Dr. David Mayondo spoke to our Understanding Today’s Agriculture class on the advancement of technology in agriculture. He talked about how agriculture in the past was a very hands on and labor intensive career. Over time farming has advanced in all areas putting technology in the forefront of the industry. One of the biggest advancements are in the area of biotechnology and GMOs. Dr. Mayondo spoke about the different characteristics found in GMOs like round up ready and DroughtGard Corn. He also spoke about gene silencing in corn to help defend rootworm. Rootworms attack the root of the corn plant causing nutrient deficiencies and harm to the structure of the crop. With the ability to defend the crop from harmful pest, we can produce a healthier and higher yielding crop.
On Monday, November 18th Mr. Mark Davis was a guest lecturer in my Understanding Today’s Agriculture class. Mr. Davis is a representative of Delaware’s Horse Racing Industry. He briefly discussed the history of horse racing and the difference between the two styles of horse racing. Harness racing is the style of racing were a driver is pulled in a small cart by the horse. Thoroughbred racing is your high-class racing, with a greater opportunity for winning large cash prizes. We also learned about the extremely strict regulations and how the horses and jockeys are given drug test to ensure there is no form of cheating. Many people must be involved in a horse to be profitable, this includes drivers, trainers, owners, vets, groomers, etc. Mr. Davis further explained the importance of purses in the equine racing industry. A purse is essentially the price for winning a race. The purse is then split in specific percentage and given to all the people involved in the success of the horse. I personally have never been involved with the equine racing industry, I’m glad that I had the opportunity to hear about it from an industry professional.
On Monday October 21st, 2019 Dan Severson lectured our Understanding Today’s Agriculture class and gave us an overview of the livestock industry. His presentation covered everything ranging from pork production to honeybees. In his presentation he mentioned that beef, pork, and poultry are the top three types of meat consumed by people today. Other products are made from other species like cheese and lotion from goats. Mr. Severson also spoke about the dairy industry. He covered all types of dairies such as commercial, family owned, purebred, and even creameries. Creameries are a huge part of Delaware’s agriculture, making a presence in many farm fresh produce stands.
On Monday October 16th, 2019 Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak gave a lecture to our class on Delaware’s Green Industry and its influence on our markets and state. In 2014 Delaware’s Green Industry had product sales around 22,000,000, showing an increase in sales from the previous years. This particular industry is found many diverse areas such as turf and sod, golf courses, greenhouses, florist, Christmas tree farms, etc. The presenters emphasized strongly on the benefits of a healthy lawn at your home. Having a healthy lawn helps the environment by providing a stronger filtration system for water. A yard that is well managed helps the environment by providing us with cleaner water. Having this lecture really showed my classmates and I that agriculture is more than livestock and crops, it’s found in everyone’s yard.
On Saturday October 12th, 2019 my Understanding Today’s Agriculture class took a field trip to Hoober Inc. in Middletown, Delaware. On this field trip we had the opportunity to witness precision agriculture firsthand. We spoke to employees at Hoober who informed us on the basic knowledge of precision agriculture and in the increase in technology in this industry. During the tour, our class got to experience drones and how they are used to manage fields. The class also had the chance to get behind the wheel of a self-driving tractor. These tractors use GPS to drive through the fields. They can drive up and down a field in a straight line without the operator having to focus on driving. This increase in technology allows the farmer to not over seed or spray in a field. This field trip really showed that agriculture is a very diverse industry.
On September 28, 2019 our class went on a field trip to Fifer Orchard’s main location in Camden, Delaware. We had the opportunity to see many of their farms, crops, equipment, and facilities. It was very cool to be at Fifers during their annual Fall Fest. The part that I enjoyed the most was understanding new technologies for growing strawberries. They can possible delay the growth of a strawberry plant simply by growing it in white plastic instead of black plastic. This small delay allows Fifers to harvest the strawberries later to keep them fresher longer.
On September 11th, 2019 Mrs. Michele Walfred lectured our Understanding Today’s Agriculture class on our social media presences and how we can use them to our benefit. She explained how we can have a more professional cover, simply by watching what we post on our pages. She showed us what a clean page looks like and why it appeals to businessmen and women. Our page should exhibit our school, interest, and hobbies. We should refrain from posting inappropriate photos. Mrs. Walfred also explained why topics such as religion and political beliefs can give our social media a bad image. Our presence on social media is extremely important and often overlooked by the members in today’s society.
Although I have been involved in the Agriculture Industry all my life, I’ve never had the opportunity to see the poultry industry and the amount of work it takes to manage a chicken farm. Knowing very little about the industry, I was personally amazed by Georgie and how she must pay attention to fine detail to have the best production possible. I also didn’t realize how sensitive chickens are to temperature. With an increase in technology, Georgie can give the chickens the most ideal environment for growth depending upon their age. I also really enjoyed seeing the new technology for manure and waste at her farm. The new technology composts the dead birds and manure more efficiently than if it were placed in bunks. This field trip was by far one of the most educational and eye opening experience I have ever had.