Delaware's farmers are among the most productive and efficient in the nation, receiving strong support from the State, business community and leading research institutions.
Delaware is the one of the country's leading producers of broiler chickens and lima beans, and a significant producer of soybeans, field corn, watermelons, peas, sweet corn, potatoes, and dairy products, as well as having a thriving seafood industry of crabs, clams and oysters. The State also has a strong Thoroughbred and harness racing-industry--and a growing agritourism sector, including wineries and breweries.
The numbers paint an impressive picture: Delaware's 2,500 farms account for 39 percent of all land in the state, and agriculture's annual aggregate contribution to the state's economy is estimated at nearly $8 billion. The annual value of agricultural production exceeds $1.2 billion, and the state ranks first nationally in the value of agricultural products sold per acre. Poultry is the backbone of the State's agricultural industry, contributing $3.2 billion to Delaware's economy. More than 115,000 acres of farmland are permanently preserved under Delaware's pioneering farmland preservation program, showing the state's commitment to agriculture.
At the University of Delaware, internationally renowned scientists work alongside students to tackle the big issues facing agribusiness, in the classroom and on the school's 350-acre farm that provides hands-on experience with animals, crop plants, wetlands, forests, greenhouses and a working dairy. The Cooperative Extension Service and College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Delaware conduct research and provide a host of services to support the State's poultry industry.
In 2011, Delaware was the first state in the U.S. to establish a Young Farmers Program to provide long-term, no-interest loans for the purchase of farms in exchange for permanent agricultural easements to ensure that Delaware farms remain active and profitable. Grants, loans and cost-share programs contribute to farmers' ability to improve efficiencies and increase productivity, while research and development at the State's universities and research institutes provide the technologies and expertise needed to grow and expand the industry.
From the egg to the chicken and back again, Perdue Farms is the country’s third-largest poultry company in sales and one of the mainstays of Delaware’s agribusiness industry. Recent activities have strengthened Perdue’s connection to the State and reflect its commitment to responsible growth and stewardship in the industry. Read the full story →
The Department of Agriculture works to sustain and promote the viability of food, fiber and agricultural industries in Delaware. DDA supports these industries with certification and training services, licensing and registration, information services and financial assistance.
The DFB is a non-profit and nongovernmental organization of approximately 8,000 farm families and associate members whose mission is to preserve agriculture as an industry and way of life.
DPI is the nonprofit trade association of the meat chicken industry in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and Virginia. DPI's members include more than 1,000 chicken farm families, five poultry companies on Delmarva, hundreds of chicken company employees, allied industry suppliers, and other Delmarva-based, non-chicken businesses.
The UD Cooperative Extension supports Delaware agriculture through education, research, and outreach. Farmers, homeowners, food processors, seed and biotechnology companies, power companies, feed suppliers, garden centers and sod producers utilize Extension programs. The Extension provides the public with information, research and resources to address youth, family, and community agricultural needs.