the life of farmer, there are some challenges for today agriculture. Farmers still get low feedback from their work and the growing population on the Earth make the burden more heavily.

Mrs. Michele Walfred Guest Lecture

September 11, 2019, communications specialist Mrs. Michele Walfred came to our class to lecture us about social media influence in today society. Social media become more and more important, and what we post on our social media may affect our future career. Because what we posted on there is resulted to create a brand of ourselves, and many companies will check that out when they hire new employee. Mrs. Michele taught us how to make a good and clean brand. Using a high quality professional-looking headshot, 
 email with your real name, create a blog, provide thoughtful comments on public pages, never post racist or discriminatory information or comments, etc. With the rapid development of Internet, there are more and more fake news online. The major reason they existed is for ad and click-bait revenue. we should be aware of it. Because they may not just fool people, but also may lead the people who trust those lies to danger.

Guest lecture by Mrs. George Cartanza

It is so glad that Mrs. Georgie Cartanza was invited to came to our class to talk about the evolution of the poultry industry on Delmarva where produces 9.6% of national production. I learned many interesting things about the history of the poultry industry. For every 1 job in the poultry industry it creates 7 jobs in the community.  It is quite different about farm between today and past in many aspects.  Today poultry farms have automatic pan feeders,  nipple drinkers, solid walled houses and so on. Those advanced technology improve the chicken life and save time and cost for  the farmers.  Chicken nowadays can grow more fast than the past, some people may think that it is because of the hormones and steroids. But that theory is false. There is improvements in genetics, nutrition, housing and technology which cause the achievement that chicken can grow up to 4,202 g in 56 days. It is so important to be mindful of the truth behind the information edited by social media.  The information may be the one that they want people to know,  not the truth.