Guests and hundreds of persons in the Delmarva Peninsula’s chicken community gathered in Salisbury, Maryland on April 17th for the Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI) Booster Banquet, the 2,000-member trade association’s annual membership dinner. During its 57th banquet, DPI recognized 12 outstanding chicken growers and three individuals for their work on behalf of the chicken industry.
DPI’s Medal of Achievement award for an elected person was presented to Maryland State Senator Mac Middleton of Charles County in Southern Maryland.
Senator Middleton, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is one of the few farmers in the Maryland General Assembly. He has been a strong supporter of the chicken industry and agriculture in general since joining the Senate in 1995. Senator Middleton was recognized, in part, because of his outreach to the chicken industry on General Assembly issues. Though his district does not include Delmarva’s chicken industry, he understands its importance to farmers in his area and to all citizens of Maryland. As chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission in 2010, he sought DPI’s input on federal Chesapeake Bay legislation. He involved DPI in this year’s Agricultural Certainty bill in the General Assembly, a bill to help speed water quality improvement in the Chesapeake Bay while offering incentives for farmers to go beyond the minimum on environmental stewardship. He included the chicken industry in last year’s legislation to provide estate tax relief for heirs of farmland.
Among his accomplishments for agriculture, he successfully sponsored bills to:
- create the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund;
- to help the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation in various ways;
- to provide additional money, through the Agricultural Stewardship Act of 2006, for on-farm environmental programs and to assistant beginning farmers; and
- to create the agriculturally-focused economic development finance agency called the Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation.
- Mark and Theresa Baker, Greenwood, Delaware – Allen Harim Farms LLC
- Sam and Patti Cooper, Marydel, Maryland – Amick Farms, LLC
- Rick and Kim Hall, East New Market, Maryland – Mountaire Farms, Inc.
- Kiwon and Sunmee Kang, Laurel, Delaware – Perdue Farms Inc.
- Raymond and Dianne Marvel, Houston, Delaware – Perdue Farms Inc.
- Ronnie and Barbara Matthews, Greenbush, Virginia – Tyson Foods, Inc.
- Chad and Tami Mitchell, Frankford, Delaware – Mountaire Farms, Inc.
- Honeysuckle Farm, Pocomoke City, Maryland – Mountaire Farms, Inc.
- Mindy and Tom Phillips, Gumboro, Delaware – Perdue Farms Inc.
- Jason Powell, Delmar, Maryland – Mountaire Farms, Inc.
- Lee and Dana Richardson, Willards, Maryland – Perdue Farms Inc.
- Ronald and Audrey Tyndall, Seaford, Delaware – Tyson Foods, Inc.
Additionally, Senator Middleton has brokered numerous legislative compromises to make bills that were destined to pass more palatable to agriculture, a large factor in selecting him for this DPI recognition. In being presented his award, DPI noted that “if we had more like him in the Maryland General Assembly, all our lives would be easier.”