In these past few weeks, I've been interviewed by reporters from around the country, including many who don't usually cover the chicken community. At the end of each call, I'm usually asked: “Is there anything else that you'd like to share? Anything we didn't cover?” Each time I've shared how proud I am to work with a community of unsung heroes who deserve our thanks.
So I will start, rather than end, this note by saying: Thank you. Thank you for the more than 20,000 chicken processing company employees on Delmarva who have continued to go to work to prepare the meat that will be on my plate for dinner. For those on the processing lines each day, this is hard and tiring work already. Now you also bear the stress of protecting your families from an infectious disease in the community where you live.
Thank you to the chicken processing companies that stepped up, starting in March, to incorporate each piece of additional guidance from federal, state or local governments to keep your employees safe when coming to work. From temperature monitoring, to additional sanitization and cleaning in break areas, to barriers and face masks for those who can't be 6 feet apart, to additional pay and sick benefits, you have done all you can to protect your most valuable assets - your employees - while still trying to meet increased demand for the food we supply. You are even taking additional steps in either partnering with the states or, at your own expense, to ensure testing for your employees.
Thank you to the more than 1,300 chicken growers across Delmarva who continue to get up every morning and care for their flocks, even during these trying times of not knowing when birds may be harvested or if you might see any of the aid that seems to be going to so many others. You continue to practice rigorous biosecurity to protect your flocks, even when personal protective equipment is so hard to find.
Thank you to the allied businesses still operating as a part of this critical infrastructure to support so many - suppliers, lenders, insurance companies, maintenance and so much more. You've adjusted your hours, worked within regulatory guidelines and made sure that the farmers or processing companies have what they need.
Thank you to the grain farmers working at all hours, in between all the rain, to get your crops planted, even as you watched commodity prices falling around the nation.
I am extremely appreciative of all the first responders and medical professionals working to protect the health of everyone. But I'm also appreciative of the Delmarva chicken community, filled with unsung heroes who work uninterrupted to provide all of us with a healthy food supply. So as I did at the beginning, I say again: Thank you.
Holly Porter, executive director of Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.
Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. is the Delmarva chicken industry's voice as the premier membership association focusing on advocacy, education and member relations. For more information, visit dpichicken.org; like DPI on Facebook; and follow us on Twitter and YouTube.