Outstanding Persons Recognized at Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. Banquet
Hundreds of farmers, chicken company employees, and allies of the Delmarva Peninsula's chicken community gathered in Salisbury, Maryland this evening for the Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI) Booster Banquet, the 1,800-member trade association's annual membership dinner. During its 61st banquet, DPI recognized 12 outstanding chicken growers and four individuals for their work on behalf of the chicken industry.
Poultry 101 Symposium set for May 10
A day-long educational program for the general public to explain how the Delmarva chicken industry works, its importance to our region, and environmental improvements is scheduled for May 10 at Chesapeake College in Queen Anne's County, Maryland. The Poultry 101 Symposium is sponsored by several non-chicken industry groups, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Rural Maryland Council, in cooperation with DPI and people in the chicken industry. Register here; cost is $15 and includes breakfast and lunch.
A Good Year for Chicken Industry in Maryland General Assembly
The 90-day session of the Maryland General Assembly concluded at midnight on Monday, April 10 and the chicken industry fared quite well. Bills harmful to the Maryland chicken industry were unsuccessful, while a couple that we supported were sent to the governor.
SB 773, the Community Clean Air Act, never cleared a Senate committee. This bill -- we opposed it -- would have required the Maryland Department of the Environment to conduct a short, poorly defined, scientifically weak study of air emissions from chicken houses and other types of agricultural buildings. We argued that the study as called for in the bill would have been a waste of time and money and would have yielded just partial data of little use to Marylanders.
Senate Bill 174 also never got out of committee. It would have removed a state tax credit intended to help develop renewable energy sources such as chicken manure/litter. Opposing the bill, we argued that if alternative uses of manure/litter were being urged, then removing this state incentive to help with projects would be foolish.
A great deal of time was spent to make sure legislation to create further prohibitions on the use of human medically important antibiotics for farm animals was not passed as introduced. We worked with the Senate sponsor to redesign the bill, Senate Bill 422, which eventually was passed and sent to Governor Larry Hogan. The bill allows veterinarians to use their best professional judgements to prescribe antibiotics to keep farm animals healthy. Also, the amended bill creates a more workable antibiotics data reporting system.
We worked hard to allow chicken live-haul trucks traveling on Maryland Department of Transportation roads to be close to a higher weight limit that exists in Delaware and Virginia. While Senate Bill 917 does not allow exactly what Delaware and Virginia permit, the new weight limit on five axle vehicles is higher than the present limit, but the higher weights will be allowed only from November to April for five years. During those years the five axle tractor/trailers will need to convert to six axles. The higher weight limit in Maryland will allow more efficient use of vehicles, fewer trips, less road congestion, and considerably fewer vehicle emissions. The bill awaits Governor Hogan's approval.
We lent our support to SB 1158 that will create a system to designate solar generating facilities as "pollinator friendly" if they meet certain standards to be developed by the state. This could encourage the planting of flowers underneath solar panels to help bees with pollination of nearby crops, including feed ingredients essential to the chicken industry. That bill was approved by the Senate and House of Delegates.
Overall, on issues specific to the chicken industry, we had a good year.
Signups open for Scholarship Golf Tournament June 7
Hit the links and support college students interested in Delmarva's chicken industry at the same time by signing up for DPI's College Scholarship Golf Tournament, taking place this year on Wednesday, June 7 at Green Hill Country Club near Quantico, Maryland, just west of Salisbury. There are two flights – at 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – and teams will compete for best net score and best gross score prizes along with other skill contests. In recent years, this tournament has raised tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships assisting students advancing toward careers in the chicken industry.
Click here for more details.
Extra Vigilance Needed in Delmarva's Chicken Industry
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee. Avian influenza among chickens can be a highly contagious, easily spread, industry-threatening, respiratory disease.
What was detected in Tennessee was a North American wild bird lineage virus. The flock of 73,500 birds is located within the Mississippi flyway. This is the first confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in commercial poultry in the America this year.
Chicken Industry, A Mainstay of Delmarva's Economy, Shows Sensible Growth
Delmarva's chicken industry was a force for stability in 2016, keeping its bird capacity level and even slightly reducing the number of chicken houses in operation, while maintaining the total chicken produced and supporting the region's crop family farms with nearly $1 billion spent on feed ingredients. Delmarva's poultry industry used 85.4 million bushels of corn, 35.5 million bushels of soybeans and 1.7 million bushels of wheat last year.
Payments by chicken companies to contract growers on family farms rose 6 percent in 2016, and wages earned by the 14,500 people directly employed by the region's five chicken companies also rose, by 7.7 percent, to $663 million.
"Nearly every business on Delmarva – including small businesses – is positively affected by the chicken industry," said Bill Satterfield, DPI's executive director. "These numbers reinforce just how important the chicken industry is to the region, and they show the industry growing at a calm, sustainable pace."
DPI is the nonprofit trade association working for the continued progress of the meat chicken industry in Delaware, the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
In existence since 1948, DPI's members include more than 1,000 farm families raising chickens, five companies producing birds on Delmarva, and hundreds of chicken company employees, hundreds of allied industry suppliers of products and services, and Delmarva-based, non-chicken businesses that recognize the important work DPI does to keep the local chicken industry strong.
Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.
16686 County Seat Hwy.
Georgetown, DE 19947-4881