Dan Severson, a New Castle County Extension Agent, presented to our class an overview of the livestock industry in Delaware. When I signed up for this class I thought it would be heavily livestock based and to my surprise this was only the second-time animals were the main focus. Mr. Severson started out talking about Delaware farms. Did you know Delaware ranks first in the U.S. in value of agriculture production per acre? Me either! He then concentrated on the beef, pork, sheep, goats and dairy industries and went into depth about each one. Mr. Severson was extremely interactive and had an abundance of pictures to balance out the graphs and numerical data. The information I found the most interesting about this presentation was how much our livestock industry is going to change in the future. The average age of a farmer is becoming younger and younger so my generation will soon have control over what happens to the livestock industry. With advancements in technology and robotics hopefully we’ll be able to make it more efficient. As always we will need to continue to educate others about the livestock industry since the media and activists make it difficult for the industry to be seen in a positive light.
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Delaware’s Livestock Industry
Dan Severson guest lecture provided an insight into Delaware agriculture and the livestock industry. Throughout this presentation I learned a lot about Delaware’s agriculture that surprised me. Delaware ranks first in the U.S. in value of agricultural production per acre and second in value per farm. Being that Delaware is such a small state, this ranking really shocked me. I also learned that 40% of Delaware’s total land is farm land and an astonishing 29% of Delaware’s total land consists of corn and soybean crops – which makes sense being that poultry production is such a huge commodity in the Delmarva area. Severson also helped to portray the typical farm in Delaware. More than half of the farms operate less than 50 acre and bring in less than $50,000 per year. After providing a broad overview of the local agriculture, he went into depth about the dairy, beef, sheep, goat and swine operations within Delaware and a few staples from each – such as their average contribution to the economy or the common uses of each animal (ie: meat, wool, dairy products, genetics/show, etc.). I found this lecture to be one of my favorites – he was very knowledgable about each industry and provided great insight into each.