R&D key factors in farm future
MPGUB awards scholarships
CENTREVILLE — The future of farming is heavily dependent on continued research and development according to experts and speakers at the Mar yland Commodity Classic held Thursday, July 28, at the Queen Anne’s 4-H Park.
On Thursday morning, U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance representative Nancy Kavazanjian, of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, talked about “Sustainability — Smart Agricultural Business Practices.”
She emphasized that farmers should
“speak to the public about how they farm, what you do and don’t do, to reassure the public that you have standards and share concerns about quality foods being made available to consumers that are safe for consumption.”
She said today’s farmers have standards that match the concerns of the general public, such as: “1. water, soil, air, and habitat; 2. improving the environment around the farm; 3. limiting impact; 4. improving human health; 5. access for safe, nutritious food; 6. efficient land use; 7. (doing) more with less; 8. using new technologies — equipment and software; 9. making business more profitable through sustainability; and 10. sustainable food is affordable food.”
She was followed by Bob Kratochvil, extension agronomist at the University of Maryland, introducing the new Dean of Agriculture at the University of Mar yland, College Park, Dr. Craig Beyrouty. Beyrouty said very few people know UMD was founded as a “land grant university, with the mission of pursuing research and development for agriculture.”
He added, “The UMD is ranked in the Top 5 schools in the nation as a college of Agriculture, and the only school on the East Coast with that ranking.”
Beyrouty introduced several speakers who talked about their research projects related to improving grain production.
Among those who presented at Thursday’s annual meeting was Sarah Hirsh, a graduate student with the University of Maryland, studying soil science. Hirsh presented findings of a two-year study conducted by the University of Mar yland identifying earlier planting of cover crops in the fall as key to picking up nitrogen from the soil. The study evaluated type of cover crops and planting times and compared root growth depth to see if they were reaching sufficient depths to efficiently capture nitrogen or whether nitrogen was leeching out of reach of the cover crops roots over the winter.
Hirsch said the study found that radish and a rye mix were found capable of reaching soil depths up to six feet and picking up significantly more amounts of nitrogen when planted early in the fall.
A current study by the University of Maryland is researching if corn samples planted over cover crop — more efficiently removing nitrogen from the soil — is bringing and holding enough nitrogen to the soil surface for the replanted corn to be able to absorb and uptake the nitrogen or whether a small amount of starter nitrogen is still necessary to be applied, especially in sandier soil.
Professor Ray Weil presented information on a study currently in early stages that might identify the protein quality of soybeans. Initial studies, Weil concluded, indicate crops may be starting to get a sulfur deficiency. Current soil tests do not adequately or accurately test for sulfur, which is a critical element in enhancing the quality and yield of soybean protein, he said.
The afternoon session began with Mar yland Grain Producers Utilization Board President Jennie Schmidt of Sudlersville welcoming ever yone who attended, and talking about the growth and improvements of grain farming in Maryland over the past 20 years.
She also took time to recognize longtime Maryland Grain Producers Association Executive Director Lynne Hoot of Edgewater for her service, and announced Hoot will be retiring this September. Hoot has served as executive director/admistrator for eight different Maryland agricultural associations for nearly 30 years. Hoot received a standing ovation.
Schmidt then made scholarship presentations to four youth who are pursuing careers in agriculture. The scholarships were for $2,500 each to be applied to each student’s tuition costs. Recipients were Jacqueline Bauer of Dayton, Grace Brinsfield of Vienna, Mark Debnam of Kennedyville and Jamie Hetrick of Preston.
“We have an outstanding group of qualified individuals receiving scholarships this year,” Schmidt said. “Trained professionals are needed to meet the demand for careers addressing issues such as world hunger and food safety, renewable energy and environmental stewardship. We are proud to have awarded scholarships to 49 students so far to follow a career path in agriculture.”
The daughter of Leslie and Ricky Bauer of Dayton, Jacqueline Bauer was raised on a grain and produce farm. She attends Oklahoma State University through the Academic Common Market, majoring in Agricultural Communications and Animal Science with a minor in German. At Glenelg High School she was a member of the National Honor Society and played volleyball, and she was a 4-H member. She hopes to study in Germany before beginning a career managing public relations
for an agricultural business.
Jacqueline said, “I hope to better educate the public about the agricultural industry and help shrink the gap between agricultural and non-agricultural communities.”
Using what she will learn through an agronomy degree from the University of Maryland College Park, Grace Brinsfield plans to join Maryland Extension and be a 4-H leader, helping farmers with agronomy problems.
“I attended Agronomy Day that the University of Maryland Extension put on and that day I decided I wanted to study agronomy,” Grace said. Her parents, MaryLou Brown and Dick Newcomb, raised Grace on a vegetable and grain farm in Vienna. She attended North Dorchester High School and graduated in May. She was active in softball, cross country, senior class play, Key Club, National Honor Society, Envirothon and Student Literacy Team.
Mark Debnam lives on the family grain farm and hog operation with his parents, Jennifer and George Debnam of Kennedyville. Mark attended Kent County High School where he was involved in FFA, National Honor Society and baseball. He is taking courses at the community college and plans to transfer to Virginia Tech to pursue an Agronomy major. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Crop and Soil Sciences, he plans to come home and work as an agronomist, then take what he has learned back to his family’s farm.
“I enjoy every aspect of farming, but I especially like growing crops,” Mark said.
A recent graduate of Colonel Richardson High School, Jamie Hetrick was active in band, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, FFA, 4-H and Prom Committee. Daughter of Victrie and Carroll Hetrick, Jamie grew up on her grandparent’s and uncle’s hay and grain farm.
“It is important to me to carry on my grandfather’s legacy in agriculture,” Jamie said. “Agriculture is my passion and I am very eager to pursue it.”
She plans to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness Management at West Virginia University and return home to work and in the future take over the family farm.
“Agriculture is an exciting career field with many opportunities,” Schmidt said. “We are excited to see these young people wanting to make a contribution to our industry. This scholarship program is a long-term investment with big dividends for the future of farming.”
Schmidt said, “Agriculture is an exciting career field with many opportunities. We’re excited to see these young people wanting to make a contribution to our industry. This scholarship program is a long-term investment with big dividends for the future of farming.”
The remainder of the afternoon was filled with guest speakers, panel discussions on various topics grain related, nutrient management regulations, actions taken by the federal government in the past year and the topic, “Why consumers hate BIG AG.”
William Layton, chairman of the Maryland Soybean Board, said funding for projects to continue research and development of the soybean is critical. The board plays a role in promoting the use of biodiesel, which can be made with soybean oil. New York state is a significant consumer of bio-diesel, said Layton, mandating the use of bio-diesel for their government vehicles.
Also presenting was Judy Denver, U.S. Geological Service. The Geological Service continues to monitor the field level groundwater quality in the Upper Chester Showcase Watershed. The study will continue to review the quality of water and nitrogen presence in streams in response to conser vation practices, comparing results from both irrigated and dry land fields, Denver said.
From the University of Delaware, Qin Zhixian presented field studies of phosphorous concentrations and the direct correlation between increased phosphorous levels and heavy poultry manure application. Concentration has been long on nitrogen levels, said Zhixia, but phosphorous levels need to be watched carefully as well. Funds from the Maryland Grain Producers are being used to evaluate the application of silicon to use the uptake and application of early phosphorous, said Zhixian.
The day ended with chicken and pork barbecue catered by Paul Gunther Catering, steamed crabs from Harris Crab House and a variety of sides, iced tea and lemonade.
Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board President Jennie Schmidt of Sudlersville welcomes everyone to the afternoon session of the 18th annual Maryland Commodity Classic Thursday, July 28, at the 4-H Park in Centreville.
Scholarship award recipients as presented by Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board President Jennie Schmidt, left, Thursday afternoon, July 28, during the 18th annual Maryland Commodity Classic. Scholarships totaling $10,000 were presented to, from the left, Mark Debnam of Kennedyville, Grace Brinsfield of Vienna, Jacqueline Bauer of Dayton and Jamie Hetrick of Preston.
A farmer, left, looks at materials presented by Perdue AgriBusiness representative Rami Ben Dor, during the 18th annual Maryland Commodity Classic at the 4-H Park in Centreville, Thursday, July 28. Numerous agriculture related vendors were present.
University of Maryland Dean of Agriculture Dr. Craig Beyrouty speaks at the 18th annual Maryland Grain Growers Commodity Classic Thursday, July 28, at the 4-H Park in Centreville. Beyrouty spoke briefly about the importance of agriculture to the economy of Maryland, stating the School of Agriculture at UMD is ranked among the Top 5 in the nation. He then introduced a number of specialist research speakers who presented results from their particular studies that have taken place in the past year.