All posts by dtull

Dr. Mark Davis: Harness Racing

On November 18th, Dr. Mark Davis gave the history of horse racing. The start of horse racing dates back to 12th century BC. The first start of horse racing the united states was in 1750 in this organization called the Jockey club. This organization introduced thoroughbred racing in the united states, which is the most popular form of racing, such as the Kentucky derby. However, Mark Davis specialized in harness racing which is also connected to casinos, and in the state of Delaware the only way there can be casino is if there is a horserace racetrack connected to it. Economically, the horse racing is mostly funded by the slot machines in the casino. In Delaware the longest running racetrack is the Harrington raceway and casino. Unfortunately, in more recent years popularity in horse racing has substantially dwindled.

Dave Mayonado: Industry and Academia in Agriculture

In this lecture, Dave Mayonado gave a brief history of how the agriculture industry grew and what it’s important to United states society. Around the late 1800’s the Land grant universities were formed to educate farmers and also conduct experiments on advance agriculture production. These organizations were deemed as experiment stations, and have greatly affected how the agriculture community has advanced over the years. Due to his former employment at Monsanto, Dave Mayonado explained the recent allegations that have grown around Monsanto’s Round-up. He revealed that it is not infact  cancerous, which the allegations were claiming. Not only this, but the allegations were proved incorrect by other various researchers across the world. His take home message was: science based agronomic reasearch and development has led to huge increases in crop production efficieny and yield.

UD farm tour

Last Saturday on November 1st, we went on a tour of the UD farm. More specifically we focused on the different animals that the farm works with and how they are used in the agriculture industry. However, oddly enough we didn’t take tours of the poultry part of the farm but we did get a tour of the cows and the equipment used to milk them. It was fascinating finding out that the milking process was not only time consuming, but also required many different aspects to the programming of the machine. Each cows milking specification varied and any issue that occurs could mess up the process  drastically. Other parts we toured were the sheep, which are mostly slaughtered. Overall what I gained from the  tour was the the process of running has many different aspects such as cleaning the cows,  mixing the feed, and collecting the waste. There’s no job that is simple and if not done correctly could end up reducing the productiveness of the farm.

Dan Severson: New castle County Delaware livestock

This lecture given by New Castle Count Cooperative Livestock agent, Dan Severson, focused on the livestock portion of Delaware’s agriculture industry. Severson broke down the amount of the beef, pork, goat, chicken that is produced and consumed from Delaware. Additionally, he included the amount of products that come from the different animals. Apparently, the highest amount of livestock that was recorded was cattle, which 225 farms, containing roughly 14,000 cattle in the state of Delaware alone. However, Delaware cattle size does not compare to the amount of cattle livestock contained in the entire US, which is 70 million cattle over the span of 711,000 farms. Switching from direct livestock, Dan Severson shared with the class the trends that are commonly found in  the agriculture community, which are # of farms, size of the farm, age of farmer, amount of animals, and diversification. It also seems that as time passes by, there is a growing interest of consumers wanting to know where there food comes from. Unfortunately, that also leads to some individuals sharing false information to people about how their food is processed, especially when it comes to the topics of GMO. However, sometimes stores and some people have ended up mislabeling their product, because they include the GMO free label. The thing is, GMO is mostly used by breeding and not actually injecting something into the food. Another claim is that farmers are putting antibiotics into the products, but since it is illegal to do so, that argument doesn’t hold up. The only registered animal that is allowed to be processed with GMO’s is fish, mainly salmon. Overall, Severson wanted us to know where the food comes from and what actually goes into farming.

GMO Extra Credit

For my GMO research project, I went to the store and found a product called “Outshine: Fruit Bars”. This item is a supposed an all natural popsicle, that used real fruit juice. Its main claim on it’s package is that it’s GMO free. The issue I found with this is that there was another popsicle produced by the same company, which did not also included the GMO free label. The weird thing is that the only difference was it’s flavor being coconut, instead of strawberry. If the strawberry flavored popsicle is supposedly non GMO, then why isn’t the coconut. Artificial flavoring is artificial flavoring, no matter what the flavor is.

Tracy Wooten and Valann Budischak: Dleaware’s Green Industry

On October 16th, Tracy Wooten and Valann Budischak spoke on behalf Delaware’s green industry. During this lecture, they discussed the different set ups from nurseries,  and different careers that are included in this industry. The two types of Nurseries that they spoke about were Field Nurseries and plug nurseries. A field nursery is set up like an open ceiling store where people can go and purchase the different types of plants they need. There is more of a variety here. In a plug nursery, it contains one breed of plant that is usually used for mass production. The percentage for plants grown in  nurseries currently is at 62.4%. As for businesses involved in the green industry, there is the Cordrey companies (which primarily focuses on landscaping, and various nurseries, such as Ronnie’s garden World and Gateway garden center. But most importantly, with these businesses dealing with the green industry with  the public, there are specific things growers may be required to participate in. For starters, some landscapers are hired by DelDot to maintain care of land around high ways, to keep it looking clean and beautiful. They want to reduce the amount of driver’s fatigue, and if the land around the driver looks interesting they’ll pay more attention to what’s up ahead of them. From this presentation, the biggest takeaway is that there are many jobs in the Green Indrustry, outseide of only planting  plants and making the land look nice. People have to sell the plants to the growers, people have to design what’s going to go into the landscape jobs, and people have to regulate what is the best for growers to do, in order to protect the environment, as well as supply the highest quality of plants.


On October 12th, at  Hoobers, we were able to see up close the technological side of Precision Ag. Not only does Hoobers sell tractors and other various precision Ag.  equipment, but they also help repair equipment that people bring in. Another part of their job is to go out in the community and help educate people on the correct way to use their equipment. For them, the most challenging part of precision Ag. is finding people who are interested in working there and know what they’re doing. In a job like Hoobers, each individual working there has to have the skills required for their job and also be able to be good at cooperating with the other sections of the company. As for new technological advancements that Hoober’s has, they have a connection with base station, which allows them to track and program all their equipment within the radius of the station.

James Adkins: Ag Irrigation

The  lecture James Adkins presented, on Wednesday October 2nd, focused on the evolution of irrigation being used in the agriculture field. Apparently, one of the first forms of irrigation was the hanging towers of Babylon. Throughout the history of Ag, the advancement of technology has allowed for all kinds of experiments  with irrigation. There have been irrigation systems powered by wind, walking on treadmills, gated pipes, and etc. In other countries, they still to this day use these techniques to make up for the lack of technological advancements. As for modern American society, we have switched over to center pivots and mobile irrigation systems.  The percentage of Delaware farmland that is irrigated is 30%; and out of that, only 50% of Sussex county is irrigated.

Mark Lynas

In 2013, Mark Lynas, an activist who currently protested the use of GM and pesticides on crops, approached the Oxford Farming Conference. His intent is to apologized for the 10 years of demonizing the Agriculture community, even though he was doing it in defense of the environment. Lynas being a political activist, he mostly spoke based on what he thought was ethically correct, and less based on what actually went down in the agriculture community. The exact thing that he had been protesting about for so many years, in turn ended up hurting the environment as a result. Because he hard been spreading misinformation about the agriculture community to the public, it ended up affecting how people perceived farms and other jobs in that field. What made him change his mind, was the fact that he decided to hear from the farmers side and realized how much damage he had done.

Fifer’s Orchard

During the tour of Fifer’s orchard, located in Kent County Delaware, our class was introduced to the wonder that is produce commercial farming. At Fifer’s, not only do they grow they’re specialty crops, such as strawberries, tomatoes, and sweet corn; they all supply a variety of experimental crops as well. On our tough we were able to see the different types of crops they have planted, such as their killage radishes. These crops provide good airspace, and can provide good mulch after terminated. However, as successful as the orchard is, they are not without their issues. Depending on the crop, they can deal with pests from a variety of brown rot, scabs, and bacterial leaf spots, all the way to internal break down, nutritional deficiencies, and moths/mites.  The technological advancements that Fifer’s has put into their irrigation systems is astonishing. They have center pivots, drip and even linear irrigation. Now as interesting as being able to see the crops on at the orchard and learn about all the inner workings that goes into the business, the best part hands down is their store that sells all the goods that the orchards produce. At the store you can buy anything from beeswax candles to apple cinnamon donuts. All in all, the trip was a very delicious and enlightening experience.

Ed Kee: Iowa Vs California Agriculture

When dealing in the field of agriculture, it is always important to understand how each part of the United States goes about handling their respective farming. A great example of this is the contrast between the Iowa, in the Midwest and California, on the West Coast. During his lecture the other day, Ed Kee explained in detail the different ways that these two states contribute to the country’s agriculture industry. For Iowa, their main exports are eggs, soybean, and hogs. Iowa alone owns 21 million hogs, which makes up 32% of the nation’s pork production. For eggs, Iowa exports 12.5 billion eggs a year. As for produce, they have 9.8 million acres of soybeans and own 13% of the US corn acreage. To add to this,  they produce enough where it is feasible for them to directly export 20-30% pork products to countries outside of the US. Their excellent export percentages are made possible by Iowa’s river transportation, the Missouri river. Another great this is that Iowa is one of the few states that uses ethanol in their diesel and also experiments with soy-diesel, which according to Ed Kee, smells like popcorn.

However, California ranks highest in milk and cream, almonds, grapes, lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, walnuts, and wines, among countless produce products. As for historical context, Cesar Chavez formed  the United Farm workers Union in California and protest for better pay for the workers. At the time,  farm workers were underappreciated, and were at most times taken advantage of, especially migrant worker due to their lack of English speaking skills. As of now, minimum wage has increased to  $15/hour, proving that Chaves fight made an impact.  Another interesting fact that was shared was, California is the 10th largest general economy in the world.  On of their most highest grossing business in the Ag field is processing tomatoes. 95% of the U.S. Tomato products come from California. Luckily for the workers, the tedious task of handpicking tomatoes is no longer a necessity. The advancement of technology has allowed for makin g the process smoother and more efficient. Another great thing about California’s agriculture is that, it iseasier to grow organic plants in California. Due to hot and dry climate California and Iowa’s perfect amount of rainfall, these two states have become the Agricultural giants of their respective parts of the country.





Guest Lecture: Ed Kee

On September 13th, former Secretary of Agriculture, Ed Kee, came in and presented on how the state of Delaware is the US food shed. He also spoke on programs that benefited individuals in the agricultural community.  One of these  programs is the AgLand Preservation program, which has made it so that there is 110,000 acres permanently preserved for agriculture specifically. If that land becomes vacant, it has to stay agriculture based. This takes up 20% of Delaware’s farmland, meaning that a decent amount of Delaware farmland will always be protected by the state. Another program is the Young farmer’s program, which provides up to 500,000 to a young farmer for a year. Secretary Kee also gave a brief history of the canning industry from the Napoleonic era, all the way up to today. So far, the major tomato canning producers was in Virginia, at 369. In Delaware, the most that could be grown from the year 1866-1946 was only 14-29 bushels. The advancement of agriculture, especially in the produce and poultry industry, is due in part to modifications of genetics, precision agriculture, irrigation, minimum tillage, soil fertility, weed control, and pest management. His final statement was that there is a need for farmers, land Agriculture, and technology to advance the agriculture field.

Michele Walfred: Branding Yourself and Advocating for Agriculture

In today’s society almost everyone has some type of social media. Whether it be Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, or even Linkedin, most people seem to post their everyday life. Because of this, employers have found that by browsing through applicants social medias, they will be able to gain a relatively accurate understanding of what their potential employee is really like. Unfortunately, for a good amount of people, this is not always a good thing. Most people post on their social media whenever they are out partying or doing anything in their life that’s worth remembering. During these events, individuals tend to forget that what might be appropriate at the time, can end up leading to them being declined a job or even fired. See, the issue is that most people don’t know how to properly balance being professional and having fun on their free time. In the lecture from Michele Walfred on Sept 11th, 2019, we learned the importance of branding yourself in a professional way.  It is always important to brand yourself as a reliable and responsible individual. If you go to a party and happen to be doing things that are not necessarily important for a business setting, either refrain from posting it on your social media or post it on an account that your employer can’t find. Your main account should only display things that brand you as responsible or also reflect what you are like as a person. Remember, even if it seems like not a big deal to you, to your employer  it might make the hugest difference between you having a successful job or filing for unemployment.

As for using social media in the Agriculture field, Walfred explained how it is our generations duty to tell the true stories of Agriculture. It seems that in more recent years , the Agriculture field has been portrayed negatively on social media, and the ones who should be representing Agriculture have failed to do so. Some of farmers are old fashion and don’t care to use social media to share their stories and explain to the general public what real goes on in the Ag. communities.By joining career fields in Agriculture,  such as videography, Social Media coordinator, and Ag communications, this information can be shared more openly. It is our duty to find out the truth and hear both sides of the story. If someone posts negative things about Ag., it is important to ask them why they feel that way and try to share what we personally know. And it is the same case when dealing with professional Agriculture associates. It is important to stand up for what you believe in, but it is just as crucial to know both sides of the story. Maybe then, a complete understanding can be obtained by both parties.

Guest Speaker Georgie on Evolving of the Poultry Industry

On Monday September 9th, Organic Poultry farmer, Georgie Cartanza, gave a presentation  on the evolution of poultry farming in Delaware. Before she went into any specifics about poultry farming’s complex history, we were educated on the land grants and acts that were established in order to further the research that goes into the agriculture field. For example, land grant universities were established in 1862 under the Morell Act, which made educating  individuals going into the agriculture field more feaseable. Another Act she mention was the 1914 Smith-lever act, which  brought cooperative Extension into play. However, one of the main lessons taken away from the presentation is that the main purpose of agriculture is to transport the produce from one area to another in a certain amount of time and grow the most effective sources of livestock and produce.

As for the history of poultry in Delaware and along the east coast, it all started in 1923. In 1923 Steele Family market grew first young meat birds, which was a result of a shipment 500 chicks were mistakenly shipped to Cecilia Steele. From this she created the first functional poultry farm. Down the road, in 1948-49 there was a contest held to find the “Chicken of tomorrow”. This was held in order to find a chicken with DNA that would allow for producing the most meaty and most producible bird. In todays society Delmarva Poultry industry has 252 million birds produced in Delaware and more broilers per square mile than in other in the United states. For meat type chicken there are 40,000,000,000 worldwide and 9,000,000,000 United states.  However, the poultry industry has an economic impact on Delmarva. It produces jobs for 14500 Poultry Company employees and the value of birds are 3.2 billion dollars.

Social media is the biggest influenced on the question: Where is my food coming from? Even though the most common opinion of agriculture by those who are not in the agriculture field, is that traditional farmers are bad for the environment. However, its is important to understand both sides before making a final judgement. For some individuals that protest non-organic farmers do due to a food choice because they prefer how it taste and makes them feel. Other important factor is sustainability and Perception vs. Reality. These are important because it is important to keep the economy afloat while also providing food for the billion and billions of people living around the world. As for perception vs. reality, if individuals don’t know the truth then it will be hard for them to make non-bias decisions. Balance between consumer demands. Balance between environmental regulations. Balance for economic viability.




Georgie Cartanza’s Organic Poultry Farm

Lately, it seems that the topic of raising the food that we eat organically has become a popular, but highly split discussion. Due to social media and its portrayal in the news, non-organic farming seems to be getting a bad rep. A decent amount of people feel that the organic farming is so drastically different than organic, that by in comparison the chickens are treated inhumanly. As an individual who has not grown up on a far, I have become very interested in finding out  what the real difference between the two types of chicken raising. So when my Agriculture class took a field trip to Georgie Cartanza’s organic poultry farm on Saturday, August, 7th, I saw this as my chance to see for myself. Upon arrival at the farm, Mrs. Cartanza walked us through the specifics of poultry farming. Although there are many similarities between traditional and organic farms, such as how their buildings are set up, the main differences aren’t actually that important. Apparently Cartanza has been given certain restrictions and requirements by her bosses, such as requiring  the chicks to have the option of spending a certain amount of time outside and providing them with toys (a bully box and a ramp) to play with. Another difference is that the chicks must be fed strictly feed that has never come in contact with either pesticides or antibiotics. This may seem like a chickens paradise, but according to Georgie Cartanza, some of these requirements don’t necessarily benefit the chicks. Being able to walk out in the open can actually expose the chicks to a great risk of avian diseases. All in all, the organic poultry farm was very enjoyable because I was able to to see it’s layout and interact with the day old chicks. From a personal viewpoint, it seems that organic poultry farming is just an alternative way of raising chicks, more so than being better than tradition poultry farming. This experience was very beneficial to my search for the truth of the depiction of Agriculture in the United States.

After walking through one of the chicken houses, students were allowed to hold the baby chicks.