On Monday organic chicken farmer Georgie Cartanza spoke to our class about the poultry industry on the Delmarva peninsula. Ms. Cartanza has over 25 years of experience in the poultry industry. She is an Upfield Scholar and has travelled around the world studying other poultry operations in other countries.
She started off by telling us about the Delmarva poultry industry and how it was pretty much started by accident when in 1923 Ms. Steele ordered 50 chicks but was delivered 500. She made a lot of money selling her chickens and others started similar operations and it’s just gotten bigger from there. Next we learned from her that Sussex County is the highest in broiler production per square mile and Delaware produces 31% of the regions poultry. The economic impact of the poultry is huge and creates many jobs in and outside of the industry. Delaware chicken farmers have many choices of integrators to contract with making the market very competitive.
With all this talk of industry Ms. Cartanza talked about technology and how the chickens are treated. “If we don’t take care of them [chickens], they won’t take care of us [monetarily]” Ms. Cartanza said in reference to the false idea that most farmers mistreat their animals. Recently there’s been a social trend in people knowing what’s best for how their food is raised based on what the modern media has showed them. Ms. Cartanza used the example of people wanting to be humanitarian and not eat chickens that have been treated with anti- biotics. “If a flock were to get sick, wouldn’t it be in humane not to give them anti-biotics?” She asked us. There’s lots of examples of “humanitarian” ideas that don’t help and may even harm the animals.