All posts by edentink

The Pros and Cons of Enhanced Labeling

Over the course of the semester, several of my classes have touched on enhanced labeling–labeling foods that tell how the whole product was made and what it contains. From this there could be many pros and cons for both the consumer and the producer. Due to there being full disclosure, consumers may be more trusting of the industry or the farmer, and thus may be more likely to buy it. There would also be more benefits, such as not having a reaction to something that’s potentially in the food (e.g. some gluten free foods contain up to 20% gluten). With this, there are also some negatives. The consumer may want to be ignorant and not know what is in their food, which this would overcome. Not only this but consumers may feel guilty about what is done to process that food (e.g. how much water and transportation is need) and thus also scare off the consumer due to the long label.

For the producer, there are several pros and cons as well. For one, this can enhance niche markets (e.g. how organic something is) or even create new ones (e.g. how environmentally friendly it is). It also but;ds trust between the company and the consumer by disclosing information, thus they may be able to sell more (make a larger profit). Sadly, there are also some cons, such as losing money if the consumer doesn’t like how the product is made or is scared off by the large label. Over all, no one could predict how the majority of the population would respond to enhanced labeling but I for one think it would be interesting to see.

UD Webb Farm Field Trip

Although I was not able to attend the field trip this weekend, again due to vet school interviews and upcoming exams, I was able to get some information on it. After reading some posts and having my friends reiterate what happened, I find that the field trip was like a collection of all the knowledge I have gained through my ANFS classes.

The tour guide for the day talked about all the information we learn in the vast opportunities the farm offers UD students, such as volunteering, jobs, research, and labs. The guide talked about some of the feedstuffs. One of the most prominent ones being silages, which you can see being made in the silo bags around the farm. He also talked about the dairy cattle, who are a huge resource here for students. We learn how to milk cows properly, how to make ice, cream and about dietary research, typically dealing with the rumen.

Not only do we learn about dairy, but we learn about beef cattle when we are on the farm. They are not only important for learning about the beef industry, but in taking ANFS251, we learn about how to properly score the beef cattle on a range of 1-9. Another large animal we learn about are equines, or horses if you will. The horses here are a great learning opportunity, especially for scoring and behavior. Some of the ones we have at the UD farm are rescues or are too old to race any longer.

We also have sheep. My freshman year we learned a lot about sheep and how they act as a herd. We learned how they are flock animals and we have to herd them inside as such. Not only this but we learned how to separate them from the group as to trim the hooves (something I didn’t know was possible until coming to UD). One of the things I found interesting, that the guide retold, was how we can see if sheep have been mated using “crayons.” We check the females backends for coloring to see if the male had mated with her, as he has the coloration on his chest.

And one of the most notable forms of research, dealing with animals, on UD is chickens. Throughout the last semester, I often saw chickens being vaccinated and being tested. One of the places the students learned about on the trip was the poultry house and how we test for different variables and vaccines.

These are all really important aspects of the UD farm and wonderful opportunities. I am very thankful for all the wonderful teachers, and not just the ones you find in a classroom.

Opinion on Mark Lynas’ speech

It is apparent that Mark Lynas had a huge change of opinion. He, at one point, didn’t believe in GMOs and was 100% anti-GMOs. Over time, after doing some research, he determined that he was wrong, and only knew the myths. Through his research, he found many benefits of GMOs, but also several disadvantages to organic farming.

He makes a solid case for pro-GMOs. Several examples include increased crop yield, increased nutrient levels, increased drought resistance, etc. These are exemplary reasons for being pro-GMO, as they help many people in different ways. For example, he touches on the golden rice that would be beneficial to those who are poor and in need of beta-carotene—an essential precursor to vitamin A, which is important in vision. He also goes on to note that this would help feed more people since there yields are higher, less land is needed, and there is an increase in production.

Is his thinking justified? Sure. Do I agree with them? To a point. I think GMOs are essential to feeding the world, especially since there will be over 9 billion people in 2050. But I don’t think they are as positive as portrayed. For example, in my ENGL230 class—environmental literature—one of the books that touches on GMOs notes that those plants that do produce more, need more energy and nutrients. If a plant needs more nutrients and energy then we have to supply that in some way, otherwise the soil does become depleted. Not only this, but we have still cut down a large portion of land for such cropping, causing habitat deforestation and fragmentation.

I also think that organic also has its place. The consumer knows exactly what they are getting; there is no guessing about what is in the food or the processing it has gone through in the same way as a GMO food. Although this may be more costly in some manners, the farmer/ producer also gets to have a stronger relationship with the plants; that person/ people is interacting with the plant on a more “personal” basis.

Overall, both GMOs and organic have their place and are important for different consumers. All farming will be needed to help feeding the world’s hungry. Getting there will take time and a mental readjustment for many. It is undoubtable that GMOs will be the future.

Hoober’s Field Trip

Although I was not able to attend the field trip to Hoober’s for various reasons, I was able to do some research and get some feedback from my friends. Hoober’s offers a wide variety of services and technology in precision agriculture, from their UpTime Service to drones and combines. They have come a long way since the 1940’s when they began. They are able to help many more people, as they have locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. This allows for a lot more and better agricultural production. Their most popular piece of equipment are the sprayers and planters. These have huge value as they are very important for agriculture and “feeding the world.” But after hearing about riding tractors, I can’t help but think that’s the best of them all, as I’ve been doing that since I was little. I think it is important to realize that these machines aren’t only something that has utility, but something that can be of sentimental value and great fun, whether that’s enjoying being outside operating a machine, or being pulled by a tractor while sitting in a wagon full of hay. From this I think there can be a lot learned in a fun and purposeful manner.

Ed Kee’s lecture on Iowa and California Ag

I found Ed Kee’s second lecture to be just as interesting as his first. He again touched on agriculture, but this time, on states I have never visited: Iowa and California. It was interesting to find that they are the two largest agricultural states while they are vastly different. For example, in Iowa there is more rain, rivers, and aquifers, while in comparison, California is quite dry, has lowered water tables, and depends on snowmelt. They also have completely different exports. Iowa, like Delaware, exports mostly corn, soybeans, and meat (in this case beef and pork). California, on the other hand, exports mostly horticulture crops, milk & cream, and almonds. From this, we can really notice how climate and soils affect what can be produced some place, even with the use of fertilizers, chemicals, and GMOs. Technology is a major factor but the climate, soils, and diseases will usually rule what can be planted, produced, and sold.

Ed Kee’s Lecture on Delaware

As a Pre-veterinary and Animal Biosciences/ Agriculture and Natural Resources double major with a minor in environmental humanities, I feel as though I have learned plenty about farming and how it works, but I have yet to really hear statistics or specifics relative to Delaware. Ed Kee’s lecture shed some light on Delaware farming and farming in general for me. For example, I didn’t know 99% of farms were family owned or that 40% of Delaware was farms. Not only that but we can reach such a large percent of the population in a decent about of time. It’s amazing to think of all the food we must be able to produce and sell to people to satiate them. I think that is an important factor to think about as the population grows and I wonder what is being done to even further this development. I feel as that Delaware will become a very important player as we attempt to feed more people as we have 40% of the state as agriculture and 24% of it is preserved, as well as being so close to such a large percent of the population.

Michele Walfred’s lecture

Michele Walfred’s lecture was both funny and informative. I really appreciated this lecture as it tied in many practical aspects that can be used in everyday life and into the future. I found this lecture the most beneficial thus far as it will be helpful for getting into vet schools, as I am sure they are doing background research on their applicants. Not only this but it will be beneficial for any internships of jobs I apply to in the coming future. It also helped to reinforce information we already know but tend to ignore/ forget about such as putting our phones away during dinner or conversations, focusing on other people, and being polite and respectful in different manners. I think we often tend to forget about those things as more technology is created, and we start to become less social. I hope to have more lecture like these in the future.


Although I was not able to attend this field trip, it sounded like a lot of fun from what my friends told me. I also did a little research on Fifer’s orchard while I had a moment. I think the most interesting part is the CSA as we were talking about them with Professor Jenkins in my ENGL230 class. I think it is amazing that they can grow so much fresh food and then send it to those who have signed up for it. I am now considering going one or growing my own garden once I go back home since learning more about the CSA program.

Poultry Farm Fun

It was an interesting experience to go to Georgie’s poultry farm. Over the course of two years, I have learned about poultry, poultry farms, poultry anatomy, and poultry nutrition, but I had yet to experience poultry in a farm setting. I was not sure what to expect when entering the barns. I had learned about biosecurity and learned as how to properly keep animals safe. This was my first time fully suiting up and practicing such methods on a farm. Once in the barn, I was surprised as to the actual look of the barn. I had never been inside one and was amazed. Thanks to taking all of my ANFS classes, I understood most of what I was informed about, but was still impressed by the new knowledge. Did you know Sussex county is the largest poultry producer in the US? And that just one farm can produce almost 150,000 chickens per year? I didn’t but it will be become one of my new fun facts.