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Poultry associations seek federal relief for chicken farmers

Delaware Department of Agriculture

Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. urges Congress to provide chicken farmers with direct aid to help them deal with lost revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


A jointly signed letter from DPI and 11 other state poultry associations say the challenges faced by family farmers who raise chickens is having serious effects on bird placements to family farms.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports a 6 percent decline in broiler-type chicks hatched between April 2019 and 2020, and a matching 6 percent decline in eggs placed in hatchery incubators.

Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. spokesman James Fisher explains what that means for chicken farmers this year.

"The chicken flocks that they rely on for their income maybe fewer this year that they would normally expect they might have longer layout times in between when they get flocks of birds and that's sort of an unanticipated drop in their revenue that that they had no way to see coming when they started budgeting for their farm," said Fisher.

Fisher notes this isn’t a money grab by farmers.

"Growers would need to demonstrate through paperwork that they definitely didn't get the income they were expecting and the bill as we envision it would compensate them for some but not make them whole for all of that lost income," said Fisher. "This isn't a get rich quick scheme that we're trying to foist on Congress, but we just want a little help."

Congress already passed legislation granting $16 billion in aid to farmers under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program or CFAP, but it didn’t provide any benefit to chicken growers, since only livestock farmers raising cattle, lambs, yearlings, and hogs are eligible. 

CFAP also provides aid to farmers producing field crops, milk, and especially crops. Once again, chicken was not included.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.
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