Category Archives: Guest Lecture

Delawares Green Industry

After listening to this lecture many students may have developed a green thumb. Mrs. Tracy Wootten and Mrs. Valann Budischak spoke to the class about Delawares green industry.

The Green Industry includes producers, retailers, landscapers, land managers, golf courses and suppliers. Its incredible that horticulture product sales in 2014 were $21,774,000, with Containerized being number one in nursery production at 62.4%. We learned their are two crop groups in the industry including floriculture crops which include bedding/garden plants, cultivated greens, cut flower and potted flowering plants. Nursery crops include broadleaf evergreens, shrubs, Christmas trees and fruit and nut plans.

Delaware Nursery & Landscape Association was a nonprofit organization we learned about that works to advance the common interests of its members and to promote the use and enhance the quality of the products and skills of the green industry.

I found this lecture to be very interesting because it shows how many jobs are tied to the green industry.

The Horse Racing Industry

Growing up with grandparents that owned racehorses I loved going to Harrington to watch them race. While its not as popular today Horse Racing used to be a huge industry in Delaware. Mark Davis spoke to the class about how the horse racing industry has changed overtime and the economic impacts on Delaware. Horse racing is actually one of the oldest sports and was brought to America by the British.

Mr. Mark Davis talked about the different types of horse racing, Thoroughbred and Harness racing. Harness racing is much more common with about 2300 races a year compared to only 600 a year for Thoroughbred.

Horse Racing has about a $182 million impact on Delawares economy. It also supports about 1540 jobs. The horse racing industry is another great example of careers in agriculture and animals. I throughly enjoyed this lecture because it was a topic I didn’t know much about except for watching the sport growing up.

Importance of Irrigation

While most people may be driving down the road and use the spraying irrigation as a car wash, they may not realize the importance of irrigation to agriculture. Mr. James Adkins spoke to the class about the different systems of irrigation especially in different climates and places around the world. He started by showing us how irrigation has changed overtime and how new advancements have made irrigation much more successful. He even gave us a very important tip of not parking our cars in the wheel track of irrigation unless we want a crushed car.

I found it very fascinating when Mr. Adkins explained how 1 million gallons of water is used by 100 acres of corn in one day during pollination. One day!!!! This shows how important water is to agriculture. Irrigation has a huge impact especially in Delaware since our soils do not hold as much water.

My garden is agriculture?

Before our lecture by Ms. Wootten and Ms. Budischak, I had never considered gardening or landscaping to be a part of agriculture. Many people may consider their only involvement in agriculture to take place in the grocery store, however our roles in a branch of agriculture known as the Green Industry are in closer proximity than we may realize (in fact, right in our backyards!). Based on what and how a person plants and landscapes, his or her backyard can not only look great, but also support the local ecosystem and environment. Simply planting one oak tree can support up to 534 different species of butterflies and moths, which in turn supports the avian population in the area and then extends further up the food chain.

The University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension department and Botanic Gardens staff work towards educating both students and the community about facts to better develop our land and plants/crops. The Green Industry includes producers, retailers, landscapers, land managers, golf courses, and suppliers. Each aspect of this industry plays an important role in sustaining our environment and also helping it to look great, too!

Delaware’s Green Industry

On Monday Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak gave a guest lecture on Delaware’s green industry. They had an abundance of knowledge  on the industry and were very passionate about it. In 2014 the horticultural product sales were $21,774,000. The green industry encompasses producers, retailers, landscapers, golf courses, suppliers, equipment, etc. We learned about the species native to Delaware and how through modifying species, non-native crops can be grown here as well. It was very interesting to learn how specialized most landscapers are because of how many services fall under landscaping. They also taught us more about the Master Gardener Club, which is a group of people, mainly retired, who are interested in gardening and receive free training from the university, to go help people who have questions about their gardens. It was amazing to see how big the green industry is in Delaware.

Ed Kee’s Guest Lecture on Iowa and California Agriculture

Mr. Kee gave a very insightful guest lecture on Iowa and California agriculture, which are the two biggest agricultural states in the U.S. Iowa is number one for corn, soybean, pork, and egg production. 85% of Iowa’s landmass is used for agriculture, about 30.5 million acres, with 87,500 farmers! 92% of Iowa’s cash farm income comes from corn, soybeans, pork, and beef. Iowa grows about 13 million acres of corn, about 2.5 billion bushels.Iowa grows about 9.8 million acres of soybeans, about 553,7 million bushels.  They produce 968 million dozen of eggs, and raise 20.9 million hogs, 32% of the nations pork production.  The owner of Stine Seeds is located in Iowa, which is the largest family owned seed company. Harry Stine developed the soybean genetics that accounts for 63% of seed in North and South America. Iowa is also recognized for its hand in ethanol production and the 15%  that is now incorporated into gasoline. California is the biggest agricultural producer ranking first in Milk & cream, almonds, grapes, lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, flowers, walnuts, and hay. California’s biggest problem is water, which they get from snowmelt. Farmers have to grow crops that will at least return the cost of water.  They export 26% of their ag products, valued at about 21 billion. California is the 10th largest general economy in the world. They can produce strawberries 9-10 months out of the year, where most states have a very short growing period. 95% of processed tomato products come from California, where they have mixed breeds to create a crop that can be mechanically harvested. It is unbelievable how much knowledge Mr. Kee possess about agriculture and how much he has impacted Delaware agriculture during his time as the vegetable extension agent and as Delaware’s Secretary of Agriculture.

Delaware’s Agriculture – Ed Kee

When people think of Delaware, there are usually two thoughts that first occur: “DelaWHERE?” or “The beach!” However, neither of these thoughts consider Delaware’s #1 industry of agriculture, which greatly contributes to our nation’s food supply. Delaware’s former Secretary of Agriculture, Ed Kee, made sure to clarify this fact for our class, informing us that Delaware first and foremost is an agricultural state. In fact, our little state of Delaware can reach 1/3 of the entire country’s population within 8 hours, allowing Delaware to be a “food shed” of the east coast! A food shed simply means a region or area that produces food for a certain population. As we all know, Delaware is a major poultry producer of the United States. In addition, though, Delaware is also able to produce and sell vegetables (processed or fresh) up and down the east coast, and of course locally. Lima beans are Delaware’s #1 crop, holding the most acreage. Within Delaware alone, there are three main processing companies: PicSweet, J.G. Townsend, and Hanover Foods. These processors utilize crops from over 41,000 acres and providing 2,400 jobs in our community. By processing the crops produced, such as lima beans, sweet corn, peas, and pickles, the agricultural industry is enhanced. Processing crops allows for added crop diversity, more jobs for the community, and overall a stronger agricultural economy!

Ed Kee’s lecture on Iowa and California Ag

I found Ed Kee’s second lecture to be just as interesting as his first. He again touched on agriculture, but this time, on states I have never visited: Iowa and California. It was interesting to find that they are the two largest agricultural states while they are vastly different. For example, in Iowa there is more rain, rivers, and aquifers, while in comparison, California is quite dry, has lowered water tables, and depends on snowmelt. They also have completely different exports. Iowa, like Delaware, exports mostly corn, soybeans, and meat (in this case beef and pork). California, on the other hand, exports mostly horticulture crops, milk & cream, and almonds. From this, we can really notice how climate and soils affect what can be produced some place, even with the use of fertilizers, chemicals, and GMOs. Technology is a major factor but the climate, soils, and diseases will usually rule what can be planted, produced, and sold.

Ed Kee’s Lecture on Delaware

As a Pre-veterinary and Animal Biosciences/ Agriculture and Natural Resources double major with a minor in environmental humanities, I feel as though I have learned plenty about farming and how it works, but I have yet to really hear statistics or specifics relative to Delaware. Ed Kee’s lecture shed some light on Delaware farming and farming in general for me. For example, I didn’t know 99% of farms were family owned or that 40% of Delaware was farms. Not only that but we can reach such a large percent of the population in a decent about of time. It’s amazing to think of all the food we must be able to produce and sell to people to satiate them. I think that is an important factor to think about as the population grows and I wonder what is being done to even further this development. I feel as that Delaware will become a very important player as we attempt to feed more people as we have 40% of the state as agriculture and 24% of it is preserved, as well as being so close to such a large percent of the population.

Michele Walfred’s lecture

Michele Walfred’s lecture was both funny and informative. I really appreciated this lecture as it tied in many practical aspects that can be used in everyday life and into the future. I found this lecture the most beneficial thus far as it will be helpful for getting into vet schools, as I am sure they are doing background research on their applicants. Not only this but it will be beneficial for any internships of jobs I apply to in the coming future. It also helped to reinforce information we already know but tend to ignore/ forget about such as putting our phones away during dinner or conversations, focusing on other people, and being polite and respectful in different manners. I think we often tend to forget about those things as more technology is created, and we start to become less social. I hope to have more lecture like these in the future.

Iowa &California Guest lecture #4

Iowa and California are two giants, and rightfully so as these two are the top two in Agriculture production and value! In this Guest Lecture I learned an array of new topics and information! Starting first with the Hawkeye state, believe it or not 85% of Iowa’s land mass is used for Agriculture! Iowa’s superb moisture holding soil make it a prime state for growing a lot of corn, although this is the main crop grown, Iowa also produces a lot of soybeans, Pork, and Beef as this is 92% of Iowa’s cash farm income! One of the Most surprising facts I found from this state was that it’s the leading egg producer in the entire nation, producing roughly 968 million dozen eggs! Now on to the Golden state, California is the 3rd largest state in the entire country producing approximately $47 billion in Agriculture sales! While Iowa’s Agriculture production is all about their soil, California’s is all about their water, as it is adjacent to the coast and contains many mountain ranges and springs! California’s most abundant crop next to rice has to be the Tomato, as 95% of our tomatoes come from Cali! California’s farms have a relatively dry climate, although this doesn’t seem like a positive attribute, dry climate equates to less chance of  disease for the crops! Although it’s a relatively dry climate towards the center of the state, studies that have been conducted have shown that slowly more and more water has been produced each year!  This has helped greatly as the pumping stations found by the mountains have been able to pump out more water effectively and efficiently! So as you can see these two Agricultural Giants have tremendous production and have a lot to offer to the rest of the states in our nation!

Mr. Ed Kee Guest Lecture

I was recently fortunate enough to hear two guest lectures from Mr. Ed Kee. His first lecture taught us students about Delaware Ag and its importance to the food shed. Mr. Kee spoke about many things including that Delaware is located within 8 hours of 1/3 of the population, which puts Delaware at a high advantage even with its small size. Delaware also has 115,000 of land being preserved so it will stay farmland forever; this will allow many businesses to stay in business for many years to come. The agriculture industry has $6-$7 billion dollars of economic activity in Delaware which makes it a large commodity for Delaware as well as the Eastern United States. Mr. Kees second lecture explained Iowa and California Agriculture. I found this lecture very interesting because it put more into perspective about farming in the United States and helped me compare Delawares agriculture practices to those in other states. Iowa has great soil because of the moisture it can hold and its fertility. California agriculture is all about water and farmers grow crops to gain the most profit relative to what they pay for water. After listening to both lectures from Mr. Kee I feel I’ve gained an abundance of knowledge about not only Delaware agriculture but Iowa and California agriculture and thank him very much for sharing his wealth of knowledge with us students.