Grant program aims to help Delaware, Maryland contract poultry growers

DOVER — Delaware and Maryland on Monday jointly announced a new grant program to assist contract poultry growers impacted by COVID-19.

Because growers are technically contract employees, with the chickens owned by poultry companies, they are not eligible for federal Coronavirus Food Assistant Program funds. The program announced Monday is designed to benefit individuals who had an active grower contract on facilities located in Delaware as of March 15, have an approved Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation permit or have filed a Notice of Intent for CAFO coverage and do not have business interruption coverage for the losses covered by the grant program.

Eligible individuals will receive $1,000 per poultry house up to a maximum payment of $5,000. In addition, any grower who meets the above criteria and had to depopulate birds remaining in-house for composting related to COVID-19 will receive another $1,500 per poultry house depopulated without cap.

“Because of the disruption of markets, labor availability for the companies to run at full capacity in the processing plants, and other COVID-19-related impacts, Delaware growers were faced with longer than normal layout times and saw a decrease in the number of birds placed,” Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse said in a statement.

“In some cases, farms were required to depopulate birds because a company did not have the ability to process the birds. All of these factors created significant reductions in grower pay and hardships for our family farms that are vital to our economy.”

“The poultry industry on Delmarva is second to none and it’s because of the longstanding working relationships that we have across state lines, especially when it comes to supporting our family farms,” Gov. John Carney said in a statement.

“COVID-19 has impacted all of us, but for the poultry growers who take pride in putting safe, nutritious food on your table, many of the roadblocks that COVID-19 threw at them were out of their control. This grant program is an opportunity once again for both our states to show our support for our family farms.”

Applications for the Delaware Contract Poultry Grower Grant Assistant Program are available online at agriculture.delaware.gov/grants-loans and will be accepted by the Delaware Department of Agriculture until Dec. 1. Applicants must complete a W-9 form online (esupplier.erp.delaware.gov) prior to receiving payment.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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