I really enjoyed Georgie’s talk about the Delaware poultry industry. Being from Delaware, I knew that Delaware was the #1 state in the country for producing chickens, Sussex county being the #1 county in the country, and that we were 8 hours away from 1/3 of the population. However, what I didn’t know a whole lot about was how the industry came to be. I find it funny that the industry started because Mrs. Steele ordered 50 chicks and got 500 so she decided to grow them and sell them. It’s amazing what one person can do in this world. I also didn’t know that we used to have double story chicken houses to save land; it seems really smart to me being someone who is all about vertical farming. My favorite part of the lecture was the fact that even though Georgie is an organic poultry farm, she is very well educated in all aspects of the industry, so I didn’t have to sit through a lecture about how nonorganic is the worst thing in the world. She does things the way she does them to make money and because it’s what she believes in but she also understands that the other side has benefits too, and I feel like a lot of people don’t realize that. As I’ve been saying, we can’t feed 10 billion people by the year 2050 if we only use organic; we have to have a mix.
The First exciting trip is to visit Georgie Cartanza’s organic poultry farm. After listening to Georgie’s quick presentation, we got an idea of how to manage a poultry farm. We were lucky to get a chance to walk into the chicken house to see their living environment. We were given clean cloth and protective gear to wear outside of our own cloth. There is also a cleaning box for us to step on to clean our sole. It can tell us a message that they really love their chickens and chickens are protected well by workers on the farm. I kind of get an idea of where our chicken comes from and how they are taking care of. Chickens are free ranged and given plenty of food and water. I want to say thank you to all the workers in the poultry farm, thanks for providing healthy and nice chicken to us.
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.
On September 18th, we had the pleasure of receiving a lecture from former Delaware Secretary of Agriculture, Ed Kee. We learned about the history of Agriculture in Delaware, and got an in-depth look at Delaware’s importance as a food shed. What was most shocking to me was learning that Delaware’s number one industry is agriculture! When many people think of Delaware, they think of a place known for tourism surrounding our beaches, as well as the tax-free shopping that DE offers. Though if you take a closer look, it makes sense that the number one industry is agriculture – almost 50% of all land in Delaware is farmland! Not to mention, one third of the entire US population is within a 10-hour drive of Delaware – from New York City, to Baltimore, to Washington D.C., and almost every major city along the east coast. This makes it a perfect place for agriculture, as we are able to help provide fresh food to a substantial portion of the country. Overall, we were incredibly lucky to talk with a man who has experience in practically every field of agriculture that Delaware has to offer.
Not only was this past Saturdays weather very cool, so was our field trip around the Newark farm. Scott Hopkins, the University of Delaware farm superintendent gave us a fascinating tour of the Webb Farm.
We were fortunate enough to see the milking parlor and learn that dairy cows are the most challenging animal to care for on the farm. Growing up on my families dairy operation I was able to see and experience first hand how labor extensive taking care of dairy cows can be and understood greatly what Scott Hopkins was explaining.
Not only did we see the dairy operation but we saw the beef, sheep and equine facilities. The equine facility was rather new with a large classroom that was very versatile and could also be used a spot for more hands on learning such as artificial insemination, collecting semen or even having the option to do some horse therapy and therapeutic riding. We also learned about the extensive research projects being conducted, Mr. Hopkins favorite being forage research.
We ended our trip with a stop at UDairy creamery. This was for sure one of my favorite field trips because of all the research being done in such close proximity.
During the field trip the farm superintendent of University of Delaware, Scott Hopkins, gave the class a tour of the agricultural field’s mechanical devices, identified the poultry houses and how they are used for research, demonstrated another form of research students focus on for dairy cows regarding a controlled ration being fed, explained the high tunnel and it’s purposes in operating as organic even though it is not verified organic, etc…Additionally when we rode the bus to Webb Farm, the research farm for UD students, Mr. Hopkins took us into the equine building and we briefly discussed how the mares could easily stop giving birth if there was the slightest disturbance during this time such as a student talking while waiting. I personally enjoyed the part of the tour where Scott picked up a handful of the ration being fed to the dairy cattle in controlled research classes because it smelled nice- I believe the ration was a cut up hay forage. Next we moved on to the sheep which I felt was the coolest part of the research farm because I’ve taken classes and learned about equine, poultry, beef and dairy cattle, but learned very little about sheep over my time at UD. During this part of the field trip, Mr. Hopkins talked about the male sheep having a device attached to his body that would spray paint on the back end of the females he would mount in order to check if the population was successfully impregnated. I found this interesting because he would change the color of the paint after a number of days which demonstrated if the first round of sperm was a hit or miss- if the first round impregnated the sheep, it would not have the new paint color demonstrating that the first attempt did not work.
Next we looked at the black Angus beef cattle in which Mr. Hopkins talked about the factors that come into consideration when he decides whether or not to cull a cow. For instance, if a cow decides it no longer wanted to mother a calf, he would remind this cow of it’s protective instinct to protect the cow, as a second chance before considering culling. Also, he briefly mentioned why the bulls were castrated before slaughter and why this was important for a consumer point of view. The reason being that a bull produces testosterone and when the bull is being slaughtered for it’s meat, the stress is shown in the meat because testosterone is produced which causes the color of the meat to turn into a dark blood red color, which is not favorable to consumers when they purchase the final product. I also learned that UDairy Creamery sells the meat that was raised on Webb farm, which is pretty cool because consumers of this generation care about factors such as how their food was raised by the farmer and what went into the process of making their product. Overall, this was a fun field trip and I learned a little more about how the animals are raised than I knew before.
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.
On September 9th, 2017 we visited Georgie Cartanza’s organic poultry farm. Once we had arrived to the farm, we were embraced by Georgie’s small presentation that consisted of details about her farm as well as the chickens on the farm. We were then able to suit up into protective gear, however, this was to protect the chickens, not us! Once suited up, we walked between houses 3 and 4 where we were able to view how the organic chickens were able to graze, as well as being able to play. To get a full understanding of how chickens are taken care of as they are grown, we were ble to enter a chicken house that consisted of 37,000 thousand chickens! Once being inside, I was able to see that the publics view on how chickens are raised may be off. The chickens are given maximum amounts of food and water, as well as very nice conditions in the house. After seeing life on a organic poultry farm, Georgie then preceded to give advice on how to become successful throughout life and that you get what you give. Overall it was a fantastic trip and learning experience.
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.
On Saturday September 9, our class visited the Organic Poultry Farm of Georgie Cartanza. Upon arrival, we were greeted with excitement and given a little presentation about her farm and other poultry farms in Delaware in general. I always knew that Delaware was huge on chickens, but it was really put into perspective for us. It was very interesting to hear how Georgie worked for more than one industry throughout her career for her own personal reasons, especially since I had never even heard of Mountaire and always heard about Tyson and Perdue. Along with information about Delaware poultry, Georgie provided us with advice for ourselves and our future, and I appreciated that a lot. We then got suited up and headed to the houses (37,000 chickens per house by the way)!
It was amazing to see how different it was inside there than it has been portrayed in the media. I expected lots of noise, chaos, wings flapping, etc. Instead, the chickens were eating, drinking walking around, and it smelled worse outside the houses than it did inside! It was also very funny to see that free range chickens do not even go outside, what with all the fuss over it.
Georgie Cartanza’s poultry farm was a such a great experience for my classmates and I. We couldn’t have picked a better day to learn and explore her 4 chicken houses. I have been in a big chicken house like the one we saw on Saturday just one other time, but to see another one like it with over 37,000 chickens in one house was incredible. Georgie told us some interesting facts like how she produces over 5 million pounds of chicken per year to letting us know that she makes money off of her chicken’s manure. One other piece of information that I took from Georgie’s presentation on Saturday was how you get what you give. She talked about how whenever you get the chance, you should help out someone that needs it because one day, when you may need that help, those people that you gave to, will give back. Thanks Georgie for an awesome day on your farm and educating us more on the poultry world!
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.
Visiting the Poultry Farm that Georgie Cartanza runs was an awesome experience. When we first got off of the bus and I smelled the farm, I was somewhat skeptical. However, listening to Georgie inform us about how many families she can feed annually just from her farm brought me right back into an excited mind set. I am still beyond impressed that she takes care of so many people with her farm. I was very happy with the way that Georgie articulated her language throughout her explanation of organic farming. I liked how she explained why she went organic, and what it truly entails. She gave me experienced and knowledgable information that I respect and trust. When we went into the chicken house, I was absolutely stunned at how peaceful it was. Compared to outside, the house was quite quiet, and very docile. The chickens did not seem chaotic or uncomfortable. They were very mellow, and I enjoyed watching them perform their daily tasks such as eating and drinking. I had an image in my mind previously that was not negative, but was not nearly as positive as the reality of the farm truly was. The Cartanza farm was an excellent learning experience, and I think that Georgie should contemplate running tours once a month! I think that her farm could educationally benefit society on a topic that is not talked about nearly enough in todays culture!
Georgie Cartanza is a great example of a dedicated poultry farmer who is willing to go beyond expectations in her field. I admire her work ethic and thoroughly enjoyed touring her farm. Georgie is now an organic chicken farmer and her operation can house 148,000 chickens. Before she switched to organic chickens she grew roasters. The chickens on Georgie’s farm produce about 80 tons of manure each year, which is then sold as fertilizer. I found it very interesting that Georgie would have never expected herself to have her own poultry operation. While she was always involved in the poultry industry she didn’t start running her own chicken houses until 11 years ago. Her hardworking attitude lead her to be very successful. However, she does see some challenges coming her way such as organic consumers changing requirements based on how the chickens are raised. I believe Georgie to be a great role model for anyone going into the poultry industry or any branch of the agriculture industry. Poultry is a huge part of a Delaware and Georgie has stood herself out from the rest.