DPI News Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Bill Satterfield, (302) 856-9037, satterfield@dpichicken.com
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A New Way to Look at Delmarva's Chicken Industry


Georgetown, DE - Apr. 19, 2010 -- Delmarva's chicken industry is a significant entity for the state of Delaware, the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Normally we speak about hundreds of millions of birds produced per year, billions of pounds of products produced, and other data that may not put the industry into perspective. At the 2010 Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI) Booster Banquet, President Blair Ranneberger helped put those numbers into perspective.

DPI since the late 1950s has collected data on a variety of yearly production and expense categories. We publish data on how many chickens were grown, how much they weighed, how many growers and houses we have, how many bushels of corn and soybeans were used, what was spent on feed ingredients, processing plant supplies, salaries and wages, grower pay, and the value of finished products as they left the processing plants. Those are impressive numbers, but they may not mean too much to many people. So we've tried to make the numbers more understandable.

TODAY, more than 250 tractor trailers left Delmarva to carry products to market. This means 9 million pounds of ready-to-eat chicken leave Delmarva daily.

TODAY, Delmarva's chicken growers and companies provided enough chicken on this one day to feed 120,000 people their yearly per capita amount of chicken. Over the course of a year, we on Delmarva feed more than 30 million Americans their annual amount of chickens. That's pretty awesome.

TODAY and on average every working day, 2 million birds are taken to the processing plants. It takes 73 chicken houses and 24 growers to supply just one day's worth of birds. The average three house farm producing an average-weight 6 pound bird sends 540,000 pounds of chickens to the plants at the end of each flock. Once through processing, this means one grower with three houses in just one flock provides enough chicken for a year for more than 5,000 people. And in the course of the year, this average grower feeds nearly 28,000 people with chicken. That is amazing. And this ability to feed 28,000 people per year is on family farms, not on what our critics and those who don't know any better call "factory farms." If there ever was a family farm, it is one of Delmarva's 1,700 chicken farms.

TODAY, there are 14,700 chicken company employees and 1,700 growers working on Delmarva. They earned $613 million last year. That is a huge amount of money in a small geographic and small population area like Delmarva. Since each job in the processing sector of our business creates 7.2 jobs elsewhere, close to 100,000 jobs exist on the Delmarva Peninsula and other areas of our nation.

Our chickens used nearly 73 million bushels of corn last year and 26 million bushels of soybeans. This means 450,000 acres of corn and 615,000 acres of soybeans were needed to feed our birds, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. Many of these acres were on Delmarva and in the mid-Atlantic region. Clearly, our industry helps keep working farms in business, protects much coveted open spaces, provides advantages over developed land for soil and water quality improvements, and helps maintain our desirable rural way of life. And by the way, the feed bill for Delmarva's chicken industry last year exceeded $850 million.

Delmarva's growers and chicken companies spent $80 million last year on capital improvements and remember that last year was a slow year with reduced construction and modernizations.

TODAY, DPI has about 2,000 members, more than half of whom are growers. That percentage of growers as members of a state chicken trade association is unique to Delmarva. I believe we have the highest ratio of growers to total membership of any other state poultry association. That partnership with growers strengthens the DPI organization while growers who are members are in the information loop.

DPI is a unique state poultry trade association in many ways. Much of what we do is watched by others. With your continued support, we can continue our programs and services to help you. Thank you for the privilege of serving as president this year and thanks for being part of DPI TODAY and every day.

To view the 2009 data about Delmarva's chicken industry, click here.


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