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Additional thanks to the Nebraska Soybean Board, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council for their support of Mid-Atlantic Farmers Feed US

Mid-Atlantic Farmers
Feed US

Mid-Atlantic Chicken Farmer

Jesse Vanderwende

“I take a lot of pride in what we grow and how we grow it, because I know that goes to feeding families, not only here, but across the country.”

Jesse Vanderwende
Chicken Farmer

Name: Jesse Vanderwende
Location: Bridgeville, Delaware
Years farming: I’ve been farming on my own since I was 18 – I’m now 24. In between, I also earned my college degree in agribusiness management from Delaware Tech.
My family: I’m currently single, but farm with my family. I’m a third generation farmer. My grandfather started with laying hens, those that produce the eggs we eat, in the 1950s. In addition to roasting hens, our farm now raises soybeans, corn, wheat, barley and watermelons. The family farms between 3,500 and 4,000 acres. My active family of farmers includes a brother, father, grandfather, two uncles and a cousin.
How I came to be a farmer: As a kid, I enjoyed farming and always had an infatuation with raising crops and livestock and working with equipment. I knew that was the way of life I wanted.
The best thing about being a farmer: I really enjoy being able to watch and harvest what we raise, and being around a lot of different people, because it makes you a well-rounded person. Not only do we have to know how to make things grow and work, but we also have to be good business people.
My personal philosophy on farming: Farmers strive to be good stewards of the land, and take a lot of pride in the food they produce – not only the safety but also the quality.

Chicken Production in Delaware and the United States
  • All chickens on Delmarva are raised on family-owned and operated farms.
  • History records show that chickens were on the Mayflower with the Pilgrims when they sailed to the "new world."
  • Dating as far back as 1944, the farmers of Sussex County have raised more chickens than any other county in the country.
  • According to a recent U.S. Census of Agriculture, Sussex County, Delaware, ranks first among America's counties in broiler chicken production.
  • Chickens account for nearly 75 percent of agricultural production in the state of Delaware.
  • The average weight of a Delaware-raised chicken is 6.9 pounds.
  • Americans eat about 83.6 pounds of chicken per person annually.
  • The 2012 Delmarva Chicken Festival will be held in June 2012 in Salisbury, Maryland.

For more information about broiler chicken farming in Delaware, visit the Delmarva Poultry Industry.

Meet Another Farmer

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