Did You Know: Chickens
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 02:03
Did you know Delaware’s economy generates $3.2 billion annually through poultry production alone?
According to a December 2010 study, “The Impact of Agriculture on Delaware’s economy,” written by two university professors and a graduate student, poultry production contributes $3.2 billion annually to the $7.95 billion agriculture industry in Delaware. Professors Titus Awokuse, Professor Thomas Ilvento and Zachary Johnston’s study reported that raising domesticated birds for their meat or eggs also generates more than 13,000 jobs. Eighty percent of Delaware’s composite agricultural industry is poultry-related.
Sussex County, Del. was the birthplace of the poultry industry in the United States. It currently leads the country in broiler chicken production, accounting for more than 200 million birds annually. However, the poultry industry has struggled recently due to the nation-wide recession. Increased labor costs, anti-American trade practices and the increase of corn prices by 75 percent since June 2010 have all contributed to the industry’s ailments.
The future looks bright for Delaware, however, as access to markets in South Korea, Panama and Columbia has increased since new U.S. free trade agreements took effect on Jan. 1. The new agreements could increase poultry industry revenues in Delaware as much as 10 percent over the next two years, and provide an extra $700 million in annual revenue. The state will benefit most from trade deals with South Korea. All of the new trade agreements, along with more productive farms, could potentially increase sales of Delaware poultry by more than $1.6 million annually.