UD to host viewing of new documentary showcasing Delaware agriculture

April 11, 2013 under CANR News

From early settlers to modern satellite systems, the history and future of Delaware agriculture are highlighted in a new documentary sponsored by the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) and the Delaware Humanities Forum.

Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) fraternity will partner with the Delaware Department of Agriculture and the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) to host a public showing of the film at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 16, in Multipurpose Rooms A/B of the Trabant University Center.  UD students, faculty and the public are invited to attend.

The 30-minute film, Delaware Agriculture: Farming in the First State, introduces viewers to the history of the state’s agricultural industry and the depth and breadth of modern-day farming. It features decades of historic photographs and new interviews with six Delaware farmers and footage of their apple orchards, grain farms, poultry operations and more.

“Farming in Delaware has a long and proud history, matched only by the strength and success of our farmers today,” said Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, an agricultural historian and UD alumnus who narrates the film. “This documentary will help introduce Delaware residents to their farmers and neighbors next door, building awareness about the contributions and challenges of agriculture today.”

After the film, several Delaware farmers will discuss the future of Delaware agriculture in a panel moderated by Kee, joined by Mark Rieger, CANR dean. Speaking will be

  • Jim Mitchell, Hockessin, dairy farmer and owner of Woodside Creamery;
  • Larry Jester, Middletown, grain producer; and
  • Georgiana Cartanza, Dover, poultry producer.

The film was created and produced by Wilmington-based TELEDUCTION and its nonprofit initiative, Hearts and Minds Film. The Delaware Farm Bureau and MidAtlantic Farm Credit also provided support.

It features farmers Stanley C. West of Milford, a lima bean grower; Jim and Janet Mitchell of Woodside Farm Creamery, Hockessin; Curt Fifer of Fifer Orchards, Camden-Wyoming; Charlie Smith of T.S. Smith and Sons, Bridgeville; Mark Collins of DMC Farms, Laurel, a watermelon grower; Charles Postles of Milford, a poultry farmer; Larry and Mike Jester of Jester Farms, grain farmers from Middletown; and Brandon and Ashley Bonk of Wheel of Fortune Farm, Leipsic.

It also highlights historic images from the Delaware Public Archives and footage from the Historic Lewes Farmers’ Market, the Delaware State Fair and the Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village.

“The video shows the history and the very diverse agriculture systems in the state. It highlights many broad issues concerning Delaware agriculture as well as highlighting the powerhouse that Delaware is regarding its agriculture industries,” said Shaw Civitarese, AGR brother. “We hope that the UD community and other Delawareans will join us and connect their food to their farmers.”

For more information about the film, visit the Delaware Department of Agriculture website.

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Delaware jockeys help expand nutrition education program for riders

June 21, 2012 under Cooperative Extension

Delaware jockeys are continuing their support of a nutrition program to help improve jockey health and safety on the state’s racetracks with a donation Wednesday.

The Delaware Jockeys Health and Welfare Fund presented $1,000 to the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension to continue an initiative begun in 2009 to improve jockey nutrition.

With jockeys facing strict weight limits to participate in races and not impede their horses, many riders can develop eating disorders or practice other unhealthy behaviors to get their weight down before races. Such practices can hinder their riding abilities and safety on the horse, said John F. Wayne, executive director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission.

“This program helps educate jockeys about the risks to their health and the health of their horses,” Wayne said. “Healthy riders are safer riders, and we all want races to be safe.”

The donation made Wednesday will provide new jockeys with information to make healthy choices in their daily diets. The nutrition education effort was launched in 2009 with a study by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and a collaboration with the Delaware Jockey Health and Welfare Benefit Board and the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. An advisory committee of current and former jockeys was appointed to help meet riders’ needs.

“I am not aware of any other nutrition education program in the U.S. for jockeys,” said Dr. Sue Snider, a professor and food safety and nutrition specialist with the University of Delaware. “During the program offered by UD Cooperative Extension, jockeys are encouraged to eat small amounts of food throughout the day, especially in the morning.  Based on our original survey, the average jockey consumes around 1,000 calories a day.  The program focuses on getting the most nutrients for the fewest calories.”

Dr. Michelle Rodgers, associate dean and director of UD Cooperative Extension, said: “Helping individuals apply nutrition concepts to meet their diet and health needs has been a long standing component of Extension programming. However, this is a new audience with some specific needs for us to work with.”

The Delaware Jockeys Health and Welfare Benefit Board oversees management of a $350,000 fund each year, offsetting health and welfare costs for participating riders. Half of the money comes from track video lottery funds and half from the Horsemen’s Purse Account. Delaware Park also has a $1 million on-track injury policy in force, covering riders injured during racing, and has the option to accept an additional $1 million on-track policy for $4 per mount, with the other portion of the premium covered by the Jockeys Health and Welfare Fund.

Article courtesy of the Delaware Department of Agriculture

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March 3: Community gardens

February 6, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Are you interested in starting or maintaining a community or school garden? Experts from the University of Delaware, Delaware Department of Agriculture, Delaware Center for Horticulture and Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids will hold an information session on Saturday, March 3, from 9 a.m. to noon, for interested educators, community members and gardeners.

The session will highlight successful, local garden projects and provide information to help participants in their community or school garden, whether that’s a vegetable garden, nature trail or butterfly garden.

“A workshop like this is long overdue,” says Carrie Murphy, educator for ornamental horticulture withUD Cooperative Extension.  “For the last two to three years, we’ve seen a major influx of phone calls, emails and in-person questions about starting and maintaining school and community gardens. Through the workshop, we hope to not only give people the resources that they need, but also give them a space to network with each other.”

In addition to expert presentations, Master Gardeners will have displays on a variety of topics including water conservation, soil testing, attracting pollinators and more.

The information session will be held in 132 Townsend Hall on the University of Delaware campus.  Townsend Hall is located at 531 South College Avenue in Newark.

To register, call or email Murphy at 302-831-2506 or cjmurphy@udel.edu.  Preregistration is required, but the workshop fee of $5 will be collected at the door.  Participants are asked to bring their own mugs for coffee.

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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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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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Therapeutic community garden offers natural relief

December 6, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

When we’re having a bad day, many of us intuitively seek relief in nature, whether that means a hike in the woods, quick stroll through the park, or merely adding a green plant to an otherwise sterile work cubicle.

Scientists would say we’re doing the right thing. A slew of studies indicate that interaction with nature reduces stress and anger, improves cognitive performance and increases one’s sense of connection to the world.

For those who are experiencing more than just a bad day and suffer from depression or other mental illnesses, the benefits of nature may be even greater.

Recently, Cooperative Extension and the Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture at the University of Delaware began helping clients of the state’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) enjoy the uplifting benefits of nature. They developed plans for a therapeutic and community garden on DHSS’s Herman M. Holloway, Sr., Campus in New Castle.

Partners in the project include UD’s Center for Disabilities Studies, Delaware Department of Agriculture, Delaware Center for Horticulture and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The Longwood Fellows took on the garden design as their annual professional outreach project. But even before a single design was sketched, Extension and Department of Agriculture professionals got to work on an education program for the clients.

“We offered workshops to develop interest in gardening,” says Carrie Murphy, horticulture agent for New Castle County Extension. “There was already a lot of interest; in fact, the clients wanted to begin growing vegetables immediately. So we designed and planted a 20- by 30-foot vegetable garden at the Holloway campus this past summer and showed the clients how to prep the soil, plant, weed, compost and harvest.”

First-year crops included popcorn, pumpkins, sweet corn and sunflowers.

Thursday has become “Garden Day” when Extension and Department of Agriculture staff and Master Gardeners offer structured activities at the Holloway campus.

One week, Master Gardener Hetty Francke gave a composting demonstration, another week entomologist Brian Kunkel discussed how to tackle garden pests. Even now, as winter draws near, Garden Day continues. One recent Thursday, Department of Agriculture entomologist Heather Disque gave a talk on where bees spend the cold-weather months.

Holloway clients and employees provided input into the therapeutic garden’s design.

The Longwood Fellows organized a design charrette, a brainstorming session with Holloway clients and other stakeholders, as well as representatives from the professional horticulture community. The fellows also held informal focus groups on the Holloway campus.

One thing they quickly discovered, says Longwood Fellow Rebecca Pineo, was the clients’ wish to memorialize individuals buried in a nearby potter’s field. So the garden design maintains open sight lines to this field from the main garden area. In addition, the clients will be creating garden art in on-site ceramic studios; some of these works may be utilized for memorial purposes.

Before hitting the drawing board, the fellows also researched existing therapeutic gardens. A few traveled to the Buehler Enabling Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden, which is considered a model in engaging people of all abilities in gardening. And all 10 fellows visited Philadelphia’s Friends Hospital, which has had a therapeutic garden on site since 1817.

The final design that the Longwood Fellows created splits the one-acre garden into quadrants that feature raised beds and green walls. One quadrant will have a slate wall for chalk art, an idea suggested by clients. The design also includes a woodland walk, an avenue of mixed-species trees and two shaded plazas, which can be used for everything from picnic lunches to workshops. Smaller, semi-enclosed seating nooks appear perfect for contemplation.

Sustainable landscaping practices were incorporated into every facet of the garden design, says the Department of Agriculture’s Faith Kuehn, a project leader. The garden design includes native plants whenever possible, uses some recycled materials for garden hardscapes, designates rain collection in barrels and by other means, incorporates a composting station and utilizes solar and other green technologies.

“This project helped me learn about working with a lot of different people,” says Pineo. “We had multiple partners and each partner brought different work styles, perspectives and creativity. It was challenging but it was a good lesson in the strength you can get from partnerships.”

“It’s been a win-win situation for all involved,” says Bob Lyons, director of the Longwood Graduate Program. “The therapeutic and community garden has great potential to improve the experience of the clients of the Holloway campus; it also served to grow the fellows’ experience in coordinating focus groups, design charrettes and conceptual designs.”

Although the educational piece of the project is well underway, the therapeutic garden is still just a design on paper. The project team is seeking donations and grants.

To learn more about the garden, contact Murphy at [cjmurphy@udel.edu] or (302) 831-COOP or Kuehn at [Faith.Kuehn@state.de.us] or (302) 698-4587.

Article by Margo McDonough

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Nov. 10: UD, state to host issues forum about Chesapeake Bay

November 3, 2010 under CANR News, Events

The Chesapeake Bay is a national focal point for water quality issues. New environmental regulations will require Delaware and the other five bay states — Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York — and the District of Columbia to significantly reduce pollution entering the bay and its tributaries.

These rigorous federal and state program aims to restore the bay’s water quality by 2025.

Because the two main pollutants that are under consideration are nitrogen and phosphorous, agricultural entities in Delaware and the other bay states have a vital role in this process.

On Wednesday, Nov. 10, Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, the Delaware Department of Agriculture and the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources will host an agricultural issues forum to address agricultural and environmental concerns surrounding the health of the Chesapeake Bay as it relates to water quality.

“The Intersection of Agriculture, the Environment and the Chesapeake Bay” will be held in the Trabant University Center Multipurpose Room A from 7-9 p.m.

“The goal of this event is to bring awareness to one of the major environmental issues in our area,” says Craig Parker, president of Alpha Gamma Rho. “We hope that UD students, faculty, and other community members will join us to learn about the issues from everyone involved.”

The program will be moderated by Ed Kee, secretary of the Delaware Department of Agriculture, who is also a CANR alumnus and former UD employee.

Kee will be joined by science and regulatory advisors Rick Batiuk, science adviser for the Chesapeake Bay Program, and Kathy Bunting-Howarth, director of the Division of Water at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Industry and government panelists for the evening include:

* Steve Schwalb, vice president, Environmental Sustainability, Perdue Farms;
* Shawn Garvin, regional administrator for Region III, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);
* Dave Baker, farmer and member of Delaware Nutrient Management Commission; and
* Jim Borel, executive vice president, DuPont.

The forum will conclude with networking and free UDairy Creamery ice cream.

For more information call (302) 831-1355 or send email to [kvo@udel.edu].

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Twilight Tour with Bees

August 23, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) and UD Cooperative Extension are presenting a Twilight Tour with Bees from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM on Monday, August 30, 2010, at Lister Acres, 5417 Milford-Harrington Highway, Harrington, Delaware.

DDA and UD staff will have tour stops demonstrating the importance of healthy, abundant bee populations to Delaware’s fruit and vegetable crops, the diversity of native bees found in the state, and farm management to enhance pollinator conservation.

The speakers from DDA include Entomologist Heather Harmon Disque, State Apiarist Bob Mitchell from DDA. Assistant Professor Dr. Debbie Delaney, Extension Entomologist Joanne Whalen, and Vegetable Specialist Gordon Johnson are among the speakers from UD. Funding for the event is provided by a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant.

The nearly 4,000 species of bees found in the United States are the premier pollinators of fruit and vegetable crops, as well as a wide variety of native plants. Protecting and conserving bees is vital to our food supply and our quality of life.

The Twilight Tour with Bees is the culminating event in the four-year long SARE grant funded pollinator initiative (Farming for Native Bees) undertaken by DDA and UD. From 2006-2010, several thousand native bees were collected from vegetable farms as well as state parks and lands. These bees represent more than 100 species. Of these, 18 were state records, namely bees that had not been collected in the state before. Assessments of bee population diversity, and pollinator conservation farming practices were conducted on 15 farms. The project also produced two publications, “Delaware Native Plants for Native Bees” and “Farm Management for Native Bees”, funded by NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service). The host of the Twilight Tour, Chuck Hurd, was chosen as the 2008 National Pollinator Conservationist of the Year by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign. For information on attending the event, contact DDA at 302-698-4577.

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June 10: Transitioning to Organics Workshop

May 19, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

The Delaware Organic Food and Farming Association will host a workshop, “Transitioning to Organics,” and June business meeting on Thursday, June 10, 2010 from 6-9 p.m. at the New Castle County Cooperative Extension Office (461 Wyoming Road, Newark, Del.).

Come and listen to Dr. Joseph Heckman from Rutgers University give an interesting and enlightening talk about the history and philosophy of organic farming. We’ll also have a presentation on the organic certification process followed by a business meeting for our DOFFA membership. Anyone wishing to stay or join our organization is welcome.

This workshop is free and everyone interested in attending is welcome.  To register, request more information or if you require special needs assistance for this meeting, please call our office in advance at (302) 831-2506.

The event is co-sponsored by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and a grant from the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

 It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age or national origin.

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Delaware Secretary of Agriculture to Speak at March Friends of Ag Breakfast

February 19, 2010 under CANR News

Ed Kee will be the featured speaker at the Friends of Agriculture Breakfast to be held March 19 in Dover. Kee is the Delaware Secretary of Agriculture and a former vegetable specialist for University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. Kee will speak about current conditions in agriculture in the First State as well as national and international trends.

“Ed Kee is a highly regarded public servant, a former colleague and a personal friend,” says Dr. Jan Seitz, associate dean and director of University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. “I look forward to what promises to be an engaging and informative Ag Breakfast.”

The Friends of Agriculture Breakfast will be held at the Modern Maturity Center, 1121 Forrest Avenue in Dover, beginning at 7:15 a.m. Registration is $20. For more information, or to register, call Alice Moore at 302-831-2504.

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