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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Ed Kee to be honored with UD’s Wall of Fame award

May 30, 2013 under CANR News

Ed Kee, Delaware Secretary of Agriculture and former UD Extension Specialist who received his bachelor’s degree from UD in 1973 and master’s degrees in 1975 and 1996, will be honored with UD’s Alumni Association’s Wall of Fame award on Saturday, June 1, at 4:30 p.m. in the Gore Recital Hall of the Roselle Center for the Arts.

The ceremony, part of UD’s Alumni Weekend activities, will be followed by a reception from 5:30-7 p.m. in the lobby. The event is open to the public and pre-registration is required online or by calling 302-831-2341.

In recognition of the many notable achievements of its alumni, the University and the University of Delaware Alumni Association established the Alumni Wall of Fame in 1984.

The Wall of Fame recognizes outstanding professional and public service achievements by UD graduates.

For a full list of this year’s Wall of Fame inductees, check out the article on UDaily.

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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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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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Stefanie Ralph excels at agricultural education

November 8, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Stefanie Ralph, a University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) alumnus, has been named the 2012 Smyrna School District Teacher of the Year. Ralph graduated in 2007 with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural education and technology with a concentration in natural resources, and with a minor in landscape horticulture.

Of the award, Ralph said, “Being chosen as the District Teacher of the Year is unquestionable the most extraordinary honor of my career, and I wish to express my gratitude.  I think, at some point, every teacher begins to question if they’re doing a good job, especially since it often goes unrecognized. Being selected restores my confidence as a teacher, and it’s encouraging to know that my colleagues believe that I’m doing a good job.”

Ralph teaches 7th grade Agriscience at Smyrna Middle School, and she said that she believes that the school is filled with great teachers.  “The entire faculty at Smyrna is highly qualified and all go above and beyond the call of duty,” said Ralph.

Ralph said that she finds teaching middle school challenging but rewarding at the same time. Reflecting how most students in that age range are still trying to find themselves, Ralph said that the students are “constantly trying on different personas. They need to know they are cared for and are needed. It is rewarding to obtain a trusting, meaningful rapport with students as they enthusiastically grow and mature from the first day they walk into my class.”

Having been involved in 4-H and FFA for 13 years, Ralph said that it has been a lifelong goal of hers to educate and promote awareness about the importance of agriculture to students who may be unaware about the critical role it plays in their day-to-day lives. “I believe that education is the foundation of success and through my course, students develop various life skills to become active, contributing citizens to today’s society,” said Ralph. “I became a teacher to not only make a difference in a child’s life, but to prepare students for the future, as they are the future.”

While she attended CANR, Ralph said that her education helped her learn about various aspects of the agriculture industry, from taking classes on animal science and plant and soil science to agribusiness and natural resource management, among others. “By taking these various courses, I was able to expand my knowledge base in the agriculture industry; thus preparing me to teach various courses as an agriculture educator,” said Ralph.

Ralph also noted that she particularly enjoyed her study abroad trip to New Zealand, where she learned about pastoral livestock production, and that she enjoyed professors such as Patricia Barber, a retired faculty member from the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, David Frey, associate professor and assistant Chair in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, and Ed Kee, retired University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Specialist and University alumnus.

The person who she originally learned about agriculture from, however, was her grandmother. “As a young girl, I remember helping my grandmother in her garden, digging in the dirt, having fun, not realizing at that time she was teaching me to appreciate our environment. She was planting the seeds for me to grow and aspire in a way to continue my journey to learn more about my passion for plants and agriculture.”

For any current students who are hoping to one day become teachers themselves, Ralph offered some words of wisdom stressing the importance of preparation and passion in teaching. “The advice I would give to a future teacher is to show your passion in your lessons and planning; show the students that you are there for them to learn and you will stop at nothing for them to succeed.”

Article by Adam Thomas

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Agricultural issues forum to consider issues, challenges in food marketing

March 19, 2012 under CANR News

An agricultural issues forum titled “Farm to Table: Issues and Challenges in Food Marketing” will be held from 7-8:30 p.m., Thursday, March 22, in Multipurpose Rooms A/B of the Trabant University Center.

The forum is being hosted by Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) fraternity, the Delaware Department of Agriculture and the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), and is the fraternity’s second agricultural issues forum. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

“We chose this topic for our second forum because we saw a need to discuss the growing need for food on this planet, and the challenges associated with marketing it effectively in order to successfully meet demand and quality nutrition,” says Craig Parker, president of Alpha Gamma Rho.

UD students, faculty and other community members are invited to attend.

Panelists for the program include:

  • Curt Fifer, Fifer Orchards, Wyoming, Del.;
  • Haile Johnston, co-founder and director, Philadelphia Common Market;
  • Ed Kee, cabinet secretary, Delaware Department of Agriculture, Dover, and a CANR alumnus and former UD employee; and
  • Bryan Silbermann, president and CEO, Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del.

For more information, email AGR brother Shaw Civitarese at shaw@udel.edu.

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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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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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