Dan Severson came and guest lectured in class on Monday about the livestock industry in Delaware. He started out by giving a brief overview of general trends in farming, and then meat consumption trends over the years. I was not very surprised when he said the consumption of beef and veal have been decreasing while pork and chicken have been increasing. This is probably due to many recent trends that red meat is harmful to your health, so consumers are choosing cuts of pork and chicken to eat versus beef. After that he discussed a lot about the differing operation methods for many species of livestock including cattle, hogs, sheeps, goats, dairy cows and a couple other specialty species. I was surprised to learn how much of a market their is for goat products. Dan said a lot of international folks seeks out goat meat for religious purposes and holidays, but also products like goat milk cheesecake and ice cream are made. He also talked about the dairy industry and how farmers are struggling to make ends meet due to the milk market. People don’t drink cow’s milk like they used to and it is affecting dairy farmers.
At the end of his lecture Dan spoke about the future of the livestock industry. He touched on how genetics and technology has already and will continue to impact how we raise our animals. But he also spoke about how farmers are running into the problem of the next generation not wanting to continue to farm, and how all these different factors is going to affect the ability to feed the ever growing population. Overall, Dan gave a great overview of the livestock industry touching on past, current, and future trends.
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.
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.