Ten farm families from Delmarva have been recognized with Outstanding Grower Awards, announced by the Delmarva Chicken Association.
Each grower is an independent farmer raising chickens under contract for one of Delmarva’s chicken companies.
“Our growers often serve as examples for the chicken community and the nation,” says Holly Porter, executive director of the Delmarva Chicken Association (DCA). “When growers stand and speak at meetings and public hearings, their voices command attention and respect.
"When they share their everyday rewards and challenges on social media, they help their neighbors understand how chickens are raised. And they are valued in their communities by all who understand their roles as stewards of the land.”
The following growers were honored:
• Steve Brittingham of Millsboro, Del., is a grower for Mountaire Farms. He retired from a long career as a Mountaire flock adviser before buying his chicken farm.
• Craig Davidson of Frankford, Del., is a grower for Amick Farms. He is a second-generation chicken grower.
• Donnie Howard of Crisfield, Md., a grower for Tyson, has been recognized as an outstanding grower three times in the past four years.
• John and Patrick Kelley are growers for Mountaire Farms. Helped by co-farm manager Isaac Enriquez, the Kelleys operate an 11-house farm.
• Vickie Lambden of Bridgeville, Del., is a grower for Perdue Farms. Lambden has raised chickens for 25 years.
• Jim Marvel of Ellendale, Del., is a grower for Allen Harim. Marvel achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a chicken grower when he built his farm in 2018.
• Far and Val Nasir of Pocomoke City, Md., are growers for Perdue Farms. Far Nasir also serves on DCA’s board of directors, and they started their farm in 2013 after transitioning from careers in grocery store management.
• Joel Peterman, is a grower for Mountaire Farms. Peterman and his wife, Kayla, recently worked with DCA to install vegetative environmental buffers on their farm.
• Blair Shockley is a grower for Perdue Farms. He and his wife, Julie, have raised chickens since 2002 and built two houses of their own in 2015.
• Susan Steen is a grower for Amick Farms. Steen is a second-generation chicken grower, and her family also has a grain operation.
Outstanding Growers are customarily honored at the Delmarva Chicken Association Booster Banquet in April, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 banquet.
DCA staff visited growers' farms over the spring and summer to congratulate them and deliver an engraved silver Revere bowl to each recipient.
The growers also received lane signs that can be displayed at the entrances to their farms acknowledging them as 2020 outstanding producers.