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25 Delaware Poultry Industry Statistics and Trends

In the United States, there are several state-based poultry associations, national processors, and registered farms that work together to create a thriving poultry industry. Delaware is consistently one of the best regions for chicken farming. That is why taking a look at these Delaware poultry industry statistics is so important. It provides a glimpse at the health of the national industry as a whole.

Interesting Delaware Poultry Industry Statistics

#1. About 70% of the cash farm income that was generated in Delaware in 2016 came from the state’s meat chicken farms. (Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.)

#2. In the United States, Delaware was ranked 8th in terms of total pounds of meat chickens produced in 2015. Poultry farmers in the state produced over 1.75 billion pounds of chicken meat that year. (Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.)

#3. The average weight of a live chicken on the poultry farms in Delaware is 7.2 pounds. (Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.)

#4. In 2015, the Delaware poultry industry was able to produce over 244 million meat chickens for consumption. That ranked the industry 11th in the United States for the total number of meat chickens produced. (Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.)

#5. Sussex County in Delaware ranked as the #1 county in the United States for total meat chicken production. (U.S. Census of Agriculture)

#6. Kent County in Delaware also ranked as a Top 100 county for meat chicken production in the United States in 2012, placing 57th. (U.S. Census of Agriculture)

#7. Most of the grain that is produced in Delaware from the state’s agriculture industry is dedicated to chicken feed to support the poultry industry. There were 1.7 million bushels of wheat, 35.5 million bushels of soybeans, an 85.4 million bushels of corn used by the poultry industry in 2016. (Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.)

#8. Three of the top 10 chicken companies in the United States have facilities or growers located in Delaware, including Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, and Mountaire Farms. (Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.)

#9. In 2016, the total cost to feed all the chickens that were being raised on poultry farms throughout the state was $997 million. (Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.)

#10. The Delaware poultry industry either supports or creates more than 12,000 jobs in the state. That allows the industry to support $3.91 billion in annual economic activities within the state. (Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.)


#11. Payments from national chicken processors or companies to contract growers grew by 6% in 2016, rising from $229 million to $243 million. Many of the contract growers in Delaware that are in the poultry industry are family farmers. (Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.)

#12. The region’s five primary chicken companies saw total wages grow by 7.7% in 2016, creating earnings for 14,500 direct workers of $663 million. (Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.)

#13. The Delaware chicken industry continues to grow at a slow, but moderate pace. Although production levels are higher than years past, there are fewer chicken houses currently operating within the industry today. (Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.)

#14. It has been illegal to add hormones to chicken feed or provide chickens with artificial hormones since the 1950s. (U.S. Census of Agriculture)

#15. New chicken houses are planned for the Delaware poultry industry in coming years. In Kent County, for example, about 20 new chicken houses are planned for just one square mile of land. This would add more than 1 million chickens to the state’s population. (Whyy)

#16. Chickens in the State of Delaware outnumber people at a ratio of more than 200-to-1 as of 2014. (Whyy)

#17. The average chicken house that is established in the Delaware poultry industry has an installation cost of about $400,000. (Whyy)

#18. Most of the chicken meat that is produced by the Delaware poultry industry stays for domestic consumption. About 20% of the annual output is designated for exports each year. (Whyy)

#19. Russia used to be one of the largest importers of chicken from Delaware. With the recent political climate, however, Russia has decided to ban poultry imports from the United States and this has limited the export sector of the industry. (Whyy)

#20. It has been said that the Delaware poultry industry got started by a simple shipping accident. An order of 50 chicks to supplement a backyard flock for egg laying was turned into a shipment of 500 chicks instead. She kept the extra chickens, raised them, and sold them at 16 weeks for $0.63 per pound. (Whyy)


#21. In 2010, the Delaware poultry industry accounted for 74% of the state’s total agricultural marketing receipts. That allowed Delaware to rank #1 in the United States in the value of agricultural products sold at a per-farm basis. Each farm averages over $425,000 in products sold. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

#22. The value of agricultural production in Delaware per acre of land is $2,123 because of the value of the poultry industry. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

#23. In total, there are an estimated 2,500 farms in Delaware and about three-quarters of them are part of the poultry industry in some way. That accounts for 39% of all land within the state being dedicated to agricultural production. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

#24. The Delaware poultry industry is seeing a dramatic increase in the average age of principal farm operator. In 1978, the average age of the principal operator was about 50. In 2007, the average age was above 55. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

#25. In 2007, 38% of the principal farm operators with the State of Delaware were 60 years old or greater. (U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Delaware Poultry Industry Trends and Analysis

The Delaware poultry industry continues to thrive because so many local resources are dedicated to supporting it. National processors utilize the region, especially the Delmarva Peninsula, because of its environmental consistency and good cost ratios.

To counter the aging issue, Delaware established a Young Farmers Program in 2011 to provide $3 million in long-term, no-interest loans to assist in the purchase of farms. In return, the state receives a permanent agricultural easement on the property.

Chicken meat continues to be an affordable non-vegetarian protein option for households in all socioeconomic demographics. Unless something unexpected happens to the market, the combination of consistency and being affordable will allow the state’s poultry industry to continue growing and thriving over time.

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