The other day, Mr. Adkins made a presentation for us on irrigation. There are so many different ways for farms to get irrigated. This is a very important topic when in the agricultural industry. Without irrigation crops and soil would be very dry and it would be hard for them to grow. One thing that surprised me was that only 20% of farmlands are irrigated and 40% of the US food source is irrigated. I though that have been a much greater number. Over this was a great presentation and I was very interested. This is a key factor in farming and everyone in the industry should be educated on it.
The guest lecture we were presented on the horse racing industry was very interesting to me. I would always watch them at casinos with my family so it was nice to learn more about them. I would go to Harrah’s in Chester close to my house. Horse racing has been around for such a long time and there are different ways they can race. People can either race trotters or they can race pacers. I was surprised to see that 46 % of horse owners have an income of 25,000 to 75,000 dollars. There are billions of horses that make this amount of money which is not that much. The oldest operating racetrack is 73 years old. This is surprising because some racetracks have been shut down because they were unable to fill slots. A big way for a horse to make a lot of money is for them to come in first place in a purse race. Horse racing is one of the oldest sports in history and is still going on until this day.
This past week our class took a trip to Fifer’s Orchards in Delaware. One of the owners Bobby, toured us around the entire farm and talked to us about lots of different crops and how they keep all of them under control. They grows lots of different fruits and vegetables. This was a very enjoyable field trip because this is the type of stuff I am interested in. He explained all of the cool machinery and how they are able to grow all their crops. Their best crop to grow is tomatoes, strawberries, sweet corn, and pumpkins. Those are their best money makers. I would highly recommend Fifer’s to anyone because it is such a friendly and fascinating place.
The other week our class took a trip to the UD farm down on South Campus. We got a tour of the cow farm and all the machinery they use for them. On this trip we were focused on more the animals. We saw plenty of them over the course of the morning. We saw how cows were milked and how the milking process could easily get messed up. Another big part of the field trip was about the sheep. The majority of them were slaughtered. There are many different aspects of life on the farm we have at UD and these animals are all used in different and unique ways. None of the ways to care for these animals is easy but they definitely are interesting.
Dave came and spoke to us today about improving the industry in agriculture. He first off started by talking about how there are multiple fields in agriculture and not every part might be for you.
Everything in life changes over a period of time. The changing in tools was a big part of agriculture. We went from hand labor, to the mechanical evolution, to the use of chemicals in agriculture which would help prevent weeds and pests, to all the new twenty first century electronic equipment. We are always developing new ways to be successful. Another big development in agriculture is Round Up. Round Up kills the weeds are pesticides near the crops to help them stay safe from bugs, weeds, ect. Decades ago, people declared that there was nothing wrong with the chemical weed killer know as Round Up. Now they are saying it could somehow develop cancer but people did research on it saying otherwise. Like life everything can change at any point in time.
Dave was originally a crop company and now they are the number one seed company. He was a chemist but then that changed too. He claims that we are the future and many things in life can change. Things that are being developed can change everything. These are beneficial changes that are helping the agricultural world.
Biotechnology serves a huge purpose in todays agricultural firm. The basics is that people are genetically modifying crops and animals to produce more for the human world. These people make slight modifications to genes which makes them better for us and the producers.
I was surprised to see how long ago people were using biotechnology in agriculture. They started using it in 1966. They adopted this technique to yield increase, save energy, and to have better pest control. Some people may like to stay organic but overall I feel that GMO’s are beneficial for everyone.
Gene editing is one of today’s biggest industries in agriculture. People have been wanting to know exactly how the gene editing is used because of course, people want to know what they are putting in their bodies.
So what is gene editing? “A METHOD OF SELECTIVE BREEDING THAT MAKES PRECISE, INTENTIONAL AND BENEFICIAL CHANGES IN THE GENETIC MATERIAL OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS USED IN FOOD PRODUCTION, WHICH CAN IMPROVE HEALTH, NUTRITION AND ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP.”
One thing that I was surprised to read about was that feeding the world is on the bottom of the gene editing priority list. I thought that would have been more towards the top.
There are many ways to edit genes. Another important one is CRISPR. CRISPR is a more precise way to edit the genetic code. To sum up this blog post, this article was very fascinating in the ways that people genetically modify our food source and could be very beneficial to our world in the future.
Today, these two very informative ladies came and spoke to us about the green industry in agriculture. I was very interested in this presentation because they taught us about sodding which is something I may like to do in the future for a golf course or sports stadium. They also told us about all the different types of plants such as perennials and yearly plants. I was surprised to hear that there were so many sales in this industry in the past couple years. Horticulture sales were over 21 million dollars in 2014. There are also so many different fields in this area such as sales, marketing, nursing crops, growing Christmas trees, and lots of plant science. I am thankful for this presentation because it gave me an idea of what I would like to do in the future.
Hoobers is a multi generational business that our class visited on the 11th of October. They have been a company since the mid 1900’s. There was a lecture about all of the equipment and a tour of the firm where we could see all the different types of machinery they use. Hoobers makes this machinery and sells it to to other farms so they can be successful in growing, planting crops, and maintaining crops.
Farming equipment is a big part of the agricultural industry. These machines are very useful but also expensive. Some of these pieces of technology are worth millions of dollars. Even though I was unable to make the trip, I enjoyed all of the pictures of students using the equipment and I wish I could have used them myself. Hoobers seems like a very successful business and is still doing well. They are doing so well because other farms need these pieces of equipment to be more productive in farming.
James Atkins presented to us how not that much farm land in the world is irrigated but it is being used more often as time goes on. I was very surprised to hear that only 20% of the world’s farmlands are irrigated. There are many different types of ways to irrigate farmlands but they mostly choose to use other watering techniques. From 1950 to 2000 irrigation expanded over 280% but from 2000 to 2010 it only expanded 10%. I am shocked by this because I feel that irrigation would be quite beneficial for farming. Nowadays we see many different types of irrigation on farms such as center pivots and mobile irrigation systems to help farmers be more productive with crop growing.
I personally believe that GMO’s are helpful for our economy in food production to feed all the people that live on this earth. I don’t think that Mark Lynas makes a good case for his change of opinion on GMO’s. I think that he is in a tough position in the money making standpoint. Mark Lynas talks about how he used to tear up genetically modified plants but now he is saying that they use less pesticides which aren’t good for our food. Lynas also now realizes that millions of people are going to bed hungry each night and now thinks that GMO’s are benefical for people because it produces more food. I have always thought they were beneficial because they haven’t been proven to be bad but now Lynas changes his mind. I don’t think he is sincere about his change in opinion.
This morning on Wednesday September 25th Ed Kee came and spoke again on how Iowa and California are Agricultural giants. California is number one and Iowa is number two. Did you know that 85% of Iowa’s lands are farmlands? They also have 87,500 farmers to till 30.5 million acres. This year, Iowa ranked 1st in soybean production. They had 9.8 million of acres. They were also ranked first in hog production with 20.9 million hogs raised annually. Lastly, they are the nation’s leading producer of eggs.
Iowa has perfect conditions to crow crops in the agricultural industry. There is about 24-36 inches of rain a year, not super hot during growing season, and it is very fertile. They also have a quarter of the nations ethanol plants which is crazy.
California is number one in agricultural sales with 47 million dollars. California has many great spots for grow lettuce, strawberries, broccoli, and other such greens because of the Pacific Ocean. Close to the ocean gives off a nice breeze which helps the crops. A bad thing about growing crops in California is water demand. The cost is quite high because the state is so large. Lastly California is ranked first in 9 commodities! Ed Kee really knew his stuff and showed us a very interesting and engaging PowerPoint. The former UD Secretary of Agriculture did a great job.
This past week former Delaware secretary of agriculture came and spoke to us about the state of Delaware and how it is one of the most popular states for agriculture. Though I was not able to make it due to an ankle injury, the power point that he presented was very engaging and informative. Delaware grew all different foods and shipped them off to other places. Delaware farmlands and acres have been decreasing ever since the 50’s. Though it isn’t too popular it is still a great field and it is needed for food. Billions of dollars are spent on agriculture and growing food to help us survive. Going into the agricultural firm isn’t all about farming. There are many other things involving advertising and building new pieces of technology to help farmers. Delaware has always been successful with agriculture and they are still going strong to this day.
On Monday September 9th, Georgie came to our class and spoke about the evolution of the poultry industry on Delmarva. Delmarva has 3 counties in Delaware, 8 in Maryland, and 1 in Virginia. They produce 605,000,000 birds a year. In Delmarva, there are multiple feeders, processing plants, and hatcheries that are all required for the health of the birds. They need to be comfortable and kept well so they can eventually be eaten by the people.
Throughout time, there have been many upgrades to the way birds were housed, fed, and kept taken care of. Before the modern broiler grow-out facilities, there were multiple housing facilities before that. The ways these chickens were raised is very different from the way they are now which is much better for us.
Georgie Cortanza owns a poultry farm here in the state of Delaware. She takes care of almost 150,000 chickens which can feed almost 60,000 people for a year. Georgie does not use any GMO’s or steroids to help her chickens grow a significant amount of meat. They are all organic chickens. On Georgie’s farm she has new technology which helps the chickens grow and mature in a comfortable environment. She raises them from when they are little chicks to when they are ready to be processed for people’s food supply.
Georgie’s chickens are worth over three billion dollars but they also require a billion on just food. She needs to do much more to prepare them besides feeding them. Every one job in the poultry industry creates seven jobs in the community for other people. Having the farm in Delaware helps a lot of people around us because are near many large cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, NYC, and even Wilmington. Georgie’s farm feeds people in all of these cities.