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Delmarva could benefit from China's lift on US poultry ban

Stephen Walling/Wikimedia Commons

Delaware poultry farmers stand to benefit as the Chinese government lifts a ban on American poultry products. 

Both governments announced the ban being lifted Friday as part of trade negotiations. China banned United States poultry following an outbreak of avian influenza in 2015.

Annual sales projections with the ban removed vary from $1-2 billion. 

“This is good news for farmers and chicken companies and their employees here on Delmarva,” said James Fisher, a spokesman for Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc.  “It certainly has the potential to increase demands overseas for Delmarva-raised chicken.”   

While Fisher applauds the ban’s removal, he adds the foreign poultry market has maintained without China

“There are many other countries around the world that have remained interested in buying US chicken—Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong. There are plenty of countries that continue to import chicken from the US and from Delmarva,” he said.

More than 730 farms in Delaware produced more than 52 million chickens and other poultry for meat production in 2017, according to the USDA Agriculture Census. 

Fisher says about 10-15% of that chicken is exported to other countries. 

Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse also said in a statement China’s move would help local chicken producers. 

The Ag Department says poultry production generates nearly $3.4 billion dollars of economic impact on Delmarva.