Gov. Markell, Secretary Kee Recognize Poultry Industry’s Impact On Delaware
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HARRINGTON – In recognition of the impact and achievements of Delaware’s poultry industry, Governor Jack Markell and Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee presented a new exhibit about the industry to go on display at the Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village on Governor’s Day at the Delaware State Fair.
“Poultry is the engine that drives our agricultural economy here in Delaware,” said Governor Markell. “Seventy-five cents out of every dollar that goes to a farmer in Delaware starts with chicken. That is a truly impressive figure, and shows that we cannot underestimate just how vital the poultry industry is to our state, in all its facets.”
The informational exhibit, which highlights the history and accomplishments of the poultry industry, has been on display at the Delaware State Fair since last week and will go to its new home at the museum afterwards.
“Delaware’s poultry industry contributes millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to our local economy,” said Kee. “In a time of significant challenge – and opportunity – for agriculture, I believe that we must reinforce our support of the industry.”
Governor Markell also presented certificates of appreciation to representatives of the state’s poultry companies in attendance and to members of the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission.
The poultry industry on the Delmarva Peninsula has a substantial economic impact – more than 13,000 jobs working in a $3.2 billion industry. Production accounts for about 2,370 jobs in Delaware, with processing including about 11,000 jobs, according to the University of Delaware. But the backbone of the industry is the 1,700 Delmarva farm families, who raise almost 11 million birds per week.
“The modern broiler industry may have started as an accident all those years ago on Cecile Steele’s farm, but today it is a homegrown success story,” Kee said. “We have the perfect location, a great climate, experienced growers and innovative companies that are dedicated to the long term.”
Governor Markell also praised the accomplishments of the industry in achieving significant progress in water quality through nutrient management. A combination of improved production practices, nutrition and genetics have led to a decrease in the amount of phosphorous produced in chicken manure. Nearly 60,000 tons of manure are relocated from Delaware farms annually, either to sites within the state for land application or out of the state for alternative uses.
“Over the last decade, working with our Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Delaware farmers have made tremendous strides on the environmental front,” Markell said. “Some of the best proactive measures in this regard have come not from regulations and bureaucracy, but from farmers themselves, innovating their own production practices.”
Chief of Community Relations
Delaware Department of Agriculture