All posts by mchamber

Horse Racing Industry in Delaware ~ Mark Davis

Horse racing in Delaware goes way back. Horse racing is one of the oldest out of all sports and it hasn’t undergone any changes over the centuries. In 1989, horse racing is the second most widely attended U.S. spectator sport after baseball. Over 56,194,565 people which brought in about $9.14 billion dollars attended 8,004 days of racing. This industry specifically has a $102 billion dollar impact on the US economy. In 1967 dover downs was incorporated, and on November 19, 1969 the fist DD harness race took place. There are many different regulations involved in horse racing. Horse racing is still a big part of Delaware. I would like to thank Mark Davis for taking the time to talk to us about this, it makes me want to get more involved and go watch a race with my family.

Delawares Green Industry

I have never clearly thought about the Green Industry till Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak opened my eyes about it. They told us about how many different people make up the green industry which included; producers, retailers, landscapers, land managers, golf courses and suppliers. The green industry in 2014 composed of $21,774,000. Thats a lot, I would have never thought the green industry could bring in so much. Floriculture crops include bedding and gardening plants while the others being nursery include broadleaf evergreens and deciduous shrubbery. This industry involves many different job opportunities. The economic impact in this industry is unreal, from small walk through greenhouses to Lowes the impact this industry has in general is insane. I would like to thank these wonderful ladies for the important, eye opening information.

Hoober Field Trip

Growing up all I could think about was riding with my Dad in the combine or sitting on his lap helping him drive around. Having the chance to drive a tractor again at Hoober`s really showed how highly technology is used and how its improved is amazing.

Technology being a key component on how agriculture has improved and sky rocketed over the years has really opened my eyes about the future of ag. With seeing all different pieces of technology in on piece of equipment is insane, you have every moment monitored whether it showing what you’re planting and where you did plant and how much was planted. Technology has gotten so big to the point where you can literally sit on your hands and the tractor stay on its set path. Its just mind blowing to see how everything has changed and how its improved what we do today and how fast we are able to accomplish certain things. I am happy I was able to have this experience and I want to thank Hoober for the wonderful time there!

Mark Lynas~ GMO

Mark Lynas is an environmental expert, and he had given a speech at the Oxford Farming Conference on genetic modification of crops. Mr. Lynas discovered the science in which helped him become a better environmentalist. He had wrote his first book mainly on climate change. He found that as he dug deeper into his research he was finding his assumptions were wrong, he assumed GM was dangerous; he found that it was safer and more precise. GM is just moves a couple of genes where as conventional works in a trial and error way. Different critics pushed Lynas`s writing on the topic of GMO`s. GMO crops do not require/ need as many pesticides and tend to be more successful in hot and or dry environments. He stated that producers must identify challenges and adapt to them by working with GM technology. GMO crops help in protecting the environment by being able to produce an enormous amount of product with less land. Lynas finds that if we don’t continue to use GMO`s the world will more then likely run out of food because organic farmers won’t be able to keep up with certain demands of crops needed to be produced. Though GMO`s are making the yields much higher which provide minimal work area due to the increase of population. This video helped me understand GMO`s more clearly and understand that GMO`s are not bad for you.

Fifer Orchard Trip

On Saturday, October 6th we went and visited Fifer Orchard and we got to see/ hear all the ins and outs of their operation. They farm and tend to about 3,000 acres of land, harvest many different crops. The crops that the Fifers grow include; pumpkins, apples, cauliflower, sweetcorn, peaches, strawberries, blueberries and tomatoes. They have many different whole sale buyers such as Giant and Food lion. They also do a few retail sales to little produce stands. Fifers has high tunnels that they grow their tomatoes in, in which they use drip irrigation. After every “season” they use fumigation as a roll over plan before the next season. On our tour Mr. Fifer had taken us to a couple of different fields for instance one being his kale field, and he went over showing us the diseased leaves and such. We also got to see his strawberries getting planted as well. I would like to thank Fifer for allowing us to come visit their beautiful farm!


“The functions of CRISPR and Cas9 genes are essential in adaptive immunity in selected bacteria.” This being able to enable organisms to respond and eliminate invading genetic material. It was said that these repeats were discovered in the 1980`s in the E.Coli outbreak. This function was also said that it was not confirmed until 2007.

“CRISPR/ Cas9 is a big piece of technology used in the science world and it enables geneticist and medical researchers to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA sequence.” This system consist of 2 key molecules that introduce mutation into the DNA. These are Enzymes and RNA. “Enzymes act as a pair of molecular scissors that can cut two strands of DNA at a specific location in the genome so that bits of DNA can then be added or removed” RNA “consist of a small piece of pre-designed RNA sequence”

RNA acts as a guide and it is there to help find a “bind” to a specific sequence in the DNA. RNA has things called RNA bases in which they are complementary, they then target DNA sequences in the genome. The Cas9 follows RNA, in the same sequence DNA went, and it makes a cut across both strands of DNA. During this stage the cell recognizes that the DNA is damaged and tries to repair it. Scientist use this DNA repair machinery to introduce changes to one or more genes. This system was developed when certain bacteria have a similar “gene editing system” to the CRISPR/ Cas9 system that they use to respond to invading pathogens and viruses, “much like and immune system”. This piece of technology is planned to be used routinely with humans.

James Adkins Lecture

James Adkins came in for a guest lecture on different agricultural irrigation systems and water usage. There are many different types of irrigation systems used. There is 20% of farmland irrigated which makes up for 40% of local food supply. Mr. Adkins spoke highly of technology involved with irrigation systems and how big of an impact its been, he also brought up how drones are planned to be used for certain jobs in the future. Mr. Adkins brought a major fact up in his presentation that caught my eye which was that Asia is ranked with the biggest percentage of irrigated land in the world with 68% and America running with 17%. I would like to thank Mr. Adkins for coming to class and giving and amazing lecture.

ED KEE~ Second Guest Lecture

Ed Kee gave a guest lecture on how Iowa and California are Agricultural Giants. Mr, Kee explained how Iowa is an ” Agricultural force” in the U.S. and 85% of Iowas land mass is used for agriculture. There are 87,500 farmers in Iowa till 30.5 million acres, Delaware farmers till 490,000 acres. Iowa also is ranked first in corn, soybean, pork and egg production. Iowa has very fertile soil, they also get 24 to 36 inches of rain a year.

Mr. Kee also had talked about how California ranks first in nine different commodities these in which include; milk, almonds, grapes, lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, flowers, walnuts and hay. There are 77,500 farms in California with over 25.5 million acres. California is also ranked the 10th largest general economy in the world. California also grows more fruit and vegetables because of low humidity. Also 95% of our tomato products come from California. Water in California is very limited, there water source is from the snow caps of the mountains that flow through aqueducts and run through a filter which then is distributed through out California.

I would like to thank Mr. Kee for yet another great lecture.

Georgie Cartanza ~ Poultry Farm

When we had arrived at Mrs. Cartanzas poultry farm on Saturday the 22nd, she had given us an overview on the poultry industry and what made her want to go into the industry itself. For Georgie to put her chicken houses up it cost 1.5 million dollars to just put them up, thats not including any of the other things she needed to keep her houses up to par. Georgie had invested in something called an eco drum to help with her farm.  This eco drum is a more effective way to take care of manure, with this drum it has decreased her risk of bio-security by a lot. Georgie had said that she has a big list of new things she would like to invest in for her farm which included solar panels this of course will be after she pays off her chicken houses. She also plans to use these chicken houses to help pay for her childrens college education.Georgie had told us about how chickens are such and economic impact, the value of birds sold are at $3.2 billion dollars. The annual feed bill is $997 dollars this includes, 85.4 billion bushels of corn and 35.5 billion bushels of corn.

I would like to thank Georgie for the amazing time at her poultry farm, she definitely showed me the major differences between organic and conventional and she answered all of my unanswered questions. 

Ed Kee~ Guest Lecture

Ed Kee came and gave a guest lecture to our Intro to Ag class. Mr. Kee being former Delaware Secretary of Ag gave us a lot of important information in his lecture. Mr. Kee spoke about the amount of processors in Delaware decreased over the years; he discussed also how many challenges were involved in the industry which included, promoting the best technology and connecting farmers with different market opportunities. Mr. Kee talked about the different “Mega Trends” in the industry which involved a shift in economic and trade flows, climate change, rapid urbanization, demographic and consumption changes and technology consumption.

Mr. Kee talked about how canning food has been around for years, in 1842 the first canning facility in Baltimore. Canning he said was “a new revolutionary technology”.      In 1889 there were 49 processing facilities in Delaware today we have 2 of those remaining facilities. This data is relatively the same as MD,VA and NJ. With the canning industry in Delaware allowed the Agricultural industry to basically grow 10x more, this system allows our foods to stay preserved for the long road to being put into a grocery store.

I learned a lot from Mr. Kee`s presentation and I thank him for taking the time to do the lecture for our class!

The Evolution of the Poultry Industry on Delmarva – Georgie Cartanza

On Monday September 10th 2018, we had a guest speaker come in Mrs, Cartanza to talk about how the poultry industry has changed over many years. Mrs, Cartanza had brought up how big of an economic impact the poultry industry is, she showed in her powerpoint that “the value of birds have a $3.2 billion dollar impact” with that being said there is also a lot of money that goes into feeding these birds over the 9 weeks that they are in the chicken house. This involves 85.4 million bushels of corn and 35.5 million bushels of soybeans to feed these birds on Delmarva. Mrs, Cartanza had also brought up how big our selection of integrators are on Delmarva. We have 6 big businesses that includes, Allen- Harim, Amick, Mountaire, Perdue, Tyson and Coleman Natural Foods. Having this many integrators to choose from on Delmarva is big because it gives the produce many different options because some of these integrators have certain standards/needs for the producer to do.

During this powerpoint Mrs, Cartanza brought something up that really caught my eye, which was how different Organic chicken houses are compared to “Regular” chicken houses I like to call them, but what really came out at me was that we have all of these big safety regulations for “regular” chicken producers to follow by this I mean Bio- Security. Bio-Security is so big in the poultry industry for the main reason being we don’t want these birds sick, but with an Organic bird they are able to go outside as they please, which to me is the number one way/ the biggest risk to get disease, and the first thing that hit my mind would be Avian Influenza. This is one of the biggest diseases that chicken farmers battle/prevent. Thats why Bio-Security is so important, but this is what had brought my question of “If we know that we are more at risk with letting a bird outside that keeping them inside, why do we do it”, Mrs, Cartanza responded with “Thats what the consumer wants” Consumers want to see on the label that it says they went outside… this is a topic that really hits hard with me, I plan to do more research on this topic itself.

Finally, I also wanted to bring up how Mrs, Cartanza had said how big of an impact social media has on the poultry industry. I couldn’t have agreed with her any more, that is the number one challenge that producers and integrators face daily. These consumers seem to believe these false images being put online for example, chickens being injected with hormones/ steroids or animal abuse. These images that they are seeing on social media could possibly affect the poultry industry, my question for the people that put these images would be if people stopped eating/ buying chicken, what would you do? The poultry business is done you have nothing else left? That question runs through my head constantly.

I would like to thank Mrs, Cartanza for coming to speak to the Intro to Ag class! I learned a lot, but still have many questions!