UD Cooperative Extension aids UD researcher at Delaware Ag Week

February 10, 2014 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Professor Kent Messer and his team of researchers poll farmers at Ag WeekSometimes, an offer can seem too good to be true. The University of Delaware’s Kent Messer was worried that would be the case with his latest research project — one that promised land owners in the state who owned more than 10 acres of land $50 simply for completing a 30-minute survey and offered up to $40,000 worth of funding to support cost share and landowner incentives to help implement nutrient management practices on private property.

Luckily for Messer and his research team, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension — in conjunction with Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture — was holding Delaware Ag Week in Harrington at the Delaware State Fairgrounds and welcoming around 1,900 visitors, many of them land owners.

“We were able to piggyback on Extension’s work and trust with the farmers,” said Messer, Unidel Howard Cosgrove Chair for the Environment in the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics (APEC). “Our research was more believable because we were at Ag Day.”

“This is an excellent example of outreach and engagement within UD,” said Michelle Rodgers, associate dean for Cooperative Extension in the University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Cooperative Extension is a key partner in the Ag Week event which provided over 97 educational sessions with over 1900 attendees. Students involved in the survey were introduced to Cooperative Extension programming and through the event were able to meet face to face with their desired survey participants. This is was a win-win for the researchers and the research participants.”

Messer’s project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economics Research Service and at Ag Week, his team conducted a field experiment on nutrient management practices and landowners’ attitudes toward and adoption of those practices.

The USDA project had funding to support cost share and landowner incentives to help implement nutrient management practices on the ground. Messer’s team asked landowners about conservation buffers, areas that are vegetated along streams and ditches either by grass or forest, and asked the landowners how much they would be willing to share the costs of those practices.

Messer singled out Jennifer Volk, extension specialist in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, for helping to identify practices relevant to Delaware for the survey that are not currently available for cost share. “We didn’t want to fund practices that were already supported by state or federal programs; we want to learn about landowners’ attitudes and behavior related to new practices,” said Messer.

Messer said he combined this project with another one of his National Science Foundation (NSF) projects that focuses on the Murderkill Watershed, which has issues surrounding nutrients. If participants had property in the watershed, they were eligible for an extra $25 for taking the survey.

Survey team members included Walker Jones, a master’s degree student in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), Maik Kacinski, a postdoctoral researcher in APEC, Linda Grand and Seth Olson, both seniors in the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, and Michael Griner, a student from Delaware Technical Community College.

The research team set up shop in Harrington for four days during Ag Week. With four and sometimes six tablet computers available for survey participants, the team members set up through each day of Ag Week and was able to attract 80 people to participate in the survey, which Messer called a “home run.”

“One of the reasons I love Ag week is that it helped ensure our validity. Our booth had a bright blue University of Delaware sign on it. We were in a UD event. Because, in many cases, you could say that this was a too good to be true offer — $50 for a 30-minute survey. We’ll pay up to $40,000 for you to do nutrient management on your land. Most people will see that survey and throw it in the trash because they think there must be a catch.”

Messer said that he was very happy to be able to conduct his research survey at a Cooperative Extension event.

“I’m fundamentally committed to good research that has Extension components. I think that’s a wonderful pillar of the land grant and these are exciting opportunities to collaborate. This is a time when the Extension efforts helped the research project,” said Messer. “We wouldn’t have been successful without having Extension do what it does and having this program that is servicing the landowners. And we were really just able to take advantage of it and participate in it.”

The next steps for Messer and his team include collecting data via mail from participants who were not at Ag Week and finalizing the results of the study.

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

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Delaware Ag Week draws record numbers

January 24, 2014 under Cooperative Extension

Delaware Ag Week draws record crowdsA successful Delaware Agriculture Week, held from January 13-17, attracted record attendance at the Delaware State Fairgrounds, home to the event for the past nine years.

An estimated 1900 visitors, up from 1700 last year, drove to Harrington to attend their choice of 97 sessions offered on a variety of topics crucial to Delaware agriculture. Topics included poultry, equine, nutrient management, fresh market fruits and vegetables, production crops, irrigation, forestry, horticulture, safety, ACA health insurance, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), weed and disease control in agronomic crops. Additional presentations covered equine, small ruminants and beef cattle.

‘Ag Week’ as it is known in the First State is planned in collaboration with the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture. In addition to invited experts from around the country, more than 30 sessions were taught by experts from the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and college staff served as session moderators.

Cory Whaley, Sussex County agriculture Extension agent and chair of the Delaware Ag Week Planning Committee, was pleased with the number of people who attended and the 81 vendor exhibits offered during the week.

“Ag Week is great event where the ag community can come together for continuing education, to catch up with friends, and talk with local vendors,” said Whaley. “Much of the success of Ag Week can be attributed to the individual session chairs who identify topics that are relevant and timely and then match these topics with expert speakers from our area and from across the country.”  A complete listing of this year’s program sponsors and exhibitors is available on the Delaware Ag Week website.

Michelle Rodgers, associate dean and director of UD Cooperative Extension, attended many of the sessions throughout Delaware Agriculture Week. Rodgers commended her Extension colleague’s efforts and teamwork for developing an event that positively impacts the agricultural community. “Hat’s off to the entire team for an excellent Ag Week.” Rodgers said. “We have had record crowds as well as top-notch speakers from Delaware and across the country. Feedback has been very positive,” Rodgers said, adding that attendees especially voiced appreciation on hearing the current research, the breadth of topics offered, and a venue to network with others in the agriculture sector.

Ed Kee, Delaware Secretary of Agriculture, thanked everyone who organized Delaware Ag Week. “We are really connecting. Good job to all the farmers and industry people who participated,” Kee said.

During Delaware Ag Week attendees were able to earn nutrient management, pesticide and certified crop advisor continuing education credits.

It was the first Ag Week for Nathan Kleczewski, UD Extension plant pathology specialist, who was hired in May 2013.  Along with Dan Egel and Shubin Saha, colleagues from Purdue, Kleczewski felt the collaborative nature of the sessions gave other experts the opportunity to share their research and expertise. “It gives growers an outside perspective and builds collaborations,” said Kleczewski.

Kleczewski was pleased to see 250 people attend the high tunnel and agronomy sessions and received positive feedback. “It was a great way to introduce myself to many people and now that they have a face to put to the name, I expect to receive more calls during the course of the growing season,” Kleczewski said.

A new exhibition for 2014 was the Hazards of Flowing Grain demonstration. Mike Love, agriculture safety Extension agent, coordinated the presentations, equipment and resources. Twice a day, Love conducted a workshop on the dangers of grain entrapment and rescue best practices via a mobile unit developed to scale by Penn State.

“An individual entering a grain silo can be entrapped in seconds,” Love said. Attempts to move can bury the victim deeper in the grain. Love illustrated the physics behind grain movement within silo storage, explaining how a 165-pound individual effectively becomes 300 pounds when the grain reaches waist level. Love emphasized that knowing how to safely respond is critical. The exhibit was enthusiastically received and plans to feature it during the Delaware State Fair in July are being discussed.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings during Ag Week, Love conducted Grain Rescue workshops at the Quillen Arena where first responders utilized best practices for the unique rescue challenge inside a full sized silo mock-up on loan from Perdue Agribusiness Grain Emergency Response Team. More than 100 first responders from Delaware attended and worked in teams as they entrapped a volunteer and practiced the rescue techniques and equipment. “The grain rescue workshops were offered to first responders and farmers so they may learn the characteristics of flowing grain, the causes and best practices for rescue,” Love said.

Philip Russell, 1st Assistant Chief of the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department attended the training Thursday night and found the experience extremely valuable. “This was an eye opener for us. We need to make sure we have the right equipment to make the proper rescue.”  Russell said.

Robbie Roe, Russell’s colleague, volunteered as a victim and agreed the training was necessary. “It would be the worst way to die known to man,” Roe exclaimed. “I couldn’t breathe.” Fortunately, their fire department has not been called out to a grain entrapment, but Roe was grateful for the opportunity to become better prepared. “We have silos in our district we never had before. This [training] is what we need to do.”

Held in January every year, the 2014 event was an opportunity for Rodgers and her Extension colleagues to mark Cooperative Extension’s 100th year of providing research-based information to the public.

Click here for additional photos of Delaware Ag Week

Article by Michele Walfred

Photos: Michele Walfred, Cory Whaley, and Heather Baker

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Poultry is focus of January Friends of Ag Breakfast in Harrington

January 3, 2013 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Mike Brown, president of the National Chicken Council, will speak at a Friends of Ag Breakfast on Friday, Jan. 18, beginning at 7:15 a.m. This special Friends of Ag Breakfast is being held in conjunction with Delaware Ag Week, which runs Jan. 14-18.

The breakfast will take place at the Harrington Fire Company, located near the Delaware State Fairgrounds, where most Ag Week activities will be held.

In his talk, Brown will address economic issues impacting the poultry industry from a national and global perspective.

Following his presentation, Michelle Rodgers, associate dean and director of University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, and Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee will provide updates on what UD Extension and the state Department of Agriculture are doing to support Delaware’s poultry industry.

Ag Week is presented annually by UD Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture. The Friends of Ag Breakfast is held three times throughout the year and is sponsored by UD Cooperative Extension.

Ag Week, now in its eighth year, draws farmers, agriculture industry professionals, Cooperative Extension specialists, research scientists and others together to exchange information and ideas.

This year, presentations will be made on watermelon research, best management practices for equine operations, woodland management, using social media, climate change and its potential impact on Delaware crops, high tunnel research, and much more.

The Friends of Ag Breakfast begins at 7:15 a.m. and costs $20. Advance registration is preferred. To register, call Alice Moore at 302-831-2504. For more information about Ag Week programs, see the website or call Karen Adams at 856-7303, ext. 540.

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Jack Gelb awarded 2012 Worrilow Award

January 23, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Worrilow Award winners (from left to right) Ted Haas(2001), Wesley Towers (1990), Jack Gelb (2012), U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Walter Hopkins (1997), Joanne Whalen (2011), Buzz Klopp (2000) and Ed Kee (1995). Present but not pictured was Keith Carlisle (1998).

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper spoke to a large gathering at University of Delaware Cooperative Extension’s Friends of Ag Breakfast in Harrington on Friday, Jan. 20, concluding a successful Delaware Ag Week. The breakfast also served as the occasion to present the 2012 George M. Worrilow Award to UD’s Jack Gelb, Jr.

Gelb is chair of UD’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences and director of the Avian Bioscience Center in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).

The award is presented annually by the UD Agricultural Alumni Association to an individual, in recognition of exemplary service to agriculture. The honor is named for Dr. George M. Worrilow, who served as dean of the college from 1954 to 1965.

Past Worrilow Award honorees Ted Haas (2001) and Spangler (Buzz) Klopp (2000) saluted Gelb’s five decades of excellence and his significant contributions to CANR, Delaware agriculture and, in particular, to the Delmarva poultry Industry.

“Jack is known to Delaware, nationally and internationally for his research and emphasis in avian respiratory diseases, avian influenza, and for his major role in the discovery of Gumboro Disease,” Klopp said.

The economic benefits of his research have been significant, saving the Delaware poultry economy $250,000 a week, Klopp told the large audience.

“This is an incredible honor for me,” Gelb said. “I did not have the opportunity to meet this fine gentleman (George Worrilow) but I have heard so many stories how he set things up and got things done. He inspired people about agriculture. That’s what it is all about, isn’t it?”

At UD, Gelb earned a bachelor’s degree in entomology in 1974 and a master’s degree in animal virology in 1976. He received his doctorate in microbiology and avian medicine from the University of Georgia.

“I came to the college in the 1970s, riding that first ecology wave and then, as now, students were welcomed, nurtured and developed there,” Gelb said.

He recalled, “As students, we got to work with leading veterinarians and researchers and work with farmers directly.”

Gelb marveled at the value of being able to put what was learned in the classroom and lab to practical use in the field.

Remarks on behalf of Gov. Markell

Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, former UD Extension specialist and Worrilow Award recipient in 1995, brought remarks from Gov. Jack Markell and kudos for Gelb.

Kee said previous recipients review the resumes and make recommendations for the award. “You set a high bar,” Kee said.

Kee shared remarks of behalf of the governor and the administration’s efforts to promote Delaware agriculture and its continued competitiveness in a global market.

“Gov. Markell appreciates the economic importance of agriculture, as a way of life and for the cultural traditions that are a part of Delaware,” Kee said.

Kee cited the success of the Young Farmer’s Program, which offers zero percent interest to enable the purchase of land and assists the next generation of farmers in the settlement process.

“The governor understands the need to sustain our profitability and keep on the competitive edge in ag,” Kee said.

Through a strategic fund, the Markell administration supports infrastructure and businesses that are agricultural fixtures in Delaware, including Perdue, Mountaire, Vlasic and Hanover. “We want to keep them here and allow them to compete in a global economy,” Kee said.

At the breakfast Kee shared that Markell acknowledged the Delaware Rural Irrigation Program (DRIP) in his recent State of the State address. Through the investment of strategic funds, Delaware farmers are able to invest in new irrigation systems. In the past, Delaware has gone from 25,000 acres to 130,000 acres of irrigated cropland. “Farmers made that investment. That is why agriculture works in Delaware,” he said.

Nutrient management

Also at the event, Carper saluted Delaware agriculture and its willingness to face inland bay pollution head on by taking the lead in the formation of the Nutrient Management Commission in the 1990s.

Dave Baker, chair of the commission, and William Vanderwende, vice-chair, were recognized for their efforts and were presented with framed copies of Congressional Record statements issued on Dec. 14, 2011.

“In our state the ag community stood up really tall,” Carper said. He recognized the leadership of Baker and other farmers who created an enviable model for the nation to follow.

“It is incredible what you put into it,” Carper said. “It is amazing what we accomplish when we work together.”

Article by Michele Walfred, also viewable on UDaily

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UD Professors, Extensions Specialists present at Ag Week

January 18, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Professors from the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Cooperative Extension Specialists were well represented at the 7th annual Delaware Agriculture Week, giving presentations and moderating discussion panels throughout the week for members of the agricultural community.

This year’s Delaware Ag Week runs from Jan. 16-21, with the majority of events taking place at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington, Delaware. Delaware Ag Week is an on-going collaboration between The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Delaware Ag Week aims to provide useful and timely information to the agricultural community and industry through educational meetings and events, as well as allowing for networking and fellowship with old and new acquaintances. There are also many opportunities to receive nutrient management, pesticide and certified crop advisor continuing education credits.

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, University of Delaware professors and extension specialists gave numerous presentations during the “Processing Vegetables” sessions that took place during the morning and afternoon. Emmalea Ernest, extension vegetable crops associate, gave two lectures during the morning highlighting her trials with sweet corn and lima beans, as well as moderating the afternoon session.

Other presenters included Mark VanGessel, a professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences as well as an extension weed science specialist, Gordon Johnson, assistant professor of plant and soil science and an extension fruit and vegetable specialist, Kate Everts, an adjunct associate professor of plant and soil sciences, Joanne Whalen, an extension integrated pest management specialist in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, and Bob Mulrooney, an extension plant pathologist.

Presentations will continue on Thursday, Jan. 19, with sessions on agronomy and soybeans scheduled for the morning and the afternoon at the Delaware State Fairgrounds Dover Building.

Delaware Ag Week will wrap up with the “Friends of Agriculture Breakfast” at 7:15 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 20 at the Harrington Fire Hall and then with a fruit and vegetable growers roundtable discussion on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 9 a.m. at the Paradee Center in Dover, followed by a potluck lunch at noon. Registration for the “Friends of Ag Breakfast” is $20 and advance registration is preferred.

For more information on Delaware Ag Week, visit the website.

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Jan. 20: Friends of Ag Breakfast

December 13, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Gov. Jack Markell and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper will speak at a Friends of Ag Breakfast on Jan. 20, beginning at 7:15 a.m. This special Friends of Ag Breakfast is being held in conjunction with Delaware Ag Week, which runs Jan. 16-21.

The breakfast will take place at the Harrington Fire Company, located near the Delaware State Fairgrounds, where most Ag Week activities will be held.

In his talk, Markell will emphasize the important role that Delaware agriculture plays in the state’s economy and in its quality of life. He also will acknowledge the Young Farmer’s program, a brand-new initiative that reduces the capital investment for young people looking to set up an agribusiness.

Carper has chosen to reflect on the accomplishments of Delaware’s Nutrient Management Commission and the role that the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the University of Delaware have played in creating one of the most effective nutrient management programs in the nation.

Ag Week is presented annually by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture. The Friends of Ag Breakfast is held three times throughout the year and is sponsored by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension.

Ag Week, now in its seventh year, draws farmers, agriculture industry professionals, Cooperative Extension specialists, research scientists and others together to exchange information and ideas. This year, presentations will be made on bumblebee pollination research in Delaware’s watermelon crop, labor issues for produce growers, grain marketing, maximizing forage utilization, and much more.

This season’s Friends of Ag Breakfast series ends on March 16 with a presentation by state Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. He will speak about the state of agriculture in Delaware and give an update about state Department of Agriculture activities. This breakfast will be held at the Modern Maturity Center, 1121 Forrest Avenue in Dover.

Both Friends of Ag Breakfasts begin at 7:15 a.m. and registration is $20. To register for one or both events, call Alice Moore at 302-831-2504. For more information about Ag Week programs, visit this website.

Article by Margo McDonough

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Jan. 18-23: Gov. Markell declares Ag Week in Delaware

January 14, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Gov. Jack Markell has declared the week of January 18-23 to be Delaware Agriculture Week and urges all residents of the state to celebrate and understand Delaware’s modern agricultural industry and to thank the hard working men and women of Delaware agriculture.

The fifth annual Ag Week is sponsored by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

The sponsors and many partners will give the agricultural community an excellent opportunity to come together to share knowledge on a host of topics crucial to sustaining Delaware’s vital agricultural industry. A weeklong series of workshops and sessions will be held primarily at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington.

For general information, program details, and session and presentation locations, check the Ag Week Web site or contact Emmalea Ernest at (302) 856-7303 or [emmalea@udel.edu].

Ed Kee, Delaware secretary of agriculture, said, “I am really pleased to see Ag Week become a tradition in Delaware. Agriculture brings more than $1 billion to Delaware’s coffers. This is because our producers and our industry constantly search for and implement ways to improve their methods, to be better stewards of our natural resources, and to provide top quality produce, poultry, meats, and other agricultural products.”

Kee continued, “The continued growth in participation since the first Ag Week in 2006 is a testament to the agricultural community’s commitment to excellence. Last year we had more than 1500 participants.”

Presenters will include local farmers; commodity boards, associations and councils; the agricultural industry; agencies of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); state agencies; local and regional universities from Delaware, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey and Virginia; NASA; and the Delaware Geological Survey.

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