Unfortunately I was again unable to accompany the class on the Hoober field trip due to family. However I do have experience with the company and it’s tractors. From my knowledge Hoober or (CaseIH) uses the most recently retired and applicable, military technology in their tractors. This allows them to stay on the forefront of the technology curve which is very important in agriculture. From ever evolving transmissions, to engines, to hill stabilization, to advanced PTO management in tractors; and environmental control units in chicken houses and green houses; and in field condition testers. Technology is always being improved upon in the world of agriculture. Better technology means less work needs to be done to produce higher yields of better crops or animals. If a farmer (especially in modern times) does not keep up with the ever expanding list of technological advancements then he/she will fall behind very quickly and it will be increasingly more challenging to stay competitive and profitable.
Unfortunately due to obligations at work I was not able to make it to this week’s field trip. However, after reading a few of my fellow students’ posts I understand that Fifer’s Orchards is a CSA. This peaks my interest as I have a somewhat mixed idea of what exactly a CSA is. In this case the Fifer family business sends out monthly/weekly boxes full of fruit and other produce grown by in the orchard and in turn the community pays for this and the orchard is supported for the most part. In other scenarios a CSA is simply a community garden maintained by the community in areas where fresh produce is a scarcity and not within economical means. Thirdly in rural areas (more specifically Madison County, VA) the community owns a plot of arable land and a farmer is brought in to work that land for the community.
In my opinion, no matter what form its in, a CSA is a good thing. Both the community and the farmer is benefiting almost regardless. In all three scenarios the community is receiving fresh produce that is guaranteed to reach their table when previously it may not have been. In the first and last CSA style the farmer is guaranteed both a market and land to work. In the second option people who may have never known the origin of food or the importance of agriculture are exposed to this lesson.
When I first heard that we were going to be taking a field trip to an organic poultry farm I was very standoff-ish. Personally I do not agree with organic for many reasons. However when listening to Ms. Cartanza I was pleasantly surprised. She explained that the practices outlined in the organic guidelines are basically unnecessary because for the most part the chickens do not take advantage of theses organic specific practices. Which furthered my opinion on the nature of organic operations. Furthermore I was surprised by the condition of the chicken houses, they were very pleasant. The temperature was very comfortable, the noise level was low, and the smell was more then bearable; the chickens seemed to be very content with their living conditions. Which is why I was a little bothered by the fact that she cannot allow anyone to take pictures while in the chicken house for fear that they’ll negatively misconstrue what are actually very nice living conditions, in order to further their own agenda.