Food safety GAP/GHP trainings for produce growers, handlers

February 25, 2015 in Feature, Kent County Slideshow, New Castle County Slideshow

Delaware Cooperative Extension Announces Food Safety Trainings for 2015

A two track training on food safety practices that reduce the risk of foodborne illness when growing fruits and vegetables. The first session (3 hours) is for those farmers who only grow produce while the second track expands the principles learned in track one to include further processing such as washing and packing of the product for sale.

The class, taught by a team of Extension Agriculture and Family and Consumer Science Educators, offers farmers a Delaware Department of Agriculture certificate for completion of food safety training.

Click to register for GAP/GHP Food Safety courses

In 2015, three basic training opportunities will be offered for produce growers on food safety and good agricultural practices and good handling practices (GAP’s and GHP’s) by Delaware Cooperative Extension. Training covers microbial food contaminants, outbreaks associated with produce, how produce becomes contaminated, Good Agricultural Practices in the field (water sources; animals, manures, and compost; field sanitation; and worker hygiene) and Good Handling Practices from harvest to sales (packing area sanitation, worker hygiene, storage, handling, and shipping).

For growers who have attended previous trainings, we are having two update sessions which will provide the latest information on produce food safety science, industry actions, audit requirements, and the status of the upcoming FDA-FSMA produce regulations. A portion of the session will be spent on proposed water sampling requirements and irrigation water treatment options.

All Sessions will be held at University of Delaware County Extension Offices
New Castle: 461 Wyoming Road, Newark, DE 19716— Kent: 69 Transportation Circle Dover, DE 19901—
Sussex: 16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown, DE 19947

Dates and Locations:

Basic and wholesale sessions for those who have not attended training in the past:

NEW CASTLE COUNTY – April 16, 6-9 p.m. basic session. Phone (302) 831-2667 to register. Register online.

KENT COUNTY – March 19, 9 a.m.-noon for the basic session with an additional 3 hours for those selling to wholesalers from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Phone (302) 730-4000 to register. Register online.

SUSSEX COUNTY – March 18, 6-9 p.m. for the basic session with an additional 3 hour session for those selling to wholesalers on March 30 from 6-9 p.m. Phone (302) 856-7303 to register. Register online.

Update sessions for those that have already attended trainings:

KENT COUNTY – March 20, 9 a.m.-noon. Phone (302) 730-4000 to register. Register online.

SUSSEX COUNTY – March 24, 6-9 p.m. Phone (302) 856-7303 to register. Register online.

For more information you may also contact Gordon Johnson via email or by calling 302-545-2397

For more information on farm food safety audits, click here >>

Delaware 4-H alumni check in to win state $10K in STEM funds

February 20, 2015 in Feature, Kent County, Kent County Slideshow, New Castle County, New Castle County Slideshow

Delaware 4-H Invites Local Alumni to Check In, Help Youth Win $10,000 Science Sponsorship

CHECK IN HERE!  www.4-H.org/4HGROWN

Tell your friends on social media. Use #4HGrown

Tell your friends on social media. Use #4HGrown

UPDATE: Feb. 10, 2015. Delaware 4-H is currently leading the nation to win the $10,000 Science  Scholarship! Following in second place is West Virginia 4-H, and in third place is Maine 4-H.

January 20, 2015 – Delaware 4-H announced today they are competing in a national contest to win a $10,000 “Innovation Incubator” Science Sponsorship. Local 4-H alumni will determine the outcome.

The contest is part of the 4-H GROWN Alumni Campaign, sponsored by National 4-H Council and HughesNet. The interactive campaign invites the estimated 25 million 4-H alumni across the U.S. to help direct sponsorship funding by checking in, tagging friends and casting votes to bring more science innovation experiences to youth in their hometown communities.

When a local 4-H alum “checks-in” at www.4-h.org/4hgrown , Delaware will get one vote closer to winning the $10,000 “Innovation Incubator” Science Sponsorship for the state. With the sponsorship, 4-H leaders will engage local youth in hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities, and will challenge them to design innovative solutions to solve a real community problem.

If Delaware wins a sponsorship, up to two local young innovators will also have a chance to receive an all-expenses paid trip to the flagship 4-H National Youth Science Day event in Washington, D.C., where they will participate in the world’s largest youth-led science experiment.

“We see every day the impact of 4-H in growing confident, caring and capable young people who are skilled for life today and prepared for careers tomorrow,” said Doug Crouse, interim 4-H project leader at Delaware 4-H. “This is an exciting chance for 4-H alumni who also understand the life-changing 4-H experience to help us reach more young people and show them that STEM can be rewarding and fun.”

Through 4-H GROWN, local alumni will also re-connect with the local 4-H that helped them succeed and with a network of millions of 4-Hers around the world.

National 4-H Council and HughesNet are offering this opportunity through their collaboration to spark more youth interest in STEM. The partnership brings hands-on STEM learning experiences to youth across the country, with a focus on small communities where resources for interactive STEM learning are limited.

To check in as a 4-H alum and help Delaware win an “Innovation Incubator” Science Sponsorship, visit www.4-H.org/4HGROWN.

 

To learn more about the National 4-H Council and HughesNet partnership, visit www.hughesnet.com/4h.

 

21 named as 2014 Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame laureates

August 29, 2014 in Feature, Kent County, New Castle County

Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame logo
The Delaware 4-H Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of the 2014 class of laureates to the Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be held on Friday, October 3, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino. Tickets for the event will be available to the public beginning August 1 on the State 4-H website and reservations deadline is September 25, 2014. Please join us in congratulating these incredible people who have made Delaware 4-H not only the largest youth development program in the state with 41,000 members yearly, but also the most effective, based on data from the Tufts Study of Positive Youth Development. Following the names of the laureates are pictures from the inaugural 2012 Hall of Fame Ceremony.

 

2014 Laureates (in alphabetical order)

Frances Clinton* and Earl Clinton* – Kent County

H. Wallace Cook, Jr. (Hap) – New Castle County

H. Wallace Cook, Sr. (Wallace)* – New Castle County

Susan Benson Cox* – Kent County

Jane Everline* – Kent County

Lola Gibbs* – Kent County

Betty Lou Gooden* – Kent County

Jay Hukill – Sussex County

Carlene Jones – Sussex County

Ruth Ann Messick and Robert Messick* – Kent County

Frances Millman* – Sussex County

Sally Moller* – Kent County

Patricia Shaffer* – New Castle County

Barbara Taylor* – Sussex County

Grace V. Tinley* – Kent County

William (Bill) and Ellen Vanderwende – Sussex County

Carole Vincent – Sussex County

Betty Jo (BJ) Van Kavelaar – Kent County

* Deceased

Enjoy these photos from the first Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame ceremony in 2012:

 

 

 

Fruit and Vegetable Open House – August 21, 2014

August 12, 2014 in Agriculture and Natural Resources, Feature, Kent County, Kent County Slideshow

Watermelons and lima beans will be featured among many other topics

Watermelons and lima beans will be featured among many other topics

Join the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension members of the agricultural community to see and hear about many of the UD’s Extension Vegetable and Fruit Program’s field research projects from the 2014 season. The program will be held on Thursday, August 21, 2014, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Carvel Research and Education Center, 16483 County Seat Highway in Georgetown. Program highlights:

  • Watermelons: seedless variety trial, pollenizers, growth regulators, compost, irrigation, root stocks, hollow heart
  • Sweet Corn: processing corn nitrogen, tillage trials
  • Lima Beans: tillage, stress mitigation, rhizobium inoculants, regrowth cropping, variety evaluation and breeding for pole, Fordhook and baby lima types will be discussedPickles: parthenocarpic and gynoecious variety trials
  • Other: onion variety trials, zucchini variety trials
  • Fruit: blueberries, grapes, blackberries

We will also have graduate students on hand to discuss their research in these areas: Phytophthora capsici in lima beans, root knot nematodes in lima beans, and watermelon fruit set.

Dinner featuring local produce will be served. This program is sponsored by the Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware. Please pre-register by contacting Karen Adams at 302-856-2585 ext 540.

UD Irrigation Field Day – Wednesday, August 20, 2014

July 11, 2014 in Cooperative Extension Scholars, Feature, Kent County, Kent County Slideshow

Visitors at UD Warrington Farm hear a presentation about subsurface irrigation in 2012

Visitors at UD Warrington Farm hear a presentation about subsurface irrigation in 2012

The University of Delaware College of Agriculture & Natural Resources and Delaware Cooperative Extension will hold an Irrigation Field Day on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Warrington Irrigation Research Farm located on the corners of Route 5 and DE 290 Cool Spring Road/Hurdle Ditch Road, just 4 miles south of Harbeson, Del. (Signs will be posted.) Link to Google Map  The program will last approximately two hours.

The program invites farmers, industry professionals and the general public to tour UD’s Warrington Irrigation Research Farm. UD personnel will be sharing their latest irrigation research findings

  • Irrigated Corn, Wheat, Full Season and Double Crop  Soybean Irrigation Research Plots
  • Experiences with Subsurface Drip Irrigation for Agronomic Crops (SDI)
  • Soil Moisture Monitoring as a Tool to Refine Irrigation Management
  • Variable Rate Center Pivot Irrigation (VRI)

For more information contact Karen Adams at 302-856-2585 ext.  540

Research Sponsored by DNREC, Delaware Soybean Board, MD Grain Producers, NRCS and Vincent Farms. This event replaces a previously advertised date of Sept. 19.

Nutrient Management Credits Offered at Upcoming Pasture Walks

May 19, 2014 in Agriculture and Natural Resources, Feature, Kent County, Kent County Slideshow, New Castle County, New Castle County Slideshow

pasture-walkThe University of Delaware Cooperative Extension is offering pasture walks in two locations this spring.  Participants will have the opportunity to earn nutrient management and pesticide certification credits.  The first walk is being held on May 28th from 6:30-8:30 pm and is being hosted at the farm of Rick and Kim Vincent of Harrington and the second walk will be on June 4th from 6:30-9:00 pm at the University of Delaware’s Webb Farm in Newark.  Program agendas are listed below.  Participants are welcome to bring a plant or weed sample with them for identification.  Please pre-register if you plan on attending either program.

For more information click through to the new Animal Science with Extension blog.

May 28th Pasture Walk Hosted by Rick and Kim Vincent

3427 Burnite Mill Rd. Harrington, DE 19952

6:30-8:30 pm

Salt-tolerant crop shows promise as chicken bedding, helping farmers with flooded fields

March 31, 2014 in Feature, Kent County, Kent County Slideshow

volkJack Gallagher grew up on a farm, but he never cared much for the squawking chickens pecking around. The Pennsylvania farm boy gravitated toward the coastline, where he built a career studying salt marsh vegetation as a marine scientist in the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE).

Yet the professor emeritus of marine biosciences has returned to his agricultural roots, having found a potential new use for salt marsh plants: chicken bedding.

“I never thought I’d be involved with chickens,” Gallagher said. “That’s the exciting thing about research: You never know where it’s going to lead.”

With funding from Delaware Sea Grant and private supporters, Gallagher has long studied seashore mallow, a salt-tolerant, flowering plant found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. His research may end up helping not only chickens, but also farmers facing saltwater damage to their fields from worsening coastal flooding.

In a new partnership with UD Cooperative Extension, the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN), Delaware Wild Lands, CEOE, Delaware Sea Grant and others, Gallagher and his wife, retired CEOE research scientist Denise Seliskar, will help grow seashore mallow for testing as an alternative material for poultry house bedding.

The team will plant seashore mallow in areas where flooding has left soil salty and difficult to raise traditional crops like soybeans. According to recent estimates, sea level is rising rapidly in Delaware compared to the rest of the country, and up to 11 percent of the state’s total land area may be inundated by the end of the century. Farmers’ fields are already starting to flood more often, become inarable due to salinization and get taken over by invasive plants like Phragmites australis.

Gallagher initially began studying seashore mallow as a natural way to mitigate against such saltwater contamination. Seashore mallow can serve as a buffer plant against coastal flooding, with the plant fending off Phragmites and its deep root system fighting erosion. Seashore mallow is attractive for planting in new areas because it has large seeds that are easy to harvest and mechanically plant.

Gallagher and Seliskar planted two seashore mallow test plots about 10 years ago, one at UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus and the other at a nearby family farm in Lewes, the latter of which was the first effort to scale a planting to use commercial farm equipment. Since then, they have investigated a multitude of uses for seashore mallow.

The seeds contain a high percentage of oil, making them a potential source for biodiesel feedstock — and the remaining seed meal usable as feed for cattle and fish. Other harvestable materials from seashore mallow include nectar for honey, thread for cloth and animal bedding.

“We’ve gotten a lot of different products out of the plant,” Gallagher said.

The 2010 BP oil spill inspired a volunteer researcher in his lab to explore seashore mallow’s absorbency, finding it to be effective at soaking up oil. Next, they and a U.S. Department of Agriculture partner in Illinois considered the plant as a base material for biodegradable kitty litter and hydromulch.

That sparked an idea among colleagues at UD.

“We started to say, ‘Well, if it has potential as an animal bedding, could that animal be chickens?’” said Jennifer Volk, a CEOE graduate and extension specialist for environmental quality and management with Cooperative Extension, pointing out that the poultry industry is an important economic sector in the Delmarva Peninsula.

Volk, Gallagher, UD Cooperative Extension’s Bill Brown and others will conduct a trial this spring, comparing seashore mallow bedding to pine shavings, the traditional material that has become increasingly costly and harder to find. They will also compare to two other bedding alternatives, Miscanthus and switchgrass.

The seashore mallow is chopped into roughly 1-inch pieces, making fluffy flakes to spread on the floor of poultry houses. The researchers will monitor the materials’ absorbency and the health of the chickens over the course of the study.

At the request of Delaware Wild Lands, DENIN helped bring the various partners together for early meetings on the project. Two DENIN Environmental Scholars are helping with the project as interns: CEOE undergraduate Harry Colmorgen will map agricultural land vulnerable to Delaware Bay flooding, and Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics student Andrew Flemming will work on land-use agreements with property owners in Kent County.

“This is a truly interdisciplinary kind of project,” said Jeanette Miller, DENIN’s associate director of interdisciplinary programs. “If farmers in Delaware are able to grow a native plant like seashore mallow as an alternative to crops that are no longer suited for salt-impacted agricultural land, that would be a huge boon.”

With support from Delaware Sea Grant, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and additional grants, the project aims to plant 10 acres of seashore mallow by the spring of 2015. The team is looking at planted on land owned by Delaware Wild Lands.

In the process of the cross-University effort, Gallagher said he is finding himself interested to learn about the finer points of raising chickens. Bedding needs to sop away uric acid so the birds’ feet do not get irritated, while also insulating them from the ground. The litter also can’t be too dry, which can cause dehydration and respiratory illnesses.

It took a few decades, but the feathered flocks have started to grow on him.

“I like them better now,” Gallagher said with a chuckle.

Property owners of salt-impacted land who are interested in participating in the project can contact Jennifer Volk at jennvolk@udel.edu or 302-730-4000.

Article by Teresa Messmore

Article can also be found on UDaily.

Delaware 4-H’ers Compete at State 4-H Horse Bowl Competition

March 14, 2014 in 4-H Youth Development, Feature, Kent County, Kent County Slideshow

85 Delaware 4-H members representing 26 teams competed recently in the State 4-H Horse Bowl Competition held at Lake Forest North Elementary in Felton, Delaware.  The Horse Bowl event is a knowledge- based, quiz bowl competition.  The Delaware 4-H Horse Advisory Committee, a group composed of 4-H volunteers from all three Delaware counties that are dedicated to providing quality 4-H horse programs to members, sponsors this annual event. Members compete on teams of up to four individuals and teams are divided into brackets based on age.  4-H volunteer adult leaders coach young people to prepare them in the months leading up to the competition.  41 Delaware 4-H volunteers assisted with the Horse Bowl event.

The top three teams in each age division were:

Beginner (8-10 year olds)

1st Place– Mini Stars- Sussex County

Team Members: Ruby Phillips, Layne Smith

Coaches: Jodie Gravenor, Heather Smith

Beginner Team-Palomino Ponies- competing L to R- Alexia Carroll, Cheyenne Bowman, Donne Mullins, Paige Taylor

Beginner Team-Palomino Ponies- competing L to R- Alexia Carroll, Cheyenne Bowman, Donne Mullins, Paige Taylor

2nd Place– Palomino Ponies, Sussex County

Team Members:  Cheyenne Bowman, Alexia Carroll, Donna Mullins, Paige Taylor

Coach:  Heather Taylor

3rd Place- Stable Minds- Kent County

Team Members: Bethany Butler, Alex Docherty, Ally Smith, Ashton Stafford

Coaches: Heather Crouse, Stacy Stafford

New Horizons 4-H club senior team competing L to R- Chad Dempsey, Peyton Ridgely, Ashley Hurd

New Horizons 4-H club senior team competing L to R- Chad Dempsey, Peyton Ridgely, Ashley Hurd

Junior (11-13 year olds)

1st Place- Boots “N” Spurs- Sussex County

Team Members: Katelyn Records, Garrett Smith

Coach: Heather Records

2nd Place– Westville Wicked Riders- Kent County

Team Members: McKenna Corbeil, Maggie Kling

Coach: Brittany Blacksten, Laura Pomatto

1st Place Senior Team- Buckin Beauties-  L to R Rebecca Arpie, Jackie Arpie, Whitney Records, Mikayla Ockels

1st Place Senior Team- Buckin Beauties- L to R Rebecca Arpie, Jackie Arpie, Whitney Records, Mikayla Ockels

3rd Place– Hearts-4-Horses- Kent County

Team Members: Rebekah Baughman, Nicole Cannavo, Ashlyn North, Donna Urian

Coach: Betsy Cannavo, Lee Halloran

Senior (14-19 year olds)

1st Place– Buckin’ Beauties- Sussex County

Team Members: Jackie Arpie, Rebecca Arpie, Mikayla Ockels, Whitney Records

Coach: Cindy Ockels

2nd Place– Hearts-4-Horses-Kent County

Team Members: Lexi Bloxom, Haley Reynolds, Hannah Ziccarelli

Coach: Rosemary Baughman, Connie Edwards

2nd Place Senior Team- Hearts-4-Horses- L to R Hannah Ziccarelli, Lexi Blocksom, Haley Reynolds

2nd Place Senior Team- Hearts-4-Horses- L to R Hannah Ziccarelli, Lexi Blocksom, Haley Reynolds

3rd Place– Holler-N-Hooves 4-H Club- Kent County

Team Members: Sara Deason, Katie Messick

Coaches: Sharon Little

4-H is a community of young people across Delaware learning leadership, citizenship and lifeskills.  Join the Revolution of Responsibility!  For more information on becoming a 4-H member or volunteer in Delaware please contact your county extension office:

New Castle County: (302)831-8965

Kent County: (302)730-4000

Sussex County: (302)856-7303

Kent County Master Gardener Plant Sale

March 6, 2014 in Kent County, Kent County Slideshow

Kent Master Gardener Plant SaleWash away memories of this winter and join Kent County Master Gardener’s at the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale to be held April 26, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Delaware State University Greenhouse.
The plant sale benefits the Kent Master Gardener Scholarship Fund and will include annuals, perennials, herbs, shrubs, vegetable and native plants. This is a plant-a-holic’s dream sale!

Scholarship Information   The Kent Master Gardeners will be awarding three scholarships this year to students studying Agriculture or Agriculture related courses. The Master Gardeners raise the money for the scholarships at their annual plant sale held on the last Saturday in April at Delaware State University. In order to be eligible for the scholarships the student must have a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. The applications must be received by May 30, 2014.  Applications have been sent to area high schools, private schools, charter schools and area colleges along with the Future Farmers of America. Information and applications can be obtained by calling the Kent County Cooperative Extension Office at 302-730-4000.

Kent County 4-H Basket Auction

March 4, 2014 in 4-H Youth Development, Kent County, Kent County Slideshow

16th Annual

Kent County 4-H Dinner & Basket Auction

Friday, March 28, 2014

Felton Fire Hall

Basket Preview – 6:00 p.m. Dinner – 7:00 p.m.

The Kent County 4-H program is again hosting a special evening of fellowship, great food and entertainment to benefit the Delaware 4-H Foundation. A Basket Preview at 6:00 p.m. will be followed by the famous Felton Fire Hall menu of fried oysters, chicken salad, dumplings, and all the trimmings at 7:00 p.m. 4-H Clubs and Friends of 4-H from across the county are creating baskets full of treasures that will be auctioned following dinner. A silent auction will also be part of the evening’s festivities.

Proceeds from the evening’s activities will be used by the Foundation to continue supporting a growing 4-H program in Delaware. The Foundation will use proceeds from the auction to continue to support many 4-H educational experiences for our young people. Scholarships to 4-H Camps, judging trips, and trips to National 4-H Congress and Conference are only a few of the opportunities made possible by generous supporters of the Delaware 4-H Foundation.

Tickets for the evening are $30.00. A limited number of “Tables for Eight” are also available. Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Kent County Extension Office at 302-730-4000. Reservations by mail must be made no later than March 18th by returning the attached form.

Save the date! Kent County Basket Auctions have generated over $215,000 in support for both the Kent County 4-H Program and the Delaware 4-H Foundation over the last 15 years. Join us on the 28th for another evening in this exciting series. Bring your checkbook or credit card and plan to join in the spirited bidding on a wide variety of items. Proceeds of the auction will benefit a terrific group of young people striving “To Make the Best Better.”