Tag Archives: Agriculture

Delaware’s Green Industry

On October 17th Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak spoke to the AGRI130 class about the Green Industry and what jobs could be attained within the industry. Such jobs could be producers, landscapers, retailers, land managers, golf courses and suppliers. There is also different types of crop groups. Floriculture includes bedding and garden plants while Nursery crops refer to broadleaf evergreens, flowering trees, and deciduous shrubs to name a few. Overall the industry as a whole composed of $21,774,000 in 2014. I never realized how big the green industry was. Matter of fact I never really thought about the industry much outside of the landscaping aspect. One of the things that I thought was interesting in the presentation was that many states are trying to raise awareness and enhance the natural landscape within their respective state. I never really noticed before but now driving home down Route 1 or heading to New Jersey for the day I see all the flowers growing along the highways. It really is great what the states are trying to do. I would like to thank Tracy Wootten and Valann Budischak for coming out to speak to our class and teaching us about the amazing opportunities within the green industry.

Hoobers Inc. and Precision Agriculture

Picture of the class with our two guides in front of a Case IH 4430 Sprayer.

Hoobers Inc. a well known agriculture equipment dealership among the East Coast is one that has seen technology change over the years. Our class was toured around the Middletown dealership by two employees that are excellent in the precision ag. field and taught us the broad history of Hoobers and what they do on a daily basis. Hoobers Inc. was first started in 1941 in Intercourse, Pa where Charles Hoober sold International Harvesters. Since 1941 the company has expanded to 9 locations covering 4 different states and continues to adapt to the new technology available to farmers. One aspect that really stands out compared to other companies today is that Hoobers is still owned and operated by the same family that means they really know and believe in their product. After the two employees taught us some history they took us on a tour of the Middletown facility where we got to see the products and services they provide to farmers.

Growing up on a large grain farm I was familiar with Hoobers Inc. and precision agriculture for my family is a huge customer to the company. However I did not realize that this company was a 3rd generation operation, which appeals to me and gives me a sense of trust towards the company. I also thought that the drone was quite interesting because while my family uses precision ag. for our equipment we do not currently take-advantage of drones. I believe this technology could save my family money in the future because we currently use two different agriculture consultant companies to scout our fields but with the technology of drones we could scout ourselves, which could possibly reduce or eliminate the scouting cost.


Delaware Green Industry

On October 17, Our AGRI-130 class has two very nice ladies Mrs Wooten and Mrs Budischak came in  and give a lecture on the green Industry and  the diffrent types of jobs you can acquire from working in that field. Also they mentioned that you never know what you are going to be getting into when you are looking for jobs. You may want to be one thing and later on down the road you find out that you want to be something completely different. Also what surprised me the most was how much  revenue was in the mark of green agriculture. And that it bring in so much money in the state. From there lecture it help broaden my knowledge on the green Industry and how everything you do can involve the green Industry in one way or another.

The Only 10 GM Crops Grown

Genetically modified crops is a very highly opinionated topic for almost all consumers and producers. Some people are strongly pulled in either direction, with very few who fall in the middle as far as anti-GM or in support of GM crops. While some of these consumers are educated on what a GMO actually is and what crops are actually genetically modified, others are not educated and can easily fall victim to false information and advertising tricks.

There are in fact only 10 genetically modified crops grown and they are: cotton, soybeans, corn, squash, papaya, alfalfa, sugar beets, canola, potatoes, and apples. An uneducated consumer would probably disagree with the previous statement, but there are actually only 10 genetically modified crops. So when a customer goes into a grocery store and buys GMO free bananas, GMO free bread, and GMO free rice, although it is free of genetic modification, there was never a chance for it to be genetically modified because GM bananas, wheat, and rice are not a thing. This concept is heavily used for marketing tactics for many products. The misconception and lack of education on what is actually genetically modified  and what is not, will continue to be the basis of many problems in the food & fiber industry.

Dan’s GMO Assignment

The controversy over Genetically Modified Organisms has become a common discussion among just about everyone in the world today. With this wide discussion there has been many false accusations toward this technology, especially around human consumption. One reason these accusations have become widespread is because people believe that every crop farmers produce are genetically modified, which is again false.  According to bestfoodfacts.org (approved by Dr. Kevin Folta) there is currently only 10 crops that are approved for production in the United States. These 10 crops include: corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya, squash, arctic apples, and innate potatoes. The three most used in the United States are corn, soybeans, and cotton because of the great demand for these commodities.

The demand for these commodities is one of the biggest reasons that GMOs were invented and with the demand ever growing they will continue to emerge. However people must understand the science behind these products and all the research that is done before a crop is approved because farmers really are trying to produce what’s best for the consumer because in fact farmers are consuming these products as well. This is what brings up the topic of agvocacy because in order for the misconceptions of GMOs to clear up there has to be a push to clarify them with scientific facts, which is something I believe is going to become bigger in bigger in everyday life.

Source: https://www.bestfoodfacts.org/what-foods-are-gmo/

Mark Lynas and GMO’s

In the beginning of the video Mark Lynas went before the Oxford Farming Conference in January, 2013 to apologize for his association with anti-GMO movements. He originally believed that GMO’s were harmful and only helped companies make more money. Therefore he started a campaign, that later became very successful, to ban GMO’s in Europe, India, Africa and in Asia. However, once Mr. Lynas took the time to actually learn the science behind GMO’s he realized that they were beneficial and as he mentioned not harmful, as there are no documented cases. He learned that with the growing rate of today’s society there would never be enough land to use for agricultural purposes to feed everyone. This is where GMO’s come in by allowing the farmer to use them, it increases the yield of products on the same amount of land previously used. I support the use of GMO’s in agriculture today.

Mark Lynas and GMO’s

Mark Lynas was one of the co-founding members of the anti-GMO’s that began campaigning back in the late 1990’s about how GMO’s are so dangerous and could be leading to the use of more chemicals in the crops now. But during the time he was writing his book he pulled a full 180 an began to relies that the dangers in the GMO’s are really not the more people have gotten sick from actually eating Organic food’s. Which don’t get treated with anything to help prevent pests or the disease in from attacking the plant. When he realized that the GMO plant’s didn’t have any backlash of people getting sick from his research and that they actually wont be spraying as many chemicals because the seeds and plants are able to defend themselves from the pests or disease.

Also he realized if we don’t continue to use these GMO’s the world will run out of food because organic farmers wont be able to keep up with the demands of crops needing to be produced. Where GMO’s are making the yields much higher for farmers that have minimal area to work with due to the increase of people in the country’s.

For all of these reasons that Mark talked about in this video he gave me more info to throw at people when they argue that GMO’s are bad and they hurt people. I can actually give evidence that Mark used it this video and back myself up. Also it keeps me still believing that GMO’s are not bad still because if it wasn’t for the crops we probably would have extremely expensive crops in the stores because there would be to much bad media behind GMO’s.

Fifer Orchard Tour

On October 6th our AGRI130 class took a tour of the Fifer’s Family farm and orchard. While on the tour we meet with one of the sons of the farm that take care of all of the fruits and vegetables on the farm, He began to take use on a tour around there whole operation from where they have the u-pick pumpkin patch to the cold fridge where they store there fruits. While  on the tour he took use along side one of his strawberry fields that they where planting as we drove by they had a group of 4 on the back of the tractor putting the young plants in the whole where the tractor put holes in the tarp. Also when we went in to the packing shed he was telling use what plants have to stay in which climates after there picked and how they hand check every apple so they make sure everything is top of the line so they can get the most profit. Then to round out the day we went into the store they have and where able to get something from there to end the day.

Irrigation lecture: James Adkins

On October 3rd In our AGRI130 had guest speaker James Adkins came in and gave our class a lecture about irrigation and the benefits and disadvantages that can come with having irrigation. In his lecture he covered a wide range of different types of irrigation systems there are from center pivots  to traveling guns to flood irrigation. The thing that interested me the most was that only a small portion of the world is irrigated and those farms with that irrigation produce the majority of the crops and food the world needs. An from just riding around here down in Sussex county all you see is irrigation in the field for crops like your corn to you sod company’s that just need it to irrigate there grass for there customers. An then most of the place the use irrigation are going to may be likely to run out of water because the aquifers wont last forever.

The Wonders of Irrigation

On Wednesday, October 3rd James Adkins spoke to the AGRI130 class about irrigation systems used in agriculture. The process of irrigating crops vastly increases the yield in a growing season. As Mr. Adkins explained, 20% of the world’s farmland is irrigated. This 20% supplies 40% of the world’s food supply! In the 1950s the center pivot irrigation was created. This became more efficient than previous methods of irrigation because it was less labor intensive. Today the pivot system is still in use, and mostly preferred. If you ever fly and look down and see the fields in the shape of circles, this is an indication that pivot irrigation is in use. Each span of this system runs about $11,000 dollars each. The average size of pivot irrigation seen in Delaware is usually about 5 spans. As technology continues to advance there might be a more effective irrigation system invented. However people are currently discovering the best way to use drones in agriculture and how to use the pivot irrigation systems to spread fertilizer. Overall, the lecture was so informative and extremely interesting. I really enjoyed listening to Mr. Adkins. 

Field Trip 2: Fifer’s Orchard

When thinking of Delaware Agriculture generally poultry and grain are the first two commodities I think of. However Delaware Agriculture is way more than that, which was something I learned on this field trip to Fifer’s Orchard. This family farm is one that is very diversified and one that heavily relies on each family member to do their job in order for the operation to be successful. I knew that produce farms were not uncommon in the Delmarva, as a matter of fact there’s quite a few but I never imagined that one farm could hire over 200 people and till around 3,000 acres of produce with occasional grain for rotational crops. This farm is unique by the variety of produce they grow and sell. Their number one crop for income is sweet corn growing around 1100 acres but strawberries and tomatoes make the most money per acre. They also produce apples, asparagus, kale, pumpkins, and peaches, which is a lot of different products per one farm, but targets a wide variety of customers. We also learned that this produce farm is not organic because without pesticides there would be no way they could be profitable because with environmental pressures such as humidity and the pest pressures they forced to spray their fields once a week. That is one thing that really surprises me because on a grain farm the crop might get sprayed at the most 3 times a year but obviously the produce industry is very different. Then this orchard is quite fascinating because they ship products as far south as Florida and as far north as Maine and everything east of the Mississippi river; which is a huge area to sell products too. In the end this field trip taught me the different processes within the agriculture industry and how different farmers make their income.

Agricultural Irrigation with Guest Speaker James Adkins

On Wednesday October 3rd the AGRI130 Class had guest speaker James Adkins come in and talk about Agriculture Irrigation. Mr. Adkins opened his lecture by telling the class that 20% of the of the world’s farmland is irrigated and that this produces 40% of the worlds food supply. One reason why irrigated farmlands play such a big role in today’s food supply is due to the fact that the world’s irrigated area almost tripled from 250m in 1950 to 700m acres in 2000. Furthermore, Mr. Adkins went on to say that the state of Delaware alone has around 150,000 acres of irrigation. This accounts for 30% of farmland. James also stated that about half of all the irrigated land in the United States use flood irrigation. Mr. Adkins explained that flood irrigation is a less effective method of irrigation than drip irrigation. Mr. Adkins then explained that a high-yielding corn crop requires anywhere from 20 to 25 inches of water, but do best with 22 inches of water. Overall this was a very interesting topic that I earned a lot of fascinating things about.

James Adkins and Agriculture Irrigation

Last week our class had the opportunity to listen to James Adkins from the University of Delaware who gave a guest lecture on different aspects of the irrigation industry. James gave a very informational lecture with lots of facts that the average person or even farmer would not know. For instance I surely did not know that 20% of the World’s farmland is irrigated and that it produces 40% of the World’s food supply. I also did not know the overall history and how many advances in the technology of irrigation over the years. Living on the delmarva I was familiar with center pivot irrigation but I did not know about the overall variety of the different irrigation systems around the World. I also learned that Asia has the most irrigation in the World and that specifically India uses 90% of their freshwater for irrigation alone. Then looking at the United States I found it very interesting to learn that in the midwest they are extracting more water from reservoirs then can be replaced, which is going to be a huge problem in the future. Overall I found this presentation very eye-opening to a part of agriculture I did not know before.