University of Maryland Extension


Poultry production is the leading industry in Maryland accounting for $1.7 billion in total output and about 7,000 jobs. On the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) poultry wholesale value is more than $2.8 billion annually. This accounts for approximately 70% of the total economic value of agriculture in the Delmarva area. Additionally, grain and soybean producers rely on the poultry industry to purchase their products and utilize the manure as fertilizer. In addition to commercial poultry, small non-commercial poultry flocks raised by individuals in rural and urban settings are also numerous in this region.

New Growers Workshops

Impact Document

This training is designed to teach new and existing poultry growers about the many aspects of poultry production. This educator along with other UME educators, Soil Conservation, NRCS, Delmarva Poultry Industry, Delaware Cooperative Extension Poultry Agent, MDE, and MDA teach this workshop. Topics discussed during the workshops include basic farm management, site management and maintenance, manure and mortality handling, vegetative environmental buffers (VEB), nutrient management and financial recordkeeping, CAFOs, comprehensive nutrient management plans (CNMP), and what to expect during an EPA inspection. Obtaining information in these topic areas is essential for all individuals who are entering the poultry production business. All of the information discussed during the workshop is shared in a manual to take back to the farm for future reference and a certificate of completion is awarded to each participant. This one day workshop also awards vouchers to new nutrient applicators and four continuing education credits to Maryland certified farmers and consultants and applicator voucher holders. The purpose of this training is to provide information, answer questions about complex issues involved in the chicken industry and ways growers can comply with new regulations through better management of their farm.


Impact Document

A disease outbreak such as Avian Influenza (AI) in Delmarva’s poultry would economically impact poultry growers and processors, and in the case of H5N1 or H7N9 AI, would present potential human health risks. These diseases can cause epidemics on poultry farms, loss of export markets, and long expensive quarantines, resulting in large financial losses. While there has never been a case of H5N1 or H7N9 AI in the USA, wild birds, particularly waterfowl, are a natural reservoir of low pathological AI.

In addition to the financial impact of an AI outbreak, there is also a risk to human health with a high pathogenic form of AI. Although Highly Pathogenic AI H5N1 and H7N9 are not present in the U.S., the need for poultry growers to design and implement a strong biosecurity program to prevent the spread of AI and other economically important or zoonotic diseases is essential.

Electrical Safety

Impact Document

The University of Maryland Extension and the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension conducted a webinar and live presentation at the UD Carvel Research and Education Center.

There were 64 poultry farmers, service providers and department of agriculture participants.  Goals of the workshop were to increase knowledge of electrical hazards on the farm and actions to be safe.

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