Our organization was founded in 1948 as the Delmarva Chicken Festival, Inc. By 1955, as the organization added more structure and took on more responsibility, it was renamed Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. In 2020, the board of directors, recognizing that the organization represented one of the largest concentrations of chicken growers, integrators and associated business in the country, rebranded it Delmarva Chicken Association to clearly express the members the organization represents.
In 1948, our organization's original leaders launched the Delmarva Chicken of Tomorrow Festival to promote the breeding of chickens better suited for sale to grocery stores. It was an immediate hit on the Peninsula and beyond.
With the event renamed as the Delmarva Chicken Festival in its second year, the board members of Delmarva Chicken Festival Inc. carried on with parades, cooking contests and other attractions. The organization expanded its role into professional development for chicken growers and chicken companies.
Delmarva Chicken Festival, Inc. was renamed Delmarva Chicken Association and charged with carrying out an even broader program of support for Delmarva's chicken industry, including research support, publicity, and lobbying. An office with full-time employees was established in Selbyville and was moved to Georgetown the following year. Frank Gordy was named Executive Secretary and the baby chick chef logo was created. That logo would be used concurrently with a globe logo into the 1960s.
The first annual meeting was held, attended by chicken processors and growers. Also around this time, the now-annual Booster Banquet began as a fundraiser and transitioned an industry-wide networking event to recognize outstanding growers and industry people for their public service.
DPI launched a "home economics" education campaign led by Connie Parvis, teaching consumers safe and creative ways to prepare chicken.
DPI's focus expanded to encourage good neighbor policies with non-farming neighbors around Delmarva with the creation of the Good Neighbor Handbook, and engaged with federal, state and local officials as policymakers increasingly focused on water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.
DPI added a Vegetative Environmental Buffers program, electric buying group and many other energy and environmental stewardship programs.
DPI committed to an ambient air monitoring initiative in partnership with the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Keith Campbell Foundation.
Bringing more focus to the product members grow and the partnership members feel, the organization rebranded as Delmarva Chicken Association. For more about the new name and brand, click here.
"One thing about Delmarva that a lot of people don't recognize is that 12% of the poultry industry that consumers in the United States rely on comes from Delmarva. It's a very concentrated area and therefore it's very important to have a strong representative like Delmarva Chicken Association to help with communication efforts to the public about the responsible things we're doing here on the shore."