Tag Archives: Agriculture

guest lecture: Industry and Academia in Agriculture

Dr. David Mayondo lectured us about the industry and academia in the agriculture. He told us how agriculture looks like in the past. It is a job that required massive labor and time input. If you are a farmer or live in a farmer family, you may live with farm or agriculture for the whole life. But with the development of technologies, the yield and production increased and the labor and time decreased. The tools of pest management changes over time. In the beginning, farmers use hand or animal. Then it changed to machinal tools and chemical tools. Nowadays, farmers use the biological tools to control pest, like CRISPR, GMO, GWS, and RNAi. Proteins have the potential to be powerful tools for enhancing agricultural production, as well as being highly biodegradable and produced in plants that need them. There are several commercial products of biotechnology. For example, Roundup Ready Crops can allow farmer manage weeds in a more effective and efficient way, or YieldGard Corn can allow farmer control targeted pest without harming the beneficial and non-threatening insects.

UD farm

In November 2nd, 2019, my class took a field trip in webb farm and dairy farm of university of Delaware. I have been there several time in last semester, and the bad smell are so familiar. UD farm grows crops and vegetables in the field, but they didn’t serve for dining halls in main campus. The yield is not enough to satisfies the needs. But they do sell to the star campus. We saw several herds of sheep, dairy cattle and horses. UD farm even grows rice and raise bees for research. There are over 100 cows in dairy farm. They can produce 800 gallons of milk per day. Staffs use automatic milker machine to milk cows. Because of biosecurity and efficiency. And I noticed that some cows have weird “windows” in their side of body. It allows the researchers to reach inside the animal’s stomach and analyze the contents. If the cow was sick, researcher will take other healthy cow’s stomach contents and put into the sick cow’s stomach to see if it cures the cow. In the webb farm, we luckily saw 4 cute lambs. What a wonderful trip!

Guest lecture: Livestock industry in DE

In oct 21, 2019, Mr. Dan Severson, a new castle county extension agent, came to my class and lectured my class about the livestock industry in DE. He told us many features that something we know and something we don’t know of Delaware farms. To be consider as a farm, this land should produce and sell $1,000 or more of agricultural products annually, or those products normally would have been sold annually. There are 2500 farms in Delaware, and economic contribution of agriculture to Delaware’s economy is about $8 billion. Farmers’ age average are 5-60 years old. Most of farms are family farms. It is about 98%. The biggest two war in the history, WWI and WWII, affect the livestock production heavily. Over time, all type of meat, like beef, pork, lamb or goat, consumption is decreased except poultry. Sheep and goat industries play a low role in the livestock industry in the US and Delaware. They are most likely to be raise in smaller herd size and backyard.

Hoober’s Field Trip

This Field trip was very fun and I learned a lot about how precision ag is changing the way farmers do things. Hoober’s from the sound of it is where I would buy all my farming equipment. They are helpful and more important than that they are knowledgeable. Driving the tractors was very cool. The closest thing I’ve driven to a tractor was a bulldozer with a small backhoe on the back. The tractor was a lot smoother. Unfortunately, the auto steering didn’t work while I was in there but it started to right at the end so I got a little look at what was going on. It defiantly is cool how it just completely takes over and immediately starts to mark where you have been and I’m sure it would track everything you’ve harvested or sprayed. Which like professor Issac said would be very beneficial in a court case. This field trip definitely showed off this side of the industry very well and taught me a lot.

Ed Kee Guest Lecture

Ed Kees’ guest lecture was about the history of agriculture on Delmarva and the future of agriculture. I didn’t know that tomatoes were formerly the primary crop in Delmarva, or that the canning industry had a long history on Delmarva. The science behind agriculture’s ever increasing industry was the most interesting part of the presentation.

Improvements in pest management, irrigation, genetics, and many other things have been revolutionizing agriculture since 1945. These innovations have allowed a greater percentage of the population to concentrate in cities, specifically on the East Coast. On Delmarva, we have a unique opportunity to help feed cities such as Washington and New York.

The reality of India and China leading the world demographically and its implications were also stressed. With the world population projected to rise up to 9.3 million by 2050, to feed this many people agriculture must become more efficient. To cope with the logistics of feeding the world, agriculture must innovate and incorporate new technology to the fullest extent.

Mark Lynas 180 Degree Change

I think Mark is very brave to admit his mistakes and be able to embrace them and come forward to such a large crowd. I think it was almost better for him to start out the way he did because it gave him a better understanding of why GMOs were good and it also showed him why people think they are bad. So now he can help inform those people and people around the world the right way and explain it to them how he learned about it and why he changed. He makes his case by saying when he thought about GMOs he just thought about evil scientists working in a lab making up these food concoctions. He didn’t trust them because they were marketed by big corporations and had really not looked into it more than that. But, finally when he did look more into it and got more of an academic understanding of what GMOs really do and their health benefits his Anti-GMO views started to fall apart. Another point he talks about is how he thought they would need more chemicals to take care of these GMO crops when really it would take less chemicals because the plants were meant to deal with it better. He hits beautifully on how GMOs genetics aren’t really as unnatural as everyone thinks and how this type of genome mix happens in nature and its called a gene flow. Mark Lynas states his case well and does a great job at saying why he  was wrong and exactly why he was by using facts.

Fifer Orchards Field Trip

Fifer Orchards was a great field trip it was cool getting to ride around in the bus and get to see all the fields. Seeing the pivot irrigation up close was amazing. I’ve never realized just how big they really are. I also never thought about the tires going flat and the plastic tires are a wonderful idea and definitely makes farmers jobs a lot less stressful.

I wish would have been able to see the packing system working I can only imagine how efficent this machine is and he said that its really out of date but it still looks in great condition. Before we got to the  packing system we walked through their freezer which was just packed with all their different produce. The diversity of fifers crops is really amazing they have from apples all the way to kale. I also really liked their store where I got a gallon of apple cider and donuts and they were both so good. That alone was worth the little drive.

Iowa and California Agricultural Giants Ed Kee Guest Lecture

Hearing Ed Kee come and Lecture again was a great opportunity for learning. He knows so much and I found it kinda funny that he brought bacon and gave it someone. But, it did drive a major point across Iowas pork industry travels all around. I always just assumed that down in the southern areas of the country is where the pigs would be. Ed Kee set it straight pork comes from Iowa. I also never assumed that Iowa was as impactful as it was in the agricultural industry. But, It is in almost the perfect area and they sure are taking full advantage of it as they grow 13% of the United States corn all by themselves. I also would have never thought that 9/11 would have really made a difference in the agricultural field at all. But, I think that this change was a good one as it helped kinda buffer fossil fuels to not be 100% in all fuels.

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 Mrs. George Cartanza

It is so glad that Mrs. Georgie Cartanza was invited to came to our class to talk about the evolution of the poultry industry on Delmarva where produces 9.6% of national production. I learned many interesting things about the history of the poultry industry. For every 1 job in the poultry industry it creates 7 jobs in the community.  It is quite different about farm between today and past in many aspects.  Today poultry farms have automatic pan feeders,  nipple drinkers, solid walled houses and so on. Those advanced technology improve the chicken life and save time and cost for  the farmers.  Chicken nowadays can grow more fast than the past, some people may think that it is because of the hormones and steroids. But that theory is false. There is improvements in genetics, nutrition, housing and technology which cause the achievement that chicken can grow up to 4,202 g in 56 days. It is so important to be mindful of the truth behind the information edited by social media.  The information may be the one that they want people to know,  not the truth.

Building a Sustainable Agriculture

I was able to attend a seminar held by the College of Agriculture at UD where Bill Couser and Bill Northey spoke about creating sustainable agriculture.

Sustainable agriculture can be defined as sustaining, resources, and communities by promoting farming practices and methods that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.

Bill Couser is a 4th generation Iowa farmer. Bill Cowser produces corn, beef, soybeans, and ethanol in Nevada Iowa. He is the owner of Couser Cattle Company. The farm has grown from accommodating 50 beef cattle in the early 1900s to accommodating a couple thousand beef cattle.  Couser, just like many farmers, stated he tries to farm in a renewable, sustainable, environmentally friendly, but yet profitable way. He promotes sustainable farming because he wants to give the generations to follow nutrient rich, well managed, profitable land. To be sustainable Bill Couser has implemented various systems to control runoff and nutrient leaching from his feedlot, uses more cover crop coverage, practices no-till methods, and produces multiple commodities from a single crop. Bill Couser stated that the biggest challenges he is facing as a farmer are social media/ the media attacking agriculture without the truth behind the actual practices being used to grow and produce crops and animals. Overall it was great listening to Couser speak about sustainable agriculture.

Building Sustainable Agriculture – Bill Couser and Bill Northey

I was able to go see Bill Couser and Bill Northey speak about creating sustainable agriculture. Although I had to leave early due to an evening class, I gained a lot of knowledge about production agriculture in Iowa from Bill Couser.

One of the big points that stuck out to me from Couser was the fact that he said he tries to farm in a renewable, sustainable, environmentally friendly, but yet profitable way. Although this is pretty much commonsense, his reasoning for doing so is what stuck out to me. He wants to not only promote sustainable farming in general, but most importantly he wants to give the generations to follow nutrient rich, well managed, profitable land. Throughout his presentation you could tell that all the different management methods he has put into place since the 1930’s has been made to do just this. Putting in place different systems to control runoff and nutrient leeching from his feedlot, implementing more cover crop coverage on his land, practicing more no till methods, and also producing more commodities from one crop are all practices he has incorporated to better off his operation which ultimately will better off the upcoming generations. It interesting to see how leaving a productive farm goes hand in hand with environmental stewardship/sustainable agriculture. This is something I see in my operation at home, as I am getting older I see these little management decisions my dad makes to continue to create a sustainable and profitable farming operation. I also really enjoyed his comments on trying to control, or lack there of, the weather as a farmer. Weather is a continuous battle that farmers face.

Overall it was great listening to Couser speak about sustainable agriculture and see how even in Iowa, the concepts still hold true for farming in Pennsylvania. I always enjoy seeing how different operations run and the different systems they have in place.

Horse racing industry

Horse racing is one of the oldest of all sports that have taken place in the United States but there are even fewer that basically have had no change over the years they have been around.  On October 24 Mark Davis came into our Agri130 class and gave us a lecture on horse racing in Delaware with some history behind it. The thing that really surprised me was that the First harness race at Dover Downs in 1969 and I wouldn’t have even thought that they have had race there because I only known of the race track at Harrington. But that where I have watched all the races that I can remember. An how much income the state brings in from the horse race each year even though that the industry is slowly falling.

Livestock industry in Delaware

On October 22 our AGRI130  had Dan Severson come in and give a lecture on the livestock industry of Delaware. And how important livestock is to the state of Delaware. Dan talked about cows, sheep, pigs, goats and dairy with brief discussion on each animals info and what they are used for and what the income per year they are averaging.  From this the most surprising thing that I took away from the lecture was when he began to talk about how the dairy industry is just plummeting. And giving my fellow class mates the idea what dairy farmers are dealing with an what they have to do to over come there  circumstances. Also what I took away from his lecture was how many other livestock animals there are in Delaware.

Hoober shop tour

When we went to the  Hoobers it was really eye opening to see how much work goes into precision agriculture. And how much everything cost through equipment and how much things have changed for the good of farming. Between farmers and techs at hoobers where the tech can actually enter the computer from his office instead of riding out to the field. To see what’s wrong with it most of the time also they can fix certain things through the computer.    What I enjoyed besides the driving the sprayer which I never drove before. Was walking through the mechanics shop and how much time and efforts they take in making sure everything is up to par before people by them from Hoobers. Also with the gps in the tractor and sprayer that we got to drive was cool you could press one button and hook on to the preset track and the auto steer would kick in and you didn’t have to touch the steering wheel.