Farmers and More Attend Delmarva Poultry Industry Banquet - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Farmers and More Attend Delmarva Poultry Industry Banquet

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SALISBURY, Md.- Thousands of poultry farmers and workers gathered at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center Wednesday night for the 58th Annual Delmarva Poultry Industry banquet.

Three dozen prizes were given out at the banquet which was held to honor and celebrate the successful industry.

Trade groups say the chicken business had a direct impact to the economy of more than $4 billion in 2012.  Also, in 2013 about 565 million chickens were produced on Delmarva.

Big companies, such as Perdue Farms, Allen Harim Foods and Mountaire Farms were represented, as well as smaller family run farms. Attendees said the industry brings food, jobs and economic benefits to the Delmarva Peninsula.

Delaware Representative Ruth Briggs King (R-Georgetown) attended the event, and said she believes Delmarva is a leader in poultry production.

"We have international companies interested in coming here so they can have our product to feed their people. So the imprint that we make, not just on our economy but on feeding the world is very important."

Although the industry is indeed successful, there are always challenges. For instance the threat of disease, which several farmers said is the biggest challenge they face.

Jim Baxter of Baxter Farms in Georgetown agreed. He has been involved in the industry for about 75 years, and said keeping the chickens alive is key.

"Luckily we've had a gentleman here in Millsboro that started out with a vaccination program," he said. "We don't want them to die."

And keeping those chickens alive, will keep the industry alive as well.

"You take the chickens away from Delmarva Peninsula," Baxter explained. "It won't be here anymore."

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