On this field trip our class had some prior knowledge to the poultry industry from Georgie’s guest lecture, but going to her farm and seeing the actually process is the best way to learn something in my personal opinion. I have experienced chicken farms all throughout my life and have had the opportunity to go into to chicken houses multiple times, but never have I seen the chickens at 8 weeks of age getting ready to leave the farm. This is one reason I really enjoyed this field trip because I had the chance to see the chickens at full age and better understand what they look like and how they act when they are full grown. I also learned a little more about the process of disposing of the mortality and I had the chance to learn about how much liter 4 houses produce a year. The ecodrum that Georgie invested in to compost her dead chickens I thought was very interesting and efficient. Then coming from a family farm where we spread around 1000 tons of chicken manure a year I thought it was interesting to learn how much her chicken houses actually produce, which showed me how many chickens are needed for my families farm production needs. Overall I thought Georgie’s farm was top quality and really enjoyed the first saturday field trip.
On September 17th 2018 Ed Kee came to the University of Delaware to discuss The Agriculture industry in Delaware. Ed began his talk by giving a brief history of the agriculture industry in Delaware. For example, In 1950 there were around 8,300 farms that accumulated about 904,000 acres of land. In the late 1970s there were 3,398 farms that took up just under 669,650 acres of land. The most recent results taken in 2007 showed that there are a little bit more than 2,500 farms and 510,253 acres of farm lands. I was amazed that the number of farms and number and acres has decreased over time. That being said, farmland still makes up 41% of the land mass in Delaware. After Ed discussed the past of the agriculture industry he talked about the future. He said that by 2050 the global agriculture would have to grow by 70% to feed the estimated 9.3 billion people on the planet. It was very interesting to think about all the possible ways this industry could change and must change in order to provide food for the increasing population size.
Delaware the first state; located on the eastern side of United States is one of the smallest states in the country, but has a huge impact on the countries agriculture economy believe it or not. During our guest lecture from former Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, I learned a lot about the small state of Delaware that I thought was quite interesting.
One thing that stood out to me was this state brings in $1.2 billion in Ag Sales annually which then stimulates $6 to $7 billion of economic activity throughout the state that is not necessarily agriculture but does have some connections. Then there is around 510,000 acres of farmland in Delaware that makes up 41% of the land in farms. Another thing that is interesting is how Delaware is focusing on preserving their farmland and trying to help young farmers start up. The state currently has 110,000 acres preserved strictly for the use of farmland and has a program called Delaware’s Young Farmer Program that helps with the transition to the next generation. This lecture really showed me that Delaware is trying to do everything they can because the world’s population is constantly growing and needs agriculture for support.
It is no secret that the agriculture industry is widely diverse in enterprises. However, agriculturists have been united by a common motivating principal: the industry must innovate in order to feed the rapidly growing global population. This idea was echoed by Georgie Cartanza, the State Poultry Extension Agent for the state of Delaware. Throughout her guest lecture it became very clear that despite various misconceptions, agriculturists have been intently working to satisfy the needs of consumers, growers, and livestock in the most efficient way possible.
Delaware’s poultry industry has not always been what is today. Ushering in the growth of the industry has been the development of associated technologies. Chicken houses were once small, naturally ventilated, and requiring of hand feeding. The chicken houses of today are now much larger, tunnel ventilated, and largely automated. The environmental control exhibited by users of tunnel ventilation allow for growers to create a much cooler, cleaner, comfortable, and healthy growing environment for the birds. Advancements made in genetics and nutrition have also allowed for increased bird size. All these factors together, the poultry industry in Delmarva is reaching new levels of productivity, while conserving economic and natural resources.
Not all consumers, however, are fortunate enough to listen to an expert of the industry, such as Georgie Cartanza, give insights on the methods of production. Many consumers make judgments on what to buy based off media reports of “factory farms” and “hormone” filled chickens. As Georgie explained however, growers do not use hormones or steroids in production at all to begin with. Additionally, growers invest significantly to ensure that their birds are comfortable and healthy. Finally, growers are required to meet various sustainability standards of production. As advocates for agriculture, it is crucial to seek out experts like Georgie Cartanza so we can revitalize the image of agriculture in today’s media.
Listening to Georgie Cartanza guest lecture in class on the Delaware poultry industry as well as her poultry farm was very informative. She touched on many different topics ranging from how Delaware became such a powerhouse for the poultry industry, specifically broilers, to how this industry has made many advancements over the years. I was very surprised as to how much the Delmarva actually produces each year, compared to the national annual production. Georgie also then touched on some of the hardships with being in the poultry industry, including the wide misconception that as farmers we pump our flocks full of all sorts of chemicals and steroids. This was something I was not surprised to hear. Coming from a farming family, I am very familiar with the poultry industry as we too raise organic broilers as a part of our business. I can very much relate with the frustration of this misconception. However, like Georgie I can also relate to the instinctive need to educate consumers as to what we actually do as producers. Georgie offered great advice as to how to accomplish this, and how to connect to your consumers. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Georgie guest lecture.
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.
During the lecture, I was very intrigued to see how technology and especially drones are incorporated into agriculture work. Watching the video about drone use in California just helped me understand the importance of emerging technology. It now only allows more efficiency and decrease the hard labor for workers and can give them more free time to work on any other important tasks. Not only are drones important but watching looking at GPS and how important it is to optimize returns and preserving resources. Farmers have to battle constant price increases and smaller profit margins and the only way to keep up and sustain a profit making farm, is to incorporate precision AG into their daily tasks. It not only helps them make more money, but it increases their quality of life, whether that be giving them more time to spend with family etc.
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.
On November 4th, my class had the privilege of meeting the University of Delaware’s Newark farms superintendent, Scott Hopkins, who led the tour for us. We started the tour with an introduction to the dairy herd that supplies us our beloved UDairy ice cream. Scott Hopkins explained that the dairy herd was the most difficult and time consuming livestock on the farm due to the amount labor, time and research that goes into the herd. I found it really interesting to see how feed studies were conducted on a herd within by the use of ID collars that would sync with a specific feed bin that granted that specific cow access to its feed. This practice helps to conclude that technology plays a major role in livestock production. We then moved onto the poultry section of the farm where he explained to us why there were so many small shed-like houses. These are used for testing immunology and virolity amongst small flocks of birds. I think that this field of research is so fascinating and important, especially since the poultry industry is huge to the Delmarva area. Next, we ventured to Webb Farm where we learned about the beef management practices, equine practices, as well as the sheep practices. Currently, the farm is tracking estrous in the ewes and are monitoring breedings and whether or not the ewes take. They track this by recording which ewes have the color coded chalk on their backs – marking a mounting by the ram – and crossing the presence of chalk with their estrous cycles. Scott was very informational and provided a lot of insight into how much work really goes into running a successful farming operation. He was well versed and had a tremendously wide amount of knowledge. I learned a lot on this trip and I hope to continue learning more about management practices throughout my time here at the University of Delaware
This previous Saturday, I spent time at the University of Delaware farm. I was so intrigued to see how this farm is able to teach students hands-on techniques in a manner that is safe and understandable. I was so amazed at the fact that dairy cows are taught where they are to feed and they are smart enough to retain that information and store it in their memories. I also really enjoyed how honest the farm manager was. He didn’t sugar-coat any type of information that we should know and made sure we knew to hold ourselves accountable for our actions. Walking through the farm was such a different experience than being on main campus. Everything is so calm, whereas main campus is always bustling. Seeing the mini versions of the chicken houses was also interesting, especially because we got to compare it to the full size version at Georgie’s farm. Overall, I very much enjoyed this field trip, especially the UDairy!
Being a senior Pre-Veterinary Medicine major on the University of Delaware’s main campus in Newark, I have had the opportunity to learn, volunteer, and work on the UD Newark Farm on multiple occasions. However, I had never received a tour as thorough as the one given by Scott Hopkins, the farm superintendent.
I learned the most about UD’s Webb Farm, where we have horses, sheep, and beef cattle. I had always known we had horses on campus, but I never fully understood why or who interacted with them. Thanks to Scott, I now know of all the high tech and well thought out aspects that our horse stables and attached building have to offer. From a scale built into the floor, to the grated stalls instead of panels, or even to the potential for video cameras to watch foaling since horses can stop parturition if they get nervous or surprised, the possibilities are endless. It was also very interesting to learn that things we learn in classes, such as titrations in chemistry, can be utilized in the real world, specifically in horses to formulate a timeline of foaling.
Overall, it was great to explore my own campus more in-depth than I have had in the past. I found this experience to be a great example of the old motto, “You learn something new every day!”
During our trips to Hoober’s Inc. many new things came to my knowledge about the use of precision agriculture in our country. When talking to the gentlemen who worked their, they were able to give us a tour of the shop where most repairs occur. Within the shop their are specific people who work on specific things, such as guys who may only focus on combines, where another guy may focus on just only tires. Also we were able to view the use of a drone, which was pretty amazing. The drone itself allows farmers to view their fields in just minutes, helping them before, during, and after the season. It allows farmers to diagnose problems as well as fix them. Finally the best part of the trip in my opinion was the experience of driving the tractor. Never driving one before really opened my eyes on the use and how a tractor could be so useful. I could really picture a future in this line of work
This past Saturday, I spent the day at Hoobers! I was able to look at different type of precision AG machinery, such as auto-steer, and seed squirters. Seed Squirters are a way to get water to a plant without over watering and limiting the amount of diseases. I was also able to take a look at different types of machinery such as sprayers, tractors, and quadtracs. I was extremely excited to get to drive the sprayer, and I was blown away at the amount of technology inside the cab. To see how big and expensive these machines are, is truly amazing. People underestimate how hard it is to be a farmer, and to see the type of technology that they use and how complex it is, is very eye-opening. I very much enjoyed my time at Hoobers and I hope I’ll be able to visit again.
The last field trip we went on was to Hoober Equipment. Honestly, I think this was the most interesting trip we have been on so far. I did not know most of the information given on Saturday, whereas at Fifer’s Orchards, I did, being a Plant Science Major.
We started out the tour by hearing about the history behind the company, and how the two employees got to where they are now. Their business is very important in the ag industry, and precision ag is a phenomenal thing. We walked around and saw a lot of different machines, and they were all so big! Of course we got to see their toy- a drone! That was amazing; being able to have the drone survey the field while you spend your time doing something else. Before we left, we all got the opportunity to drive a machine, and here I am doing it!
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!