The poultry industry remains big business in the First State and the surrounding region. And the industry recently celebrated its success at the annual Delmarva Poultry Industry banquet:
The recently released 2017 agriculture census showed the average net income per farm in the First State more than doubled since 2012.
And a big part of that bump was attributed to growth in poultry.
The Delmarva Poultry Industry used last week’s banquet to highlight poultry’s regional impact - including in Delaware where the trade association’s communications manager James Fisher says growers raised 605 million chickens in 2018.
"In total.. the amount of chicken produced was 4.3 billion pounds of chicken on plates, in grocery stores and the sort of chicken GDP, the value of all that chicken that left the processing plant - was $3.4 billion,” Fisher said.
Fisher calls chicken growers the “beating heart” of the industry locally
“We couldn’t have a chicken industry without the more than 1,300 family farmers who enter into contracts to raise chickens with the integrators,” said Fisher.
Last week’s Delmarva Poultry Industry banquet specifically recognized 12 growers and four others for their contributions to the industry.
This year's outstanding growers are: Tim and Kim Austin, Centreville, Md., growers for Mountaire FarmsGary and Crystal Conaway, Georgetown, Del., growers for Mountaire FarmsDasrat Deonarine, Georgetown, Del., a grower for Perdue FarmsRyan and Laura Greer, Middletown, Del., growers for Coleman OrganicTracey Hill, Laurel, Del., a grower for Mountaire FarmsBrian Kunkowski, Laurel, Del., a grower for Amick FarmsKimberly Lang, Bloxom, Va., a grower for Tyson FoodsRonnie and Tammy Massey, Seaford, Del., growers for Amick FarmsLarry Sterling, Pocomoke City, Md., a grower for Mountaire FarmsJonathan Tran, Pocomoke City, Md., a grower for Perdue FarmsWilliam and Janice Vickers, Millsboro, Del., growers for Perdue FarmsJohn F. Williams III, Cordova, Md., a grower for Allen Harim
Fisher notes many of the chicken growers here in Delaware are women.
"Often raising chicken is something that a couple can do together. Many of the outstanding growers that were recognized at our Banquet - it’s a team effort - in the same way that a husband and wife might build a small business, open a store or a gas station.” said Fisher.
The J. Frank Gordy, Sr. Delmarva Distinguished Citizen Award, DPI's highest honor, was presented to Clark White. A Sussex county native and a leading historian for Delmarva’s chicken community, White served as DPI’s president in 1988.
A special recognition was given to Lori Morrow, DPI’s office coordinator and corporate secretary/treasurer. The 18-year DPI employee for 18 years was honored foe her work behind the scenes.