Twelve outstanding chicken growers and four honorees were recognized for their dedication to the poultry industry on April 17 as Delmarva's chicken community gathered in Salisbury, Maryland for the Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI) Booster Banquet, the 1,800-member trade association's annual membership dinner.

The J. Frank Gordy, Sr. Delmarva Distinguished Citizen Award, DPI's highest honor, was presented to Clark White. A Sussex county native and a leading historian for Delmarva's chicken community, White was involved with DPI beginning in the 1980s and served as DPI's president in 1988. He has a strong passion for the history of the Delmarva poultry industry, with his own collection of artifacts, equipment, photos and other memorabilia of the industry over the past decades. He was instrumental in working with producers of the "Cluck, Pluck, and Luck" documentary to showcase the earliest roots of raising chickens on Delmarva.

The Edward H. Ralph DPI Medal of Achievement was presented to Dr. Dan Bautista, director of the University of Delaware Lasher Laboratory. In that role, he collaborates with company and state veterinarians, allied industry scientists, and university faculty to protect Delmarva poultry flocks from disease. Bautista has served on DPI's Emergency Poultry Disease Task Force, Chicken Festival, Poultry Health and Grower committees, and he is an executive board member of the American Association of Avian Pathologists.

A DPI Medal of Achievement was presented to Robert Crockett, a member of the Accomack County, Va. Board of Supervisors, for his recognition of the importance of the Delmarva chicken industry. Crockett "has often shared that the poultry industry on Virginia's Eastern Shore is like an anchor store at a mall -- an essential piece that brings economic benefits well beyond the industry itself," DPI executive director Holly Porter said in presenting the award.


A special recognition was awarded to Lori Morrow, DPI's office coordinator and corporate secretary/treasurer. A DPI employee for 18 years, Morrow's work behind the scenes is essential to the success of DPI's membership campaign; the National Meeting on Poultry Health, Processing and Live Production; the Booster Banquet; and many other events each year.

Additionally, DPI recognized 12 outstanding chicken growers. Selected by the companies with which they contract to raise chickens from among Delmarva's more than 1,300 poultry growers, this year's outstanding growers are:

  • Tim and Kim Austin, Centreville, Md., growers for Mountaire Farms
  • Gary and Crystal Conaway, Georgetown, Del., growers for Mountaire Farms
  • Dasrat Deonarine, Georgetown, Del., a grower for Perdue Farms
  • Ryan and Laura Greer, Middletown, Del., growers for Coleman Organic
  • Tracey Hill, Laurel, Del., a grower for Mountaire Farms
  • Brian Kunkowski, Laurel, Del., a grower for Amick Farms
  • Kimberly Lang, Bloxom, Va., a grower for Tyson Foods
  • Ronnie and Tammy Massey, Seaford, Del., growers for Amick Farms
  • Larry Sterling, Pocomoke City, Md., a grower for Mountaire Farms
  • Jonathan Tran, Pocomoke City, Md., a grower for Perdue Farms
  • William and Janice Vickers, Millsboro, Del., growers for Perdue Farms
  • John F. Williams III, Cordova, Md., a grower for Allen Harim