Two Allen Harim growers were named Outstanding Poultry Producers at the 60th Delmarva Poultry Industry Booster Banquet held recently in Salisbury, Md.

Tom and Mary Cheezum of Preston, Md., began growing chickens in 1980 when they bought a farm with two chicken houses near Preston. They now operate just one upgraded house where they grow 20,000 antibiotic-free birds per flock for Allen Harim.

Tom and Mary's youngest son Eric also helps raise chickens. The family also grows grain, corn and beans on their 750-acre family farm. Along with farming and raising chickens, Eric is an author and lecturer and serves as an adjunct professor at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills.

Also honored were Scott Peterman and Wil Jerman, who own and operate the Peterman Farm near Milford, Del. Scott’s parents, Jack and Sandy Peterman, began growing chickens on the Peterman Farm in 1978. In 1989, Scott and his wife, Carrie, purchased the farm and added more chicken houses. After 17 years in broiler production, Scott and Carrie joined the Allen Harim team to produce antibiotic-free chickens.

In 2012, Jerman was hired as manager of the chicken operation, and now manages four houses with a capacity of 108,000. He is involved with Delaware Farm Bureau, Adopt-a-Family, and numerous other charitable community activities. “To be a successful chicken grower, you must love what you are doing and take pride in the job you do,” Jerman said. He has enjoyed watching the trend toward no antiobiotics in chicken, and is happy to be a part of it. He also credits success to attention to details and a good relationship with his poultry company and its representatives.

“We are so proud of these growers for embracing the change toward no antibiotics ever to provide consumers the healthiest and best chickens available today,” said Keith Moore, Director of Live Operations for Allen Harim. “These family farmers are what makes my job easy. They love what they do and are the best in the business.”

DPI recognized a dozen outstanding chicken growers overall, from Delmarva's more than 1,600 poultry growers.