Senator Carper Hosts Poultry Summit with Delaware and Maryland Congressional Leaders and State and Industry Leaders

WILMINGTON – On Monday, January 23, 2012, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) together with U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), and U.S. Congressman John Carney (D-Del.) joined leaders from Delaware and Maryland’s poultry industry and state governments to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the poultry industry. The common goal was to identify ways to grow this vital part of the Delmarva Peninsula’s economy. Sens. Mikulski and Cardin joined the summit by phone.

The Delmarva poultry industry accounts for about 4.5 percent of total chicken production nationwide. The total economic value of the poultry industry on the Peninsula accounts for more than $2 billion – supporting 15,000 jobs, 5,000 chicken houses, 1,800 growers, and more than $1 billion in vendor payments.

Discussion focused on key topics facing the poultry industry today, including: domestic and export sales, labor needs, operating costs, and environmental issues.

“The poultry industry on the Delmarva peninsula provides our region with many benefits,” said Senator Tom Carper. “These benefits include jobs, trade and export opportunities, land preservation practices, and of course, chicken that is enjoyed not only here but around the world. This summit provided a forum for those involved in the industry to learn from each other, address shared challenges, and find ways to keep this industry thriving for years to come.”

“Supporting Maryland’s poultry industry is about creating jobs,” Senator Mikulski said. “I’m proud to continue my jobs tour here on the Eastern Shore to talk about how we can preserve and create jobs in the industries that have made Maryland great. On the Eastern Shore, that’s poultry. I’m here to listen to the people of the Eastern Shore. I know Washington doesn’t have all the answers, and that what’s right for one part of the country may not be right for the Eastern Shore. I will keep fighting for you and make sure your voices are heard in Washington.”

“The poultry industry continues to be a mainstay of the Eastern Shore, and a vital part of the Maryland economy,” said Senator Ben Cardin. “Today was an important opportunity for federal legislators to meet with industry leaders and discuss ways we can help assure the poultry industry is a major economic and community asset for the region, the state, and the nation for years to come.”

“This joint Delaware-Maryland summit was a great way to broaden an ongoing conversation with the poultry industry and leaders in the agriculture community,” Senator Coons said. “I think it is critical that we continue to work together across state lines in order to address the challenges facing the industry on the Delmarva Peninsula. I look forward to working closely with Senators Carper, Mikulski, and Cardin to do what we can in the Senate to support this industry that is such a critical cornerstone to our economy.”

“The poultry industry is at the heart of agriculture in Delaware, and its industry leaders play a critical role in strengthening the state’s economy,” said Congressman Carney. “It’s important to have this opportunity to sit down with Delaware’s poultry farmers, discuss their successes, and address the challenges they face. We had a very productive discussion and I look forward to helping the poultry industry remain an economic driver in Delaware for years to come.”