On September 22nd, the AGRI130 class visited Georgie Cartanza’s broiler farm located in Dover, Delaware. Upon arrival everyone was sat down outside and listened to Georgie give a presentation on how and why she got started in the industry and what she actually does on the farm. The farm is an organic farm that grows for Coleman, an organic integer. Next the students were outfitted in PPE, which consisted of plastic coveralls, a hair net, and plastic booties. This precaution is to help prevent any diseases the class could have brought in from spreading to the chickens.
It was very interesting when the students had the chance to enter into two of Cartanza’s chicken houses. One was fully occupied while the other was empty. The differences in the two houses was really intriguing. Without the chickens inside it became glaringly obvious how vast the houses are. Each house on her farm is 600 feet long by 65 feet wide. To put that in perspective, each house is almost two football fields long! The houses themselves were surprisingly super cool inside. Each one has a ventilation system and fans to help circulate the air through the houses. Air is sent through about every 60 seconds. The chickens seemed very comfortable inside and had no desire to step outside when given the opportunity to do so.
Big thank you to Georgie Cartanza for allowing the AGRI130 students to come out and visit her farm.
On September 22, 2018 The Ag 130 class went on a field to Georgie Cartanza’s Organic Poultry Farm. On that tour she gave many incites into ho the poultry operation works and what her day to day life consists of when working on the farm. First off when we got to the farm we sat on her make shift chairs for us that was her pine shaving’s she uses. She touched base with us on some of the same stuff that she explained in her lecture that she gave to use before we came to the farm. Once that was over we got suited up in hair nets and white coveralls so we don’t take in any unwanted diseases and helping out with bio-security. Then once we got to finally get inside of the chicken house it was so bizarre to see so many birds in one spot. And still having plenty of room to move around and enjoy themselves. Then we went into the chicken house beside the first on to see what an empty house looks like its so odd how the house barely smell do to the ventilation system that they have in place at there farm and how well the vegetative buffers work to keep the odor down as well.
Georgie Cartanza, an organic poultry farmer in Kent County, DE. Georgie has four 65’x500 chicken houses, each can hold up to 37,000 chickens, totaling up to 148,000 chickens on her farm during a single flock. Georgie produces over 5 million pounds of organic broilers each year by growing 5 and a half flocks per year. Chicken houses have advanced technology built within allowing farmers to control the optimal environment for the chickens during all stages of growth. Chickens themselves produce a lot of heat so the cooling system within the houses is important in keeping the chickens happy and healthy. For example, Gorgie’s houses cooling system can cycle the air in under a minute. Aside from the organic feed requirements, some of the organic requirements are to have enrichments within and outside of the house and to have outdoor access. Enrichments can be as simple as ramps and boxes.
So you may be thinking how does Georgie produce 5 Million pounds of broiler meat each year?
Well, that’s due to the advancements and improvements in technology, genetics, housing, and nutrition. No hormones and no steroids. Applicable to both organic and commercial poultry farming.
Also, what is done with all the manure generated?
Each year, 5 and a half flocks generate 4 million pounds of manure per year. That is about 1 ton per 1,000 chickens per flock. Then a nutrient-packed compost is made with the manure and mortality. That is then sold to a local dairy farmer as a fertilizer. The manure is improving the soil health and structure by providing vital macro and micronutrients to the soil.
Georgie has a wealth of knowledge in the poultry industry. As a guest speaker, Georgie was able to inform students on common misconceptions about the poultry industry.Georgie reminds students that the food industry altogether is ever-changing to reduce stress on the animals, farmers, and the environment. While producing a profitable product that consumers want.
Georgie is an organic poultry farmer overseeing and growing out 5 1/2 flocks a year on a four chicken house farm. Georgie was able to explain that although the chickens have access to the outdoors it is not always optimal for the birds health to be outside. The weather and bio security hazards can be reasons as to why the chickens are not always outside on an organic farm. Georgie explained that the houses are set up to the optimal atmosphere that satisfies the chickens needs. I look forward to visiting her farm and to see if there are any major differences in the production of organic vs conventional chickens.
Labeling food that has GMO ingredients has become a very controversial and heated topic in todays society. Especially with more people wanting to go organic and wanting to be more careful about what they eat. GMO labeling could lead to many pros and cons so figuring out what the best choice is for both consumers and producers is very hard.
First the pros, labeling which products have GMOs will allow consumers to have knowledge and be able to choose a product they feel is best for their lifestyle and values. Today consumers are all about transparency, GMO labeling will allow for a stronger relationship between producer and consumer. A stronger relationship will allow the trust of farmers by consumers to continue to grow. Also, producers with a niche can squeeze their way into the market. Consumers are willing to pay higher prices so industry will benefit and new players will emerge.
Second the cons, the big word here is misinterpretation. Labels could become very confusing for consumers, things such as “natural” mean little to nothing but consumers start to believe its more. Consumers tend to have not enough knowledge when looking at labels. As soon as consumers sees “GMO ingredients” they’ll put it back on the shelf and reach for the organic choice which in reality may not be the better choice. Organic is another word with much misinterpretation due to nothing actually proving its better for your health or the environment. Lastly, the effects on the poor. GMO ingredients are perceived to be unsafe when in reality thats not true. The poor will become food insecure and end up spending money on food because labels scare them away.
Food labeling is a topic that is being debated by farmers and states. Many states such as Maine and Connecticut have passed laws that require such labeling if other nearby states put one into effect. Vermont is the first state to require such labeling. This can be a huge impact on food companies because of the negative opinions that consumers have about GMO’s. Not only that, but the cost of labeling products is extremely expensive and can be a confusing process. Labels may be eye-catching for consumers, but are actually stigmatizing healthy foods. GMO’s are necessary, but many people lack the education about GMO’s which in turn means that they fear what they don’t know. This is dangerous because this can lead to the spread of false information and a pandemonium that has no basis in anything of knowledge. GMO laws will cost consumers billions of dollars. For example, the Vermont GMO law will cost Maryland consumers a total of $1,564,040,500 a year and Maryland families an average of $1,082 a year. Labeling is not necessary and is costing consumers and food production companies money that should be used for other necessary things. Labels are often misinterpreted, which means that consumers are buying things thinking that the label means one thing, when in reality, it means something totally different.
On Saturday our class took the last field trip to the research farm at Newark. Scott Hopkins gave us a tour of the farm which had livestock such as cows, sheep, and horses, and also fields for vegetable production. He explained how they have a section they grow basically organic so that students can experience how much more work it is to produce organic crops. It was amazing to see how the cows were trained to eat at the same place everyday and all the tests they did on them. The horse barn was also interesting because they built it to make the horses feel more comfortable. The farm is roughly 350 acres split between all the different sections, it was very well maintained and pretty. Despite the very chilly and windy weather, it was a great experience. Mr. Hopkins was very passionate about his job and easily connected with the students. He had so much knowledge about so many topics and was so easy to talk to. This field trip was a great way to end.
Georgie Cartanza owns a poultry farm in Dover, Delaware, she has four houses, which each hold 37,000 chickens. She has been raising chickens for eleven years, starting out with roasters, but has now switched to organic chickens. Organic chickens have a lot more requirements such as the need for natural light, enrichments, outdoor access, and must be antibiotic free. Organic chicken feed comes from Argentina and Turkey and must be GMO free. No pesticides can be used around the houses, no outside water sources can be in the free range area, and when the chickens develop gut problems only oregano, vinegar, and other organic approved ingredients can be used. It is very clear how much thought Ms. Cartanza put into her farm, the fans on the houses are pointed in different directions so that they don’t blow towards neighboring houses, and she planted trees around the perimeter to create a vegetative buffer to further the air filtering. She switched to organic chickens because she saw the trend increasing and believes all growers will eventually be switched to organic. Ms. Cartanza is very passionate about what she does and has an abundance of knowledge about the poultry industry.
This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to tour an organic poultry operation and to learn all about the ins and outs of it. Georgie Cartanza, the owner and operator of this organic poultry farm, was full of not only knowledge about the industry, but as well as wisdom that I will hold onto as I go throughout my life. I found this field trip especially valuable since I was able to apply what I have learned about the poultry industry, its management and the ever-changing market demands to a real life operation. Georgie explained to us that being an organic farm is a lot more work to keep up to standards as well as costs. The average cost of organic feed is 3x the amount of conventional chicken feed – she attributed this to the fact that organic feed has to be shipped to the United States from other countries due to the lack of profitability for farmers to grow organic feed in the states. Georgie also mentioned that with the ever-changing consumer and market, in a few years, she will have to implement more windows, more shade cloths and more enrichments to each house to satisfy the “organic” standards put in place. The poultry industry is always changing and advancing as technology increases and I’m excited to see where it shifts next. This field trip was a great learning experience and I throughly got a lot out of it. Ms. Cartanza is a very knowledgable woman and I hope I get to encounter with her again.
This past Saturday, September 9th, I had the opportunity to go to a Poultry Farm. Georgie Cartanza has been in this business for quite some time now. She’s been growing organic chickens for the past 11 years and previously worked for Perdue. When it comes to growing organic chickens, they’re certain requirements and guidelines one must follow. This poultry farm consisted of four houses that were 65×600 feet long, each house had roughly 37,000 chickens in each house for a total of roughly 148,000 chickens. Each house had ventilation, air-conditioning, automatic water and food machines that filled up by itself, and lastly an outdoors area for the chickens to go out if pleased. Georgie produces enough chicken to feed nearly 60,000 families for roughly 5 million pounds of chicken a year. Going into this trip, I had knowledge about chickens but no knowledge of how poultry farms functioned rather just my own opinions. I figured the housing and conditions were nearly as bad as people thought, and once visiting these houses, I realized I was correct that the environment was nice. The housing was much cooler than I expected and as well answered many of my questions. One question being how they harvested these chickens? I thought possibly there was some kind of machinery that made it easy but Georgie informed us that all the chicken are caught by hand. My second question was how much room would the chicken have to move and such? And once entering the house you realize the size of the house is more spacious than you would think. Overall, the field trip was quite interesting, I never thought I’d ever visit a poultry farm but I’m glad I did for I learned greatly.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the field trip to the organic poultry farm because of another class field trip, but after hearing Mrs. Cartanza speak to us and gathering notes from a class-mate, it looked like a very fun and informational trip. Previously, I knew very little about poultry farms, or how America gets it’s chicken. In class, Mrs. Cartanza explained how a poultry farm works, and all of the interesting technology involved. I was amazed at how much easier chicken farming is with that technology. In the pictures that were taken on the trip, I can see the large fans and heaters that control the climate in the chicken houses. I also learned the difference between organic chicken and non-organic, and what Mrs. Cartanza had to do to ensure her chickens were organic. It is interesting to me that none of the chickens are allowed to have vaccines to keep them healthy, and can only be given vinegar in some occasions. It was also shocking to learn from a classmate that organic chicken feed is 3 times as expensive as normal feed. Overall, I learned a lot about the poultry industry and wish I could’ve seen the chicken houses in person.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting an organic poultry farm run by Georgie Cartanza. I was shocked to learn it was mostly a one-man business. Most of the technology producers use today saves a lot of physical labor older generations had to do. Luckily instead of turning the temperature up and down by hand, an automatic system regulates the temperature by itself as needed with fans, heaters, etc. Georgie’s goal in her chicken houses is for the birds to feel as little change in temperature as possible.
As we saw in the houses, technology also allows them to be fed automatically. Once the food gets below a certain level a sensor alerts the system to put more food into the feeders. We could even hear the noise of the food going down into their feeders. Once we stepped into the houses for the first time I was pleasantly surprised. The chickens would move away when we stepped in but as we stood there long enough they would slowly get closer and more comfortable with us. For 37,000 chickens in one house, they were barely making noise. Despite some of the misconceptions I’ve heard, the chickens were moving with ease despite being a couple days away from being processed. Being an organic farm comes with certain requirements like having a door for them to come in and out freely to an outdoor space the same size as 50% of their inside space, and enrichments for them to play on. Most people think that the chickens with the access outside would be outside all of the time, but only a few
chicken at a time would step out for a few seconds and go back in. Georgie runs a wonderful farm with making an impressive number of 5 million pounds of chicken per year from all her hard work and previous experience helping other producers start their own farms. I learned a lot about the poultry industry that opened my eyes about possible careers in the future.
On September 9th the Understanding Today’s Agriculture Class visited Cartanza Farms in Dover, Delaware. This is an organic farm which is run by Georgie Cartanza. On her farm, she has a total of four houses and holds approximately 37,000 birds per house. With her being an organic farm she has certain regulations to follow in order to make the consumers happy along with the chickens. Georgie has given her bird’s access to food, outdoor areas with toys and water whenever they please; in their food, there are no steroids or hormones to please the consumers who do not want anything to help “enhance” the growth and development of the chicken. On the other hand with Georgie not being able to feed her flocks the proper medicines (Antibiotics). Since that technically is a steroid she can not help her birds fight off sickness. This is the one major problem with having the birds on no enhancements. Despite the birds being “natural” or “healthier” with the medicines given to them, they will have to be kept extra healthy. This can be a challenge for Georgie and her farm because if one flock get sick or begins an illness this can damage the incoming flocks along with her profit. Consumers, who want their birds to be steroid/antibiotic free, in the case that the bird does end up being sick, is it truly the proper thing to let the suffer Along with infecting the rest of the flock? Georgie has gone above and beyond for supporting her family and farm. I find this to be inspirational and such a strong role model in the Agricultural Field. She has definitely influenced me and my perspective on organic farms!
When I first heard that we were going to be taking a field trip to an organic poultry farm I was very standoff-ish. Personally I do not agree with organic for many reasons. However when listening to Ms. Cartanza I was pleasantly surprised. She explained that the practices outlined in the organic guidelines are basically unnecessary because for the most part the chickens do not take advantage of theses organic specific practices. Which furthered my opinion on the nature of organic operations. Furthermore I was surprised by the condition of the chicken houses, they were very pleasant. The temperature was very comfortable, the noise level was low, and the smell was more then bearable; the chickens seemed to be very content with their living conditions. Which is why I was a little bothered by the fact that she cannot allow anyone to take pictures while in the chicken house for fear that they’ll negatively misconstrue what are actually very nice living conditions, in order to further their own agenda.
On September 9th, I spent the day at Georgie Cartanza’s poultry farm in Dover. This particular poultry farm is organic, meaning that not only are the birds cared for, but there are many more precautions taken when compared to other non-organic poultry farms. These precautions include, making sure there are no antibiotics used, the chickens have access to natural light, they are free range, no GMO’s used, and the feed is organic. The Cartanza poultry farm houses around 37,000 chickens per house and the farm contains four houses. The organic grain used in the houses is from Argentina and Turkey because of the lack of the supply in the U.S. I definitely learned many different interesting facts such as how the manure is used. Each flock produces about 3 in. of manure that that manure is then used as fertilizer. This means that about 20 tons of manure per year per house is produced. Also, it’s incredibly expensive to build and maintain chicken houses. It’s also extremely technologically advanced. The technological advancements throughout the last decade are extremely modern and allows poultry farmers to grow more chickens with about half of the space needed. This is incredibly efficient when it comes to the amount of space needed for not only the chicken houses themselves, but for manure housing and grain silos.