Category Archives: Agriculture Careers


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.

Hoober Equipment Field Trip

Hoober Equipment began its business in 1941 in Intercourse, Pennsylvania. Currently, they are a third generation family business with locations in throughout Delmarva, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Hoober carries agriculture equipment from many companies, especially Case IH, Kubota, and JCB. The responsibilities that the Hoober team have are quite extensive and are not taken lightly for each employee knows that the quality of their repairs and products impact their reputation heavily. They definitely uphold their core values of integrity, teamwork and service.

Their advanced precision agriculture technology is impressive to say the least. When we were informed of the 250 thousand to well over 400 thousand dollar price of the machinery, it wasn’t easy to understand how and why people were willing to pay so much for these vehicles. Initially, I believed the size of the vehicles had to be part of the high price but, when I was explained how much these vehicles do, it was much clearer as to the importance and contribution each vehicle makes to aid in the agriculture industry. As we were going through the facility, we encountered the many different workers and observed how each did their part. Just like the equipment they provide, they work together like a finely tuned machine.




Hoobers a third-generation family owned business that is essentially a mechanic shop but for large farming equipment. They gave us a tour of the facility, where we got to see tractors, combines, planters, and sprayers. Combines in particular are absolutely ginormous – one tire is taller than me. We talked about the different attachments you put on the front to harvest different crops. We got to see some farming equipment currently taken apart because it was in the process of being fixed. They showed us their main office and there were books and binders a plenty- they had manuals dating back 50 years and claimed that even the old ones get used on the regular.

Hoobers doesn’t just fix and sell to farmers, they also sell equipment for construction purposes. We saw a Quadtrac, which moves sand for things like dune building and beach reclamation. The advantages of the Quadtrac is that it can move more sand than a bulldozer and a dump truck could do, and that the Quadtrac is relatively fast. It can drive on a road unlike a bulldozer, which would have to be loaded on a truck.

I knew that farming equipment was big- I didn’t realize how big. I knew that farming equipment was expensive- I didn’t realize how expensive. The combine alone was about half a million, but it needs the attachments too so together it can be three quarters of a million dollars. That’s more than a house which is crazy.

Fifer Orchars Field Trip

On Saturday, September 28, we took a class field trip to Fifer Orchards. Fifer Orchards is located outside Wyoming Delaware and has been in operation since 1919. Strawberries, apples, kale, tomatoes, and peaches are among the crops grown. Some of the strawberries were planted on plastic that had been painted white to spread out the harvest period. The tomatoes were planted in partially enclosed tunnels to allow them to be grown throughout the year. Overall, tomatoes are the most valuable crop at Fifers.

When asked about the viability of growing organic produce, Bobby Fifer explained that it would be nearly impossible, as it would not be financially viable. Bobby also discussed the Community Supported Agriculture program, which allows consumers to pay for produce  before it is are planted. The consumer then has access to their share of the produce once it has been harvested. The money provided by the consumer is directly invested in the planting and harvesting of the produce they paid for.

Mr. Walter Edwin ‘Ed’ KEE on DE Ag and its importance as a food shed

On September 16, 2019 Mr. Ed KEE spoke to us on Delaware Agriculture and it’s importance as a feed shed.  The talk began with a bit of bio provided by both Prof. ISAACS and Mr. KEE, who shared a brief synopsis of his education and his ties to the University of Delaware’s continued work in the advancement of modern agriculture.  He stated that although UD became a land grant college in 1869, it wasn’t until the 1990s, when Dean Harry HAYWARD initiates the university’s purchase of $20, 000 worth of campus-adjacent farmland, that the Agricultural department started to make great strides- with the help of Dr. Bill MITCHELL, a WW2 veteran and extension agronomist.

Mr. KEE’s eight year tenure as Delaware’s Secretary of Agriculture, and two published works on the history of UD’s Agricultural Extension and Carvel Research Center, meant he had the background to give the class an in-depth picture of Delaware farming from the Colonial Days to today- including an interesting a related anecdote into Prof. ISAACS’ ancestry to illustrate the tenacity and determination  required of farmers.

From the Revolutionary War to the early 1800s Delaware primarily exported wheat.  After the completion of the DE Railroad in 1859 and the DuPont Highway in 1924 Delaware is able to improve the ways in which food is transported, shipping produce as canned goods in water or brine.  Many canneries are built around Delaware to process vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, peaches, and strawberries, but also ‘fruits of the sea’ like oysters, employing many individuals to move shipments from one point to another.  One cannery, the Stokely-Van Camp Cannery, was an early example of early agribusiness and the thought process behind environmental accountably.  The cannery, and other processors like it, would discard bean husks and effluent directly into the canals and waterways they were built near, clogging and polluting the watershed with excess nutrients and detritus.  This myriad number of canneries, mills, and factories would decrease from hundreds, to a mere two that remain today- PicSweet and Hanover- large companies that bought up smaller ones for better brand recognition.

The processors of the early 1900s did well, but the farms that provided them with product were rarely operating at peak efficiency.  Mr. KEE, citing Prof. ISAACS family line as an example, stated that most small farmers before WW2 would barely eke out 30 bushels of corn year after year, only just making a profit, but continuing to grow anyway.  It wasn’t until after WW2, when farmers embraced new technologies such as Henry WALLACE’s Pioneer Seed Co. seed stock and hybrid varieties, that they were able to increase their yield to 80 bushels.  Similar scientific advancements occurred with poultry, dairy, and other forms of produce.

The increasingly high yields and technological advancements in agriculture have made the farming field one that requires a  consistent, regulatory environment to turn a profit.  Through increased education, business procedures and regulations, farming has improved not only for the farmer, but also the consumer.

As stated by former Guest Speaker Ms. Georgie CARTANZA and Professor ISAACS, Delaware’s unique geographic position places most of it’s farms within eight hours driving distance to 1.1 million people, or 1/3 of the U.S. population.  76% of the state is open space, with ≈2/3 of that amount dedicated to farmland- ≈800 farms.  Of the 41% of the land area dedicated to farms- a total of 115, 000 acres- a total of ≈30% is permanently reserved through the AgLand Preservation Program, which was established in 1995.  The AgLand Preservation Program is a core feature of Delaware’s Agricultural economy, providing a steady and reliable market for farmers.  Through the AgLand program, land can be given to the state for preservation in perpetuity, or sold by the farmer to another farmer so the property remains apart of the Agricultural System.

Another program Mr. KEE shared with the class was the Young Farmers Program.   Mr. KEE haunted earlier that many farms are small farms of about 30-50acres.  Unable to compete with the ‘Big Ag’ industry for a larger share of the profits, about 40% of those farmers have off-farm income generated from other jobs such as teaching, factory work, or school bus driving.  The Young Farmers Program provides $500, 000 for a  qualified young farmer at 0% interest for 30years.

In order to help farmers young and old, make larger profits, many states have increased efforts to educate the public on farming as well.  Unlike the post-WW2 farmers, many modern-day consumers tend to be resistant to the innovations made in farming.  State Universities like UD try to educate to public on current farming practices.  Such practices discussed in class included Integrated Pest Management, used to identify and target specific pest to employ a targeted and controlled response that generates as little perceived amount of environmental harm possible; the use of Center-Pivot Irrigation Systems, irrigation that can be moved and monitored remotely via a cell phone for the optimum application of water.  Many more practices went unmentioned due to time constraints, but the need for greater public education regarding agriculture was greatly emphasized.

The lecture  closed with a discussion on the cultivation of hemp and the controversies surrounding a potential future cash crop.  Hemp might be harvested for CBD oil or fibers, though its legality is still not consistent across the U.S.- particularly by the FDA as food additive.  With and uncertain future and an unidentified market, many farmers might embrace the crop from and ethical standpoint, but can’t financially absorb the costs to grow it without a guaranteed profit.  Mr. KEE spoke of a group of Hollywood investors that approach a family farm of several generations to grow 1000 acres of hemp for them to process and ship.  The farmers agree to take the risk, but only if they were paid upfront.  The anecdote served to illustrate the balance between farmers and consumers, and how consumer demand and existing markets play a critical role is what is produced and how much.



Georgie Cartanza’s Poultry Farm

On September 7th, our Agriculture class visited Georgie Cartanza’s organic poultry farm. She informed us about the Delmarva Broiler industry and how it has become far more environmentally friendly than it used to be in the early 20th century. Currently, this production accounts for 9.6% of all chicken production in the United States. That’s 605 million birds! Before we entered the chicken house, Georgie taught us how she practices proper biosecurity with accommodation of her chickens and the consumer. She showed us compost drums used when replacing litter and the organic methods she must practice under the Coleman company and debunked the myths that many of the general population believes through the media. It turns out, organically grown birds must have access to the outdoors and enrichment, and they can only be treated with naturally occurring supplements such as citric acid for their digestive health. Obviously, these birds were exceptionally taken care of from an animal welfare standpoint. Students had to put on protective gear and step in chlorine powder, not only for our safety but more so for the birds, as the potential risk of disease could be detrimental to the flock and Georgie’s profit. We were able to hold the two-day-old chicks while she covered the topic of how efficient each chicken house can be. In a push of a few buttons, she can provide the chicks with food, water, and proper ventilation to ensure they are comfortable in each house. I am very thankful to have had this experience because I didn’t know much about the broiler industry. I had many false assumptions about how the birds are treated and if the chicken I was eating was actually good for me. This trip, however, opened my eyes to the real world of organic farming, and how much care and precaution is taken when growing a live crop. Georgie set an especially good example for other farmers out there and established faith in me, that not all farming is unsustainable, and agriculture industries are consistently trying to find better ways to be more eco-friendly with their productions.

Guest Lecture 3

Ed Kee, the former Delaware Secretary of Ag, came to talk to our class on September 16th. He talked about agriculture and its history. As I am new to the agriculture industry I was surprised to hear that 30% of the farming land in Delaware is permanently protected, but the actual amount of farms we have has decreased. In 1950, we had 8,300 farms and in 2007, we had 3,546. A unique thing that the Delaware has is the Young Farmers Program. It gives money to young farmers so that they can start their own farm. It allows for more farmers to emerge so that the business isn’t dying. 

Ed talked about the history of agriculture. It started with hunters and gatherers and expanded. With new technologies like the railroad system and then the Dupont highway made for easier transport to largely populated areas in the east coast. Ed’s talk was very insightful and helped reinforce some topics that I knew a little bit about previously.

Michele Walfred: Branding Yourself and Advocating for Agriculture

In today’s society almost everyone has some type of social media. Whether it be Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, or even Linkedin, most people seem to post their everyday life. Because of this, employers have found that by browsing through applicants social medias, they will be able to gain a relatively accurate understanding of what their potential employee is really like. Unfortunately, for a good amount of people, this is not always a good thing. Most people post on their social media whenever they are out partying or doing anything in their life that’s worth remembering. During these events, individuals tend to forget that what might be appropriate at the time, can end up leading to them being declined a job or even fired. See, the issue is that most people don’t know how to properly balance being professional and having fun on their free time. In the lecture from Michele Walfred on Sept 11th, 2019, we learned the importance of branding yourself in a professional way.  It is always important to brand yourself as a reliable and responsible individual. If you go to a party and happen to be doing things that are not necessarily important for a business setting, either refrain from posting it on your social media or post it on an account that your employer can’t find. Your main account should only display things that brand you as responsible or also reflect what you are like as a person. Remember, even if it seems like not a big deal to you, to your employer  it might make the hugest difference between you having a successful job or filing for unemployment.

As for using social media in the Agriculture field, Walfred explained how it is our generations duty to tell the true stories of Agriculture. It seems that in more recent years , the Agriculture field has been portrayed negatively on social media, and the ones who should be representing Agriculture have failed to do so. Some of farmers are old fashion and don’t care to use social media to share their stories and explain to the general public what real goes on in the Ag. communities.By joining career fields in Agriculture,  such as videography, Social Media coordinator, and Ag communications, this information can be shared more openly. It is our duty to find out the truth and hear both sides of the story. If someone posts negative things about Ag., it is important to ask them why they feel that way and try to share what we personally know. And it is the same case when dealing with professional Agriculture associates. It is important to stand up for what you believe in, but it is just as crucial to know both sides of the story. Maybe then, a complete understanding can be obtained by both parties.

Michele Walfred Social Media Lecture

Our class had the privilege of Michele Walfred being a guest lecture. Her lecture focused on social media use in many different aspects. These included how social media can be beneficial for getting a job while also hurt somebodies chances at getting a job. Creating a theme among all social media platforms with a public account that uses your real name is an amazing way for employers to see who they’re hiring and gives an applicant an advantage. Posting photos that could possibly negatively harm your perception isn’t a good idea such as underage drinking or excessive parting. Furthermore, the use of LinkIn was talked about as it is a great way for networking. Throughout her presentation we were also able to hear some life advice that could be used in various different ways


On Wednesday, September 11th, Mrs. Michele lectured to the class about the advantages and disadvantages of social media, and about the strategies that we should employ in social media as young people about to join the workforce.

Firstly, she talked about how social media is a great tool for employers and employees to use in order to connect with and research each other during the hiring process; especially on certain platforms like LinkedIn. They are wonderful places to list job openings, apply for jobs, and network.

However, Mrs. Michele noted that if an employer was looking at an applicant’s profile, and they saw something unsavory, that would drastically reduce the applicant’s chance at landing the job. So, one must have caution when they are posting something online, and take into account every factor (i.e. who might see whatever you are posting, is it professional, and so on).

Finally, she mentioned strategies on what to post in order to make our image more desirable among employers. She mentioned that our picture should be a head shot, not a selfie, and that we should only post what we would want employers to see.

Guest Lecture Mrs. Michele

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.

Guest Lecture 2

On Wednesday, September 11th, Ms. Michelle gave us a guest lecture about social media and your personal brand. She talked about how we should always be careful about what we post online and that we should start to create a name for ourselves online. Twitter is a very popular site used for branding, especially in the agriculture business. 

My parents have always been very cautious of my social media presence. They didn’t let me get a social media account until I was in high school. They were always a little worried that I might abuse social media. I am actually glad that I didn’t have it until high school because it taught me to have more focus elsewhere. 

I am always very cautious about having a public online presence. It makes me feel a bit more comfortable by having my accounts private. I can choose who I want to view my content. I am very careful with what I post and how much I post. I make sure to only show the good parts of my life, to create a better online presence. I think everyone should be careful what they post, it could come back to bite them later. 

Mrs. Michele Walfred Guest Lecture

September 11, 2019, communications specialist Mrs. Michele Walfred came to our class to lecture us about social media influence in today society. Social media become more and more important, and what we post on our social media may affect our future career. Because what we posted on there is resulted to create a brand of ourselves, and many companies will check that out when they hire new employee. Mrs. Michele taught us how to make a good and clean brand. Using a high quality professional-looking headshot, 
 email with your real name, create a blog, provide thoughtful comments on public pages, never post racist or discriminatory information or comments, etc. With the rapid development of Internet, there are more and more fake news online. The major reason they existed is for ad and click-bait revenue. we should be aware of it. Because they may not just fool people, but also may lead the people who trust those lies to danger.

Ms. Michele WALFRED on Professional Leadership for Agriculture in the Social Media Era

On September 11, 2019 Ms. Michele Walfred spoke to us about managing social media.  She began with a bit of history about herself and her educational background. She was also a UD alum who wanted to major in art but switched to creative writing because the writing classes were offered later in the day and she felt she would be able to sleep.

Through a series of events that occurred while she was pursuing her education, she ended up altering her plans once again, pursuing a ‘real job’ instead of the Bohemian-style artist life she had envisioned.  She ended up at the UD Agricultural Extension office with no what the 4H program was, believing she might be working with children or seeing eye dogs.  She managed to land a position and earned her Associates and Masters, but along the way she stated, she always tried to take jobs for, ‘what she wanted to do, not what she was good at.’

It was at this point she mentioned Professor Isaacs, a professor who recognized her strengths and directed or recommended her to tasks accordingly.  Ms. Walfred also took the opportunity to go to weekend and evening events on her own volition, looking to increase her skills whenever possible.

After the brief bio, Ms. Walfred showed the class screenshots of the homepages of three of her own websites on different platforms. She noted that across all platforms, her image or headshot was the same.  She recommend we all try something similar to ‘brand ourselves’, expressing creativity through banners, but keeping our message clear on our own ‘search-able’ public sites.  She recommended any potentially controversial images or writings go on separate private accounts, but reminded us that the internet is forever and we must behave and conduct ourselves in a professional manner when putting information and images out into the great wide Web.

Ms. Walfred also stated that complete absence of any digital platform can hurt and then championed Twitter as the platform of choice. She told us that by sharing on our social media we can also champion causes and issues that we care about- an example she used was an article about the highest U.S. suicide rates occurring among veterinarians.  She then showed us a YouTube clip from a movie called, ‘A Bronx Tale’to illustrate a point about how all the ‘little’ actions matter and first impressions count.

Ms. Walfredconcluded by telling us how important social media can be for us in agriculture and to agriculture in general.  First, she stressed the importance of being an, ‘Ag-vocate’ helping the environment in different ways, such as participating in, ‘Meatless Mondays’.  She also mentioned ‘Delaware Ag Week’ and the impressive salaries of Social Media Managers at around ≈$75, 000.  She also touched on the controversy that farmers often face- citing back to Ms. Cartanza’s presentation, namely the damage farming causes to the environment.  A crowd of young males with SmartPhones will not post to their social media about how they are actively learning how not to pollute, the very thing a consumer might accuse them of.

Ms. Walfred ended on a quote that essentially said, ‘“To tell someone they’re wrong, 1st tell them how they’re right” – Blaise Pacal (Paraphrase)’She encourage us to stand up to mis-information while combatting misinformation with facts.

Guest Lecture by Ms. Michelle

I really enjoyed Ms. Michele’s lecture on social media and how it can affect your future. She explained a lot of different aspects of social media and how you want to use it wisely so you do not screw up your future. Prior to this lecture I had never thought that just a couple posts can screw up a possible career path for you. She explained how when you apply for a job the person interviewing you will more than likely look you up on the internet just to see if anything pops up, and if something does pop up that they don’t like it can sway them from hiring you and make them want to hire the other person. Even if something you had posted about or did in college, it can still affect you in the future because whatever you put on the internet never actually goes away. Ms. Michele also explained some things you can do to your social media pages to make them look more professional and make you more marketable.