Monday, September 25, 2023

Delmarva Chicken Association presents awards to four industry allies

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GEORGETOWN, Del. — The Delmarva Chicken Association recently presented awards to four people — Rep. Andy Harris, Dr. Steve Fitz-Coy, Kurt Fuchs and Jim Passwaters — whose work and advocacy spanning many years have been crucial to the success of Delmarva’s chicken community.

The awards were presented during the Booster BBQ, an event at the Delaware State Fairgrounds and the Delmarva chicken community’s first major gathering since 2019.

More than 800 DCA members and others in the chicken community attended the event, which featured barbecued chicken prepared and served by Greenwood Volunteer Fire Company and Harrington Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary, 35 vendors, and a musical performance by country artist and Ocean City, Md. native Jimmy Charles.

  • The J. Frank Gordy Sr. Delmarva Distinguished Citizen Award was presented to Kurt Fuchs, senior vice president of government affairs for MidAtlantic Farm Credit and a past president of DCA.

Fuchs works with legislators, government agencies, industry groups, and centers of influence to anticipate and mitigate risks to MidAtlantic Farm Credit and the agriculture communities it serves. He served as one of DCA’s youngest presidents in 2015 and still serves today on DCA’s board of directors, chairing the organization’s Government Relations Committee. DCA Executive Director Holly Porter, in presenting the award, called Fuchs “a true leader in Delmarva’s chicken community and a strong advocate for agriculture.”

  • The Edward H. Ralph Medal of Achievement was presented to Dr. Steve Fitz-Coy, a senior technical services manager for Merck Animal Health and formerly an assistant professor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

As a well-regarded parasitologist, Fitz-Coy has authored more than 60 manuscripts and abstracts on avian diseases and has focused on avian coccidiosis, a chicken disease whose control has greatly benefited the chicken industry.

  • The DCA Medal of Achievement was presented to Rep. Andy Harris, who represents Maryland’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Harris has long advocated for Maryland’s chicken growers, processing companies, and allied businesses, DCA noted. In Maryland, the chicken community brings the state more than $454 million in direct and indirect wages and is responsible for as much as $2.7 billion in economic activity, creating or supporting more than 9,200 jobs.

First elected in 2010, Harris serves on agriculture-focused and labor-focused subcommittees of the House Committee on Appropriations, and he has supported chicken farmers, grain farmers, chicken companies and allied businesses throughout his time in Congress. He pushed back against early interpretations of Waters of the United States regulations and cosponsored bills exempting farmers from burdensome regulations under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

  • A special recognition was also given to Jim Passwaters, DCA’s first vegetative environmental buffers coordinator.

Since 2007, Passwaters has developed and managed our free-to-members program that helps them design, install, and maintain living buffers on their farms to improve neighbor relations and protect water and air quality. Each year, through his work, DCA helps growers and companies plant thousands of trees, shrubs, and warm-season grasses.

Passwaters will retire at the end of the year, having visited and assisted hundreds of farmers during his tenure and, by his count, helping to plant more than 86,000 trees and grasses. He’s worked with numerous agencies, companies and nonprofits to further our VEB mission, including NRCS, MDA, DNREC, the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance and Bayer.

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