On October 21st Dan Severson came into class to talk about the livestock industry in Delaware. He began by talking about farms in general in Delaware. specifically he talked about the size of Delaware farms. Around 40 percent of land in Delaware is farmland and around 98 percent of farms are family-owned, Then he moved onto to talk about the livestock industry in particular. He talked about how Poultry is becoming more popular while other types of meats are becoming less popular. After going in detail about each of the more popular types of meat he shifted to talking about dairy production. Dan compared how production differs between different size farms, one big difference was how the herd size increases for larger farms. At the end, he talked about how marketing and labeling can deceive consumers. He spoke about finding products in the grocery store labeled as non-GMO when the products don’t contain ingredients that could be GMOs.
On October 16th Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak came into class to talk about the green industry. There are two different groups of crops in the industry, Floricultural and Nursery. Floricultural crops include potted flower plants, garden plants and foliage plants. Nursery crops include evergreen tress, flowering tress and Christmas trees. Floricultural crops are focused on small decorative plants where as nursery crops are focused on trees. Landscapers use the green industry to get tress and plants to decorate areas. Golf Courses use tress and grass supported by the green industry. Greenhouses are used in the green industry because of how they help control watering, temperature, and diseases.
On Saturday October 12th the class took a trip to Hoober equipment in in Middletown, Delaware. We got a tour around the place starting with their office. in the office we see an entire wall of binders for manuals for different pieces of equipment dating all the way back to the 50’s. Then we got to go into the repair shop and see many different pieces of equipment up close and taken apart. we saw many different pieces of equipment such as combines and tractors. after touring around the repair shop we were taken outside where saw a large planter close up. later we were given the option to ride in three different large tractors. It was fun to get into such a large vehicle and drive it around. Finally we returned to the shop and were offered a free hat. In the end it was cool to see so many large pieces of equipment up close and learn about some of the mechanics of them.
On Wednesday October 2nd James Adkins visited our class to give a lecture about irrigation. He showed us pictures of various irrigation systems used around the world. James showed us that 68 percent of irrigated land in the world is in Asia. Then he began to focus on irrigation in the U.S. and Delaware. 30% of land in Delaware irrigated. for a while he went into detail about the irrigation used in California and how so much water is needed for the entire state. Later he began to talk about the technologies and formulas used to help determine how much water is needed for crops each day. He went into detail about how sunlight and humidity make a large difference on how crops take in water which affects how much water is needed. Another important factor is the soil in which the crops are planted. different soils can take in water at different rates and so they help provide for plants in different ways.
on Wednesday, September 25th The former secretary of agriculture Ed Kee came to our class for another lecture, this time about agriculture in both Iowa and California. He talked about how Iowa produces such a large amount of corn and soybeans. Iowa has advantages over other states because of its soil and high rainfall that allow for corn to be grown very easily. He also talked about how 9/11 affected agriculture in Iowa. Regulations placed on ethanol after 9/11 allowed for more corn grown in Iowa to be used in ethanol. After talking about Iowa Ed moved on to talk about California. He claimed the most important part of California agriculture is water. Because water is so expensive there farmers have to choose crops that will be efficient in terms of water use. Later he went on to talk about the massive economy of California which ranks 10th in the world.
On September 28th the class took a trip down to Fifer’s orchards where we got to see in person the different techniques used to grow many of the different crops on their farm. We were taken on a tour of our bus around the farm with various different stops. On our first stop, we got to see the machine used in center pivot irrigation. On the next stop, we went to their strawberry fields and saw the raised plastic bedding they use to help with temperature control. afterward, we traveled to the storage center where we saw their loading facility where their products are loaded onto trucks and sent to their buyers. Then we entered the very chilly fridge where are all of their harvested crops are held at a much cooler temperature than the outside. in the end, it was a cool trip to be able to see many of the different techniques used to help with crop growth in person.
On Monday, September 16th the former Secretary of Agriculture, Ed Kee, came in and spoke about Delaware agriculture. He referred to Delaware as the “Food Shed” for the eastern United States. Because of Delaware’s location on the east coast, it is 8 hours from a third of the U.S population, which allows food grown here to be easily transported to a large number of people. He then went on to explain some of the history of agriculture in Delaware. Early on there was a large amount of canning of fruits and vegetables. specifically tomatoes were being canned in overwhelming proportionally with around 90% of canning in Delaware being tomatoes. Eventually, the canning industry left because of the high costs and in its place the poultry industry emerged and became a 2 billion dollar industry. Along with the growth in the poultry industry, corn farming became larger and the two of them together made up a majority of Delaware agricultural revenue. Ed then started to speak about how the population of the earth is expected to reach over 9 billion by 2050 and how important Asia will be with the changes that will be made to feed this population.
On Wednesday, September 11th Mrs. Michele gave our class a lecture on the importance of branding yourself. She discussed the need for public social media profiles that portray the image of a professional and hardworking individual. It was also pointed out that these social media profiles should have good bios that help to tell people who you are and what you do. A very important point she made is that nothing ever comes off the internet, it is always saved somewhere even if you delete it. She stressed that anyone can see what you have posted online and how that can cause problems if someone searches for you online and finds images or posts that paint yourself in a negative or unprofessional light. The way you act can change the perception others have on you and behaving in courteous and professional ways can create a positive image of yourself in their head and be helpful in potentially earning a job or other similar scenarios.
On Monday, September 9th Ms. Georgie Cartanza stopped by to give a guest lecture. She mostly spent time talking about the ways that poultry farming has changed over the years as well as how the perception the general public has on poultry farming differs from the reality of what is going on on farms. She showed us an image of the size of chickens from decades ago compared to chickens from the current day. She claimed how the media portrays these drastic changes as the effects of pumping the chickens full of steroids and hormones when in reality these changes have come from decades of improvements in genetics and nutrition. The economic effects were also touched on. She claimed that for each Poultry industry job created 7 more jobs in the community are also created. On top of that, she talked about how different regulatory groups place different regulations and requirements on poultry farms that can make it much more expensive and economically challenging to run a poultry farm.
On Saturday, September 7th I took a field trip to a poultry farm. It was interesting to see how these farms operate and the different technologies used up close and in person. One of these technologies was a large composting machine. This machine was a large tube-like structure where composting materials could be placed inside and then easily rotated for an efficient composting process. I also got to see what was happening inside the chicken houses. There were fans, vents, windows, and heaters all placed throughout and controlled through the main system to keep the temperature of both the chicken house and the chickens consistent and healthy. While there I also learned about the sacrifices and changes that need to be made in order to be considered an organic poultry farm. These sacrifices such as the avoidance of using antibiotics make poultry farming more expensive and more difficult for the farmers, however, consumers are pushing for these changes as they are perceived as more humane and healthier for the chickens. It was a lot of fun to be able to see where some of the food I eat actually comes from in person.