Tag Archives: technology

Bio-technology, GPS, PrecisionAg

Mark Lynas Video

With the words, Genetically Modifies Organisms, comes heavy debate nationally. Mark Lynas started the lecture off great by saying that he used to believe GMOs were bad but admitted to not doing any research on the tropic. I believe most people against them today have not done the necessary research to see the benefits of GMOs. I have always tried to ignore what the political campaigns are doing to promote anti-GMOs because most of their arguments are scientifically proven, but I do need to do more research to absolutely understand GMOs to be able to educate others on what great ways they could help our growing population. Mark said to always ask for evidence and to go beyond the self-campaigning in anti-GMOs and that’s advice the general public should follow.

Mark Lynas brought up a great point about peaceful existence. Some many horrible things have happened where companies have destroyed or banning GM plants that had the potential to help the poor or children with deficiencies. For example, golden rice was stopped that was proven to help children with vitamin deficiencies. In Kenya, if anyone were to make a GM crop with high nutrition or high yield to help the poor, they would go to jail for 10 years that is a ridiculous regulation that has no scientific evidence to back up that GM is a health risk. I believe, just how Mark Lynas said, that farmers should have the right to choose what technologies they would like to use. The farmers that may be against GMOs do not have the right to stand in the way of people striving for doing things differently for the better. Everyone is entitled to their own views.

Another issue he brought up was that instead of helping the world by banning GMOs, people are actually doing more harm than good. With using GMOs for over a decade, there has been no harm from consuming them. I thought his statistic was comical that, you are more likely to be hit by a meteor than be harmed from a GMO. GMOs reduce chemical use like pesticides because they are made to be resistant by themselves. They would also help with raising yield because by 2050 we have to feed 9.5 billion in the same amount of land and GMOs are really the best way to do that. The people that are for organic are actually hurting us more than helping. Organic would require more land and is less productive. Organic is in the way of our progress by not allowing for innovation. If Biotechnology is stopped there might actually be famines that people predicted, not because of GMOs, but because farmers were stopped from progressing technology to help with the demand with increasing population.

My favorite part of the video that will always resonate with me is that the monster is not the GMOs themselves, it is our reaction against it that hurts us more.

Mark Lynas Lecture

After listening to the Mark Lynas lecture about his change of thought on GMOs I strongly believe everyone involved in the GMO controversy should listen to his explanation and new thoughts on GMOs. I am in full support of the use of GMOs and agree with Mark Lynas change in approach. I respected how Mr. Lynas first took the time to explain why he was against GMOs in the first place and I believe many people have the same thinking processes as he did when he first heard of the use of GMOs. He explained how he thought GMOs were just being used by a big American corporation with not much thought and that it would go horribly wrong in the long run. He then explained how he had actually never done research in the field till later and then discovered that GMOs were a necessity for humankind and the growing population. Mark Lynas makes a very strong case for his change of heart by evaluating how he first approached the situation and then how he learned more about all the benefits of GMOs. Throughout his lecture he explains all of the reasons he now supports the use of GMOs including that GMO crops actually need less chemicals, it was benefiting farmers instead of big companies and finally he explained how it is actually a safer and more precise way of growing crops. I believe many people who are against the use of GMOs have not done research in the field and assume right away its bad like Mark Lynas did at the beginning of his career. I want to spread the knowledge of GMOs being safe and a necessity to farming with the growing population. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Mark Lynas lecture and am happy to see someone who was against GMOs spreading his new-found knowledge and supporting them.

Hoobers Inc Field Trip Experience

The picute above is my classmates and myself on one of the tractors we were able to opperate 

Being able to understand todays agriculture and how we get our food from farms to markets is an unbelieveable experience. The technology we have today, helps us further agriculture along with being able to feed over seven billion people! One of the main ways that agriculture has become easier for farmers is GPS systems. WIth this power farmers are able to use drones to scope out either the issues that are in their crop so they can make adjustments for the next set of crops. While at Hoobers we got the opportunity to see two different drones. One of the drones had the power to fly over an hour and has differnt cameras to show drout in crops! The other drone was able to fly for about thirty minutes but was able to fly by the users phone.  The technologyg used today is not only invested in drones; tractors have the capibility to have automatic stearing and can be positioned by satalites to keep in a very precise line and cause little to no errors with the spacing in the crops!Technology is beyong incredibe and will continue to grow and imrpove the world around us.

Great Trip to Hoober Inc.

This past Saturday field trip to Hoober’s was an eye opener into the equipment side of agriculture. It really put into perspective the amount of labor and money that goes into each machine. It did make me appreciate the investment each machine really is and I do agree with Mark that whenever I pass by a machine again I will know more about it and appreciate how much money and time that farmer actually has put into that machine. Of course with technology, it is not perfect but lucky for people that own Hoober equipment they have a great repair shop with specialized mechanics to handle specific pieces of equipment. When a machine has to be fixed that is time and money wasted on repairs for the farmer. Having someone who is specialized for one machine is great for fixing it in an efficient amount of time because they know what they are doing so the farmer can get right back to using it.

I learned about a couple pieces of equipment they had like the combine, sprayers, and planters that I had never been that close to before. The tires were taller than I was! The best part was being able to ride and drive one of the planters. It was a lot smoother than I thought it was going to be and it even had a radio and air conditioning. The amazing technology allowed you to pick a straight line and the machine would straighten itself out and go along that straight line for you. They even had drones that could look at the whole field of crops and tell which plants were not growing efficiently. Drones are great for raising the farmers’ crop yield. Precision Ag is changing constantly to help farmers grow even more crops and faster.

Hoober Inc. Field Trip

Hoober Inc. is a three-generation family-owned farm equipment company. With 9 locations in the Mid-Atlantic, Hoober Inc. is the region’s leader in precision farming. If there was one thing I took away from this awesome field trip it would be that technology is take the agricultural world by storm. Efficiency makes money, and when money is being made everyone is happy. For the farmers finding ways to collect data more efficiently is key. Drones are the perfect solution. You can set the drone’s route and they fly high above the farmer’s field while taking pictures so when it comes back down the farmer can see if there are any problems with his crops. Drones cut out a lot of time that the farmer would have to spend walking through his field looking for damage. Technology plays a significant role for companies like Hoober as well. When farmers come in to have their equipment worked on they expect it to be done quickly because the longer they have their equipment in the shop the more money they are losing. Technology and the specialists that work for Hoober allows there to be a quick, efficient turn around. Just like with any piece of technology, it doesn’t always cooperate so that is why Hoober incorporates specialists into their company. If a diagnostic tool break down, they can rely on a specialist to be able to figure out the problem faster than someone who has just a general knowledge of all the farm equipment. A job in precision agriculture doesn’t necessarily require a college degree but it does demand patience and common sense which may prove to be more difficult than acquiring a college degree.

My first time on a tractor!

Hoober’s Field Trip

On our class trip to Hoober’s, we learned how important technology is in agriculture and how that trend will continue to increase. They explained what precision ag entails and how much easier and efficient it has made farming. Hoobers biggest sellers for precision ag products are sprayers and retrofitting old planters with the newest technology, making it more economically viable. They explained how the always changing technology makes their job exciting, but also how keeping up with it is one of the biggest challenges. The burnout rate for working with precision ag was only 18 months! It was amazing to see how specialized the mechanics at Hoober’s were; they had combine mechanics, sprayer mechanics, planter mechanics, etc.  and it made sense after seeing how many parts went with each piece of equipment. It was also interesting to see how advanced drones have become and how they have become a big part of agriculture. The trip really showed how essential it is to be computer competent if studying agriculture because that is unquestionably the future.

Trip to Hoobers

Georgetown students!

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.

Combines and Tractors and Drones, Oh my!

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!

Hoober’s Precision Ag Tour

On October 7th, 2017, my classmates and I had the opportunity to tour Hoober Inc. and witness the advances in technology that has helped progress agriculture as a whole. While there, we learned that a huge event that allowed for such a jump in technology for farming was the publics authorization to use satellites for GPS. This allowed for automatic steering, drones, and a lot of other precision ag advancements to come along, making farming much more economical, timely, environmentally friendly and efficient. It was really interesting to see how production agriculture has changed throughout the years as technology advanced. Hoober sells new and used equipment so we were able to witness how tractors and combines progressed. Another service Hoober provides is upgrading old equipment to practically brand new, up-to-date machinery. They basically take the “bones” of a piece of equipment and modify, update and upgrade the systems and mechanics of it – this is often more economical than outright buying a brand new piece of machinery. I could really tell that Hoober’s was in business for the right reasons and to really help their customers. It was great to see such an honorable business model.

Field Trip to Hoober!

This field trip that allowed us to not only see (and drive) some of their equipment, but also gave an interesting insight into the ever-changing industry and how that affects them as a business and their relationships with their customers. Before this class and being educated more about the world of agriculture, I never thought that the equipment used was so high-tech and complex and expanded well beyond a simple tractor, which is what I have always pictured. It amazed me how up and coming precision Ag is for this industry and all the benefits it provides. One thing that stood out to me was how complex this equipment was. There are mechanics that specialize in a single piece of equipment because there is so much in-depth things to know about how it is ran. It amazed me how there was a huge toolbox that contained $40,000 worth of tools, but the most crucial and main tool for a mechanic is his computer. I had no idea you were able to plug in a computer to a tractor, planter, combine, ect. and get a diagnostic reading on it to find out what is wrong with it. This just shows the advanced complexity of one of these machines. This goes to show the reasoning behind the large price tags on a machine, which was way more than I ever would have guessed. These machines are such a huge investment for a farmer, such as a $400,000 combine complex, which enlightened me on the importance of such a great relationship that is needed between Hoober and their customers, since it does go well beyond just the purchase. Learning about the precision Ag details and benefits was excitingly informative, but driving a tractor was the best part of the trip! Not only were the machine way larger and more expensive than I would have guessed, but the technological enhancements that even I was able to notice during my quick drive was amazing. This field trip was very enjoyable, and like the others, showed another side of agriculture that I was not familiar with prior!

Trip to Fifers

Last Saturday, I took a trip to Fifers Orchard. I was thoroughly impressed at the size of their production. I had been previously under the impression that Fifers was a small little produce stand with only a couple acres of land. I very much enjoyed seeing the different types of crops they grew and I was very surprised to learn that their were many different types of one specific crop, such as orange, green, and purple cauliflower. Being able to look at the type of distribution center, I was so excited to see how things worked within the company. Speaking to the family members was also extremely interesting because I never realized how important it was that each person had their own specific job and made sure that their job was completed with great competence. I was also interested in the idea that you were able to buy not only fruits and vegetables, but other types of homemade products such as jams, pies, and seasonings. Seeing this type of production system was extremely important to my understanding about how family farms are run and to see them work cohesively and produce the best products for their consumers.

Fifer Orchards

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to tour and see all of the behind scenes of a local orchard and farming operation in Camden, Delaware. While here, Bobby Fifer gave us the run down of their operations, how technology has a played a huge role in production and how produce gets from field to store. It was really interesting to learn about how apples were packaged and shipped off. Bobby said that apples are hand harvested from the field and then brought to the packing warehouse where they are fed through piece of equipment that can sort around 10 apples per second, all based off of a picture that it takes. The apples are then fed to the assembly line where they are packaged into boxes that will be sent all up and down the East Coast. Curt Fifer then chimed in and shared with us some food for thought. With recent storm events, getting their products to the consumers has not only become extremely difficult due to the lack of refrigerated trucks available, but also very expensive – costs more than doubled just to ship a truck load to Florida. It was really interesting learning about about the processing and shipping side of their operations. Many things that Curt and Bobby discussed and shared were eye opening – a lot of crucial factors to their business are behind scenes that go unnoticed or thought about by the consumer. Fifer Orchards was truly an amazing operation.

Wonderful Family-Owned Orchard

This past Saturday, we had a great opportunity to tour a huge family-owned orchard named Fifer Orchard in Camden Wyoming, DE. With about 2,800 acres of farmland, you can only imagine how much time, energy, money, and manpower goes into running this orchard. Luckily for the Fifer family, it has been in the family for 4 generations. Bobby Fifer said he learned to farm at a very young age. He started us off with a tour to some of their fields to show us different irrigation systems like center pivot and drip irrigation, which is used for crops like strawberries with a raised bed. I thought it was interesting they had trial crops like cauliflower because there is a ready market for it.

These are the cauliflower trial crops that include different types like purple and cheddar

They grow and watch the crop for about 3 years to see if it is worth it. Like cauliflower, kale was also a trial crop that needs to be hand-picked. It is very hard to find people that want to do labor that intensive, so Fifer Orchard participates in an awesome program called H2A that gives nonimmigrant foreigners, who are willing to work, the opportunity to work for them. They get a work visa and Fifer provides transportation and housing for them to work for a period of time hand-picking the crops. Without hand labor, Bobby said they would not be in business. A big challenge they see in the future is being able to use robotics for harvesting every crop instead of hand-picking, but is it possible to pick strawberries or pumpkins with a machine?  With them being in business for so long and technology constantly improving I have no doubt they will continue to thrive for many more generations regardless of the constantly changing regulations and market.

This is the original store that has been there since the farm started. I definitely recommend the apple cider slushies!

Touring Georgie’s Organic Poultry Operation

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.

My First Experience at a Poultry Farm

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.

This is where the food is stored for the automatic feeders

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

These are some of the organic requirements: the open doors with the enrichments

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.