Our last field trip was close to home, the UD Farm tour! We spent the day learning about what the University of Delaware had to offer its students and community. Scott Hopkins, the farm superintendent, guided us on our last tour. Although I have been on the farm many times before, I learned many new and valuable things that we’re doing at UD. I never knew that we were growing hops and rice patties, so that was an interesting fun fact to learn. We toured both the main farm and Webb farm, with the day ending at UDairy Creamery.
My favorite part of the day was when we got to enjoy our ice cream while watching our classmate put on a fiddling concert. Max nailed the performance and it was a great way to wrap up our final field trip together. Overall, our forth field trip was very educational and a lot of fun!
On Saturday, October 20th we visited the Hoober shop in Middletown, DE. The day was full of learning, and receiving experience many of us have never had. First, we learned about the company, including it’s history and services. After understanding what the company provided, we toured the facilities and saw the shop. Tractors and spreader were being worked on, and we also looked at some combine and harvesters. While all of this was great, the best part of the day was riding the tractor/sprayer. It was intimidating at first, but once you got the hang of it, it was smooth sailing. We also learned about drone usage in agriculture, which actual requires a state permit to operate. Overall, the day was filled with fun and learning, and each student gained a valuable experience in precision ag.
On Saturday, October 6th, the Agri130 class visited Fifers Orchards in Camden, DE. The tour was filled with excitement as the annual Fall Fest was underway. On the tour, we learned about the overall process of the farm, and what kinds of produce they harvest. Corn, pumpkins, peaches, and apples were some of their most popular items. The U-pick operation included apples, peaches, and a pumpkin path. We found out that Fifers also does a Community Supported Agriculture club, allowing them to receive a cash advance during the off-season. A challenge Fifer’s face is finding a right balance within the work force. Many jobs are required to be seasonal, because most crops don’t grow in the winter. With that, they also need to employ more part-time than full-time workers, which makes it a challenge to find qualified candidates. Fifer’s seek retirees and students to fill many of these positions, and says they make great workers.
Overall, Fifers has made a great name within the community and it was a great field trip to be apart of.
James Adkins visited the University of Delaware to give an overview of Irrigation systems used across the world. His guest lecture filled the students in on important features and systems of irrigation. It was interesting to learn some old and foreign ways of the process, with the addition of modern technology used in the United States. Tripods and related technology is currently what many farmers use. It is not the most efficient when it come to water run-off, and it does a good job at getting the land watered. Another method involves drip pipes. These pipes can be installed into the land and waters the soil when needed. As Dr. Isaacs let on, this option is very time consuming and labor-intensive, so it can be a burden for farms with larger acreage. The next things to hit the scene included GPS and Drone technology. In our lifetime, James Adkins predicts almost everything “irrigation” will be automated. Yet another intriguing guest lecture, and another avenue for CANR students to look for employment.
After visiting the University of Delaware for a second lecture on agriculture, Ed Kee focused on topics in Iowa and California. Although vastly different from Delaware, these states supply a large part of their market. Both are dominating when it comes to production rates, and they are focused on environmental efforts.
Iowa ranks 1st in corn production with 8.5 billon dollars in economic activity. Although most of this crop is used as produce and feed, Iowa is the leader in corn produced for ethanol. Corn ethanol is a better option for gasoline as it is a renewable energy source. The state actual produces 25% of the nations ethanol reserve.
California is one of the largest players in American agriculture. They average 47 billon dollars in sales, which makes them first in the nation. California produces the most milk and cream out of all other commodities. Another interesting note is that almost 95% of the nations tomatoes come from this great state!
Ed Kee presented us with yet another great lecture. It’s interesting to learn about other states agriculture which give us a well-rounded overview of the U.S. agriculture market.
On Saturday, September 22nd the class went on a field trip to the the Cartanza organic chicken farm. The experience was helpful in gaining a real-life look at how a poultry farm operates. To start, Georgie Cartanza gave us a brief overview of the production process and structure. The chickens on this particular farm stay on location for five weeks. During this time, they are preparing for the end stage of the production, processing. When the time comes to ship out the birds, it takes approximately five hours to catch each house. The workers do this by hand because it is the most efficient, stress-free option for the chickens.
The Cartanza family grows for Coleman, an organic integer that is apart of the Vertical Integration system. Raising organic birds is much different than conventional routes. First off, all chickens must have access to the outside. While we were on site, you could see approximately 15 hatches that lead outdoors. Consumers like the idea of their protein seeing the light of day, but in reality few birds seek the outdoors. In addition to outdoor access, organic farmers provide ‘toys’ for their animals. These objects help in keeping the chickens happy and entertained throughout their stay in the houses.
The visit to the Cartanza poultry house was very educational and entertaining. With that, I cannot wait what we will learn on our next field trip!
Ed Kee, former Delaware Secretary of Agriculture visited the University of Delaware to give a guest lecture. He discussed how Delaware is a food shed, and provides nutrients for many of our northeastern states. Delaware excels in lima bean, corn, and poultry production (just to name a few) which helps us in the ranks when it comes to economics. Being a food shed state, it’s no wonder why agriculture is our first industry. In addition, Ed Kee talked more specifically about transportation and storage.
Canning food seems like its been around for centuries, and it has! Mr. Kee talks about how preservation started as a contest, and its something we have been partaking since then. The original process involved setting the food on fire in glass containers, and letting it set to cool. At the time, people didn’t know why this worked, but it found to preserve the food longer nonetheless. Canning has allowed the Delaware agriculture industry to grow even further. We now have a system that can allow our crops to last longer, and travel further.
Social Media is huge in pop culture, but it’s also making an difference in the professional world. On September 12th, 2018 Michele Walfred gave a lecture on the importance of creating your own brand. Some advice Ms. Michele gave us was to keep your profiles consistent throughout different platforms. Using the same photo, tag line, and description can help employers and followers easily recognize your brand. If you post about issues on agriculture and then share an unrelated meme, this could discredit your validity.
Social Media can not only help you professionally, but it can allow people to Agvocate. “Agvocating” is a term that essentially means advocating for agriculture. It’s something that all students at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources should take part in, but there were some tips Ms. Michelle provided us. The first is to find a common ground. Many people can be mislead about agricultural topics, so finding something you have in common can make the encounter seem more personal. Once you’re on good terms, offering knowledge and an explanation on certain topics can help people understand the truth behind those false claims. Overall, its important to know that each person holds a unique brand, and we can use that brand to make a difference in agriculture!
Georgie Cartanza presented a guest lecture about the Delamarva poultry industry on September 10th, 2018. From this, the class learned about the importance of poultry production in this area, as well as a synopsis of how the process works. One interesting fact that she shared with us was how chicken was considered a luxury meat until after WWI. Since then, poultry companies adopting a vertical integration system has helped make the protein more widely accessible and affordable. When a company is vertically integrated, it means that they own several (if not all) of the production levels. Taking Purdue as an example, they would essentially control the hatchery up to the packaging and transportation. Vertical integration is key when it comes to the poultry industry because it can ensure that consumers are getting a safe, affordable product.
In addition to partaking in the VI system, Delaware is a leader when it comes to producing chickens. Sussex County is the number one broiler producing county in the entire country. Not only is agriculture our states first ranking industry, poultry accounts for 70% of that figure. Although Delaware is small, the poultry industry proves that the first state is a leader when it comes to agriculture.