I am really glad that I was able to attend this field trip. I feel as though it is something that almost every student in the college of agriculture does. With absolutely no farm background growing up, I always love being exposed to everything that agriculture has to offer. I usually only step foot on a farm if they are hosting an event that’s open to the public. I hope that in the future I can keep being exposed to the busy lives people in the agricultural industry. I saw how organized the farm has to be to be able to run smoothly. I was sort of surprised when Mr. Hopkins told us that his house is located on the UD farm. As I thought about it more, I realized just how important it must be for Mr. Hopkins to live on the farm. He is able to take care of anything on the farm that doesn’t go as planned. This can include caring for a sick animal or being around to milk the dairy cows twice per day. Hopefully I will get to spend more time around the farm in the future.
I am really glad I had the opportunity to be exposed to and drive important machinery used in the agricultural industry. Since I grew up in a suburb not too far outside of New York City I haven’t been around farm equipment for a substantial part of my childhood. I am constantly being impressed by the knowledge of people I’m surrounded by. I was also impressed by the fact that the tractors are able to be programmed so they can self-steer themselves. I also felt a strong sense of community while being at Hoober, Inc. Especially when learning about how the company handles customer service. Unlike some bigger companies, you have the opportunity to get to know the support team on a more personal level. It is important for farmers to get their machinery fixed fast, so they can get back to what needs to be done. Customer support is so important, especially as precision agriculture continues to be become more advanced.
On Saturday October 20th, 2018 we went on a trip to Hoober’s company in which we got to learn more about the company and precision agriculture. While there they talked about precision agriculture and its uses in agriculture. They also mentioned how it helps get things done faster for farmers. After they talked to us about the company they gave us a tour of the place. While walking around we got to see new tractors, combines and a drone. During the walk they pointed out different things about the equipment and mentioned how it is designed better than the way it used to be designed. In the combine for example there are less chains going through it to move everything so it runs better. Now it uses hydraulics to move everything. This has made repairs easier and improved the efficiency of farmer’s completing their task. The drone is useful since it is able to scout a large area of field without the farmer having to go out and walk his field. This helps the farmer see how much damage was done to a field due to flooding from rain and how much of his field is still good. It was also fun getting to drive a tractor for the first time. It was different but easy due to the explanation the workers gave of operating it. It was a good learning experience about precision agriculture and a way to see changes to the machines.
I was excited to go to Georgie Cartanza’s farm. I’ve only seen the inside of a chicken house on the internet. A few summers ago I worked at the camp for the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture & Food. The campers were allowed to hold a chicken if they wanted to. They lived in chicken coops out in the fields. The campers were allowed to run around with the chickens without having any sort of protective gear on. I was caught off guard a bit when we were required to wear the suits. Once I heard the reason was because it was to protect the chicken from any diseases we could bring in, I understood why it was a good precaution.
I learned that her poultry farm creates one ton of manure per 1,000 chickens, per flock (4 and a half flocks a year.) Considering there are so many poultry farms around the U.S. I became curious about what they did with all that manure. Specifically, Ms. Cartanza sells her manure to a nearby dairy farm that uses it for nutrient management. I’m glad she gave the advice now, while I’m still in college, to take some business classes as she has realized how important it is to at least have a basic understanding of business.
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.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the field trip to the research farm this past Saturday. But, after getting the notes and talking with a classmate, I can see that it was an extremely educational and fun trip. Students were able to see the cows and calves, and learn how the ice cream for the creamery is made. They got an in-depth tour of the farm, and got a better understanding for how it all works. I regret not being able to make it to the trip, but I am definitely interested in hearing more about it from my classmates.
Our recent trip to Fifer Orchards was very interesting. It was the first time that I’ve been behind the scenes at an orchard or farm of that size, and I thought it was an incredible operation. We drove out to a field which was growing kale and broccoli first, and learned about how they are grown; as well as challenge like disease,insects and the weather. I also learned about the purpose of raised beds when growing strawberries. The purpose of the raised beds is to keep the crop out of the water, and control the amount of irrigation they are getting. After seeing some of Fifer Orchards’ fields, we went and saw the apple orchard. They currently grow over 20 types of apples, and make many of their own products with those apples. They also ship the apples all over the east coast. Finally, we saw their packing area and cold storage. They have a machine that can separate good and bad apples, tomatoes, and peaches through a computer program. It was amazing to see what a large operation Fifer Orchards is and to learn about agriculture and business aspects of running a farm like that.