Shifts in demand and challenges related to keeping workers at processing facilities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on the chicken industry in 2020, according to a report prepared by the Delmarva Chicken Association.
570-million chickens were raised with a wholesale value of $3.4-billion. That was a five-percent decline from 2019.
“Restaurants, hotels, even school cafeterias closing down and figuring out how to deal with COVID-19 definitely affected what we do,” Delaware Chicken Association Communications Manager James Fisher said.
Farmers also had to quickly adjust when plants experienced labor shortages at times. Fisher said many had to hold onto their chickens longer before they were ready to be sent for processing.
Chicken companies paid contracted independent farmers $280-million in 2020, which was up 0.2-percent. The chicken community also spent more than $1-billion on feed-related ingredients such as soybeans, corn and wheat.
The Delmarva Chicken Association functions as a chamber of commerce for the chicken industry. It was known for many years as Delmarva Poultry Inc.
“This year’s economic snapshot captures the impact on our chicken community from COVID-19, from the chicken processing companies to the growers and everyone in between,” DCA’s executive director Holly Porter said. “But it also speaks to the resiliency and strength of this economic driver on Delmarva and the commitment our members live up to by not only powering our Delmarva economy, but also feeding each and every one of us even during a pandemic.”
To read the DCA report, please CLICK HERE