All posts by djust

Should food be labeled?

Food labeling is a topic that is being debated by farmers and states. Many states such as Maine and Connecticut have passed laws that require such labeling if other nearby states put one into effect. Vermont is the first state to require such labeling. This can be a huge impact on food companies because of the negative opinions that consumers have about GMO’s. Not only that, but the cost of labeling products is extremely expensive and can be a confusing process. Labels may be eye-catching for consumers, but are actually stigmatizing healthy foods. GMO’s are necessary, but many people lack the education about GMO’s which in turn means that they fear what they don’t know. This is dangerous because this can lead to the spread of false information and a pandemonium that has no basis in anything of knowledge. GMO laws will cost consumers billions of dollars. For example, the Vermont GMO law will cost Maryland consumers a total of $1,564,040,500 a year and Maryland families an average of $1,082 a year. Labeling is not necessary and is costing consumers and food production companies money that should be used for other necessary things. Labels are often misinterpreted, which means that consumers are buying things thinking that the label means one thing, when in reality, it means something totally different.

GMOS- Dave Mayonado

Dave Mayonado’s lecture was absolutely my favorite this semester, and probably one of my favorite speakers I’ve ever been able to see. I am absolutely intrigued by GMO’s, not only about what they are and how they are developed, but by the public’s perception of them and how easy it is to influence people to think one way or the other. With a major in American Politics, seeing people develop an opinion and never listen to others, is something I see everyday. GMO’s is such a controversial topic, and to see people hear the actual facts about them but still believe that they are dangerous and whatnot is very interesting. Growing up in such a small town that was dominated by agriculture, it is very cool to see GMO’s help small time farmers succeed and profit. GMO’s are safer than I thought and  allow more underdeveloped countries to help feed their communities with higher yields and less money going in to keeping a plant alive. I hope that I can continue learning about GMO’s and keeping up to date about new technologies developed.

Delaware’s Horse Racing Industry- Mark Davis

Listening to Mark Davis speak about the horse racing industry was definitely interesting and he was able to easily keep my attention. Learning about the horse industry is definitely something I didn’t think I would be so engaged in, but I was extremely engaged with him as he lectured. Learning about the difference between harness racing and thoroughbred racing was something I had never heard about and I was intrigued because of how often I hear about Dover Downs and other horse racing casinos. I also did not know how important casinos are to the overall economic stability of Delaware. Learning about all of this allows me to understand a little more of the agriculture industry and a little more about Delaware’s economics . Not only are casinos important to the economy, but without casinos, the horse racing industry would probably be on a decline.

Livestock Industry- Dan Severson

Listening to Dan Severson lecture about the livestock industry was very interesting and captivating. I honestly knew little about the livestock industry and Dan’s lecture allowed me to understand a little more about the livestock industry and specifically, Delaware Farms. The piece of information that shocked me the most, was the fact that 96% of family farms are family owned. This was new information to me, as I usually hear about corporate farms and such dominating the agricultural industry. I also was surprised to see that the top three biggest meat consumption products are beef, pork, and poultry. I honestly though poultry was dominating the market, but to see beef and pork ahead was interesting to learn. Looking at statistics of the U.S. compared to around the world also helped me better understand todays current agriculture market and economy.

Precision AG Lecture-Mark Isaacs

During the lecture, I was very intrigued to see how technology and especially drones are incorporated into agriculture work. Watching the video about drone use in California just helped me understand the importance of emerging technology. It now only allows more efficiency and decrease the hard labor for workers and can give them more free time to work on any other important tasks. Not only are drones important but watching looking at GPS and how important it is to optimize returns and preserving resources. Farmers have to battle constant price increases and smaller profit margins and the only way to keep up and sustain a profit making farm, is to incorporate precision AG into their daily tasks. It not only helps them make more money, but it increases their quality of life, whether that be giving them more time to spend with family etc.

Newark Farm Tour

This previous Saturday, I spent time at the University of Delaware farm. I was so intrigued to see how this farm is able to teach students hands-on techniques in a manner that is safe and understandable. I was so amazed at the fact that dairy cows are taught where they are to feed and they are smart enough to retain  that information and store it in their memories. I also really enjoyed how honest the farm manager was. He didn’t sugar-coat any type of information that we should know and made sure we knew to hold ourselves accountable for our actions. Walking through the farm was such a different experience than being on main campus. Everything is so calm, whereas main campus is always bustling. Seeing the mini versions of the chicken houses was also interesting, especially because we got to compare it to the full size version at Georgie’s farm. Overall, I very much enjoyed this field trip, especially the UDairy!

Mark Lynas and GMO’s

What do you think of his position? Does he make a case for his change of heart and the way he now views GMOs?

GMO’s will always be a constant controversial topic because of the idea that farmers and corporations are essentially changing the physiology of a plant. When an audience reads about GMO’s, they often form an opinion based on the headline of an article, of the opinions of others, and most of the times these headlines and opinions are extremely misleading. To fully form an opinion, whether that be for or against GMO’s, the reader must become informed through different scientifically based arguments. Mark Lynas explains that before he changed his opinion on GMO’s, he found himself constantly defending himself using scientific arguments for other types of controversial subjects. He realized that if he was backing up his arguments with scientific data, why wasn’t he doing that with GMO’s. He developed his opinion because of the preconceived idea that all corporations are lying, scheming, money hungry entities that only look out for themselves. After realizing that he may not be correct in the way he formed his opinion, he decided to research and look at the scientific data. His initial belief was that GMO’s required more pesticide and insecticide, however, he realized that because many GMO’s such as pest-resistance cotton and maize actually require little to no pesticide. He realized that most of his arguments had no basis and he once he realized the facts, he changed his opinion drastically. Once he changed his opinion, he was then able to argue with facts instead of baseless statements. His current position is what I believe to be correct. GMO’s are essential in developing countries. GMO’s allow small farmers to create bigger yields with a small input and help feed rural villages. Without GMO’s, many under-developed countries would struggle to feed their community members.

Trip to Hoobers

Georgetown students!

This past Saturday, I spent the day at Hoobers! I was able to look at different type of precision AG machinery, such as auto-steer, and seed squirters. Seed Squirters are a way to get water to a plant without over watering and limiting the amount of diseases.  I was also able to take a look at different types of machinery such as sprayers, tractors, and quadtracs. I was extremely excited to get to drive the sprayer, and I was blown away at the amount of technology inside the cab. To see how big and expensive these machines are, is truly amazing. People underestimate how hard it is to be a farmer, and to see the type of technology that they use and how complex it is, is very eye-opening. I very much enjoyed my time at Hoobers and I hope I’ll be able to visit again.

Trip to Fifers

Last Saturday, I took a trip to Fifers Orchard. I was thoroughly impressed at the size of their production. I had been previously under the impression that Fifers was a small little produce stand with only a couple acres of land. I very much enjoyed seeing the different types of crops they grew and I was very surprised to learn that their were many different types of one specific crop, such as orange, green, and purple cauliflower. Being able to look at the type of distribution center, I was so excited to see how things worked within the company. Speaking to the family members was also extremely interesting because I never realized how important it was that each person had their own specific job and made sure that their job was completed with great competence. I was also interested in the idea that you were able to buy not only fruits and vegetables, but other types of homemade products such as jams, pies, and seasonings. Seeing this type of production system was extremely important to my understanding about how family farms are run and to see them work cohesively and produce the best products for their consumers.

Visit to the Cartanza Farm

On September 9th, I spent the day at Georgie Cartanza’s poultry farm in Dover. This particular poultry farm is organic, meaning that not only are the birds cared for, but there are many more precautions taken when compared to other non-organic poultry farms. These precautions include, making sure there are no antibiotics used, the chickens have access to natural light, they are free range, no GMO’s used, and the feed is organic. The Cartanza poultry farm houses around 37,000 chickens per house and the farm contains four houses. The organic grain used in the houses is from Argentina and Turkey because of the lack of the supply in the U.S. I definitely learned many different interesting facts such as how the manure is used. Each flock produces about 3 in. of manure that that manure is then used as fertilizer. This means that about 20 tons of manure per year per house is produced. Also, it’s incredibly expensive to build and maintain chicken houses. It’s also extremely technologically advanced. The technological advancements throughout the last decade are extremely modern and allows poultry farmers to grow more chickens with about half of the space needed. This is incredibly efficient when it comes to the amount of space needed for not only the chicken houses themselves, but for manure housing and grain silos.