Contract Poultry Growers May Qualify For Relief

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Delaware Governor John Carney and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Monday announced a grant program that will assist contract poultry growers who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The two governors gathered in Hurlock, Md. to make the announcement. Growers were not eligible for the USFA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

“When you talk about contract growers, you’re really talking about the family farmers that are the backbone of the agricultural land in Delaware, and of course here on the Eastern Shore in Maryland. It’s not just a business, it’s more a way of life,” Carney said.

“I am pleased to announce that we are immediately launching a new $10 million State of Maryland relief program which will provide direct payments to thousands of Maryland farmers, growers, and producers who have been hurt by COVID-19,” Hogan said. “Far too often our farmers don’t get the respect or the appreciation they deserve, but I want our entire agriculture community to know that your commitment to our state and to our agriculture industry does not go unnoticed.” 

According to Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., growers were substantially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The companies placed 45-percent fewer chicks with growers in May compared to just two months earlier.

“This announcement recognizes how crucial the chicken community is to Delmarva’s economy, and it acknowledges chicken growers faced sudden business disruptions none of them could have foreseen or prevented,” DIP Executive Director Holly Porter said. “The chicken industry never called time out during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the food web held together under real stress. Chicken growers saw significant income interruptions, and while federal aid has helped repair balance sheets for other U.S. farmers, contract chicken growers have been left on the sidelines. With this grant program, Gov. Carney and Gov. Hogan are delivering real assistance to farmers who suffered losses from COVID-19, and DPI applauds their commitment to the chicken community.”