On Tuesday November 13th 2018 I attended the “Building a Sustainable Agriculture” speaker series. This speaker series was held on south campus in the Star Health Sciences complex. the guest speakers that spoke at this session included Bill Northey and Bill Couser. Bill Northey has a long history with agriculture, Bill was the secretary of Agriculture for the state of Iowa. He was also the president of the National Corn Growers Association. Today he is the Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for farm production and conservation. Bill Couser an Iowa farmer who tills thousands and thousands acres of land, raises beef cattle, and is a leader in adopting conservation practices that mitigate nutrient loading in streams and other waterways in Iowa. I thoroughly enjoyed this speaker session. I learned many interesting things about current agriculture methods used by farmers today. I also learned how far the agriculture industry has come in the United States. I also enjoyed the free Ice cream that was given out after the session.
During Mark’s presentation, he brought up a really important fact- Delaware has 2,500 farms which makes up about 40% of Delaware with 33% of the land in Agriculture preservation districts. This means that even if land is sold to someone new, the land will not be able to be used for building news homes because it is specifically land used for growing crops. With the number of people in our population increasing growing exponentially, it will become difficult to feed more people if land is not conserved to do so. Therefore, the importance of producing more food with the land we currently have to feed even more people demands innovation through technology. For instance, Delaware produces peas, lima beans, and sweet corn that currently yields 27,600 dollars out of the 35,600 average.
This presentation also brought up the importance of the fresh market being local and shipping (Walmart, Giant, etc..) Typically fresh market vegetables are lima beans, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelons, etc… By shipping through large brand names such as Walmart and Giant, people from within an eight hour distance can have the vegetables we have even though their area may not produce that vegetable anymore or at all. Another great source in selling food is the farmers market. At the farmers market in Wilmington DE, the grand total revenue pulled in is $155,070.00. I would also like to bring up another point in the presentation about teaching children in school about the importance of “Farm to School” which allows students to learn how to manage and produce their own vegetables through hands on experience. The benefits included: marketing opportunities, nutritional enhancement of diets, and educational opportunities. Overall, there are many aspects in the agricultural field in Delaware that I was previously not aware of and I learned a lot about how agriculture in Delaware, as small of a state as it is, plays a part in a larger picture of agriculture as a whole.