The Delaware horse racing industry is near and dear to my heart so I was very interested in the Horse Racing industry lecture by Mark Davis. To me the most interesting thing was part was that the drivers only make 5%. I personally have a friend that is a drives horse at dover downs, Harrington, Rosecroft and ocean downs and learning that he only makes 5% of the winnings was an eye opener. The fact that 46% of people who own horse have an income between $25,000 and $75,000 really amazes me. I fall into this category but it still surprises me that so many people who own horses fall into this category especially since most people own more than one. Knowing the cost of feed and upkeep its surprising how many people can afford to keep horses in that salary range. It was even more shocking was the statistic that less people own horse with an income of over 100,000 a year than the number of people who own horse who make less than $50,000 annually.
Ed Kee’s lecture was one of the most impactful lectures. His use of information along with pictures really stuck out in my mind. While I loved seeing the great statistics about the large amount of farm land that is permanently preserved I was very sad to see how much the number of acres and farms have decreased since 1978. One of the most important parts of is lecture I feel is the challenges the agriculture faces. One of the biggest struggles for farmers is keeping everything profitable. Promoting the best technology and practices is very important as well to ensure profitability and efficiency as keep them in the good eye of the public. My favorite part of the lecture was all the black and white photos. It shows the difference between the past and the present and show how far technology has come. The difference between in technology and mechanical advancements is amazing.
Dan Seversons lecture on Delaware’s Livestock industry was very informative. I have been around parts of the Delaware livestock industry for the past few years from helping family friends raise steers, pigs and goats to showing my own pig at the Delaware state fair for two years. I was very impressed with the impact the beef industry has in the state of Delaware. I feel as if many of Delaware’s livestock industry’s get over shadowed by the poultry industry so I was great to get some info on the other industries and find out the goats actually have a few different markets in the state. One thing that really surprised me was that the goat meat market is more than triple the amount of money that the daily dairy industry does. There are several family owned and operated creamery’s in the state so I was very shocked when I saw that the dairy industry is so small in the state. Even though we are such a small state I know of many dairy farms so this number really was a surprise to me.
The Delaware’s green industry guest lecture by Tracy and Valann was very interesting. I had no idea there was a difference between floriculture crops and nursery crops. I also found it very interesting that a local store that I had been to many times had their own brand of flowers called the Proven Selections and they could be found in other local stores. It was very interesting so many of the stores I had visited with my grandmother as a child pop up during the presentation. One of my favorite parts of the lecture was hearing about the way they are managing some of the medians of highways. I would have never thought that minimal management would have been so beneficial. The benefit of preventing crashes by slowing down vehicles was a great concept to me. I love the idea and I also think the natural look or letting the plants and grasses in the median grow is an appealing look. There were many new things that I learned about Delaware’s green industry that I learned in this lecture that I hope to share with others.
The trip to Hoober’s was probably my favorite field trip I have ever been on. I have many friends who have gotten the chance to use the precision ag technology for work so It was an amazing experience to not only be able to drive a tractor but also use the auto steer. My second favorite thing about this field trip was learning about the use of drones in the field of agriculture. It may not be the most common piece of precision ag technology like the yield monitor but it is one that saves farmers money and time. They allow farms to find a problem without personally going out and checking acre. The drones advance technology makes them very accurate and the changes in regulations has made them more accessible to many. I found it amazing that something that can be used so many things outside the ag industry can be so useful to farmers.
Getting a behind the scenes tour of Fifer’s Orchard was a great experience. Growing up in southern Delaware I have been to the farm for many events in years past and my family has frequently bought produce and other goods from the store. One of the things that shocked me the most was that sweet corn was one of their biggest money makers. When I think fifers I think pumpkins and fruits, I wasn’t really aware they grew corn let alone that it brought in a lot of money for the company. I was also unaware of their CSA program. This was probably the most exciting part of the field trip for me because I really enjoy using fresh produce to cook meals but with being at school sometimes it’s hard to get ahold of. I plan on being part of the Delmarva box program this coming year, and I’m looking forward to trying new recipes with new ingredients.
The Cartanzas Farm field trip was an eye opening field trip to the truths about the poultry industry. I was unaware of the level of biosecurity that goes on at each poultry farm and how each visitor must wear proper PPE to insure that no disease or contaminants are brought on to the farm. Since this field trip I have also noticed many poultry farms in the area having no visitors or no entrance signs outside their drive ways; which no makes sense due to us having to wear proper PPE and to keep the farm safe. I found it very interesting to see the changes that had to be made for the chicken house to meet organic standards. When we first arrived I would not have known those were key components to growing organic chickens until we learned that windows and doors to grass fields were all required to grow organic chickens. My biggest take away from the poultry farm field trip was the misconceptions that many associate with the poultry industry. I found it sad that pictures couldn’t be taken inside the chicken house because people would edit or perceive them in the wrong way due to lack of knowledge.