DPI honors Rhodes, Mathias, Smith at banquet

Managing Editor

SALISBURY, Md. (April 21, 2015) — Before more than 700 poultry producers and agriculture leaders, Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. honored three individuals for service to and support of the chicken industry.
Jenny Rhodes, a Queen Anne’s County poultry grower and Extension ag educator was given the J. Frank Gordy Sr. Delmarva Distinguished Citzenship Award.
Rhodes was DPI president in 2013, chairwoman of its grower committee from 2006-07 and remains a member of the trade group’s environmental and government relations committees.
Outside of DPI, Rhodes serves on the Maryland Agricultural Commission and on the board of directors for Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit among many others.
“She is an outstanding communicator for the chicken industry and for farming in general,” said Kurt Fuchs, DPI president, introducing Rhodes. “We could be here for quite some time mentioning the many other ways she volunteers her time and talents to the community.”
A surprised Rhodes told the crowd this was one of the few times in her life she felt speechless.
“This is such an honor. I can tell you every day when I get up, it’s all about ag,” she said. “Keep up the good work. We love growing chickens and we love Delmarva.”
DPI’s Medal of Achievement for an elected official was given to Sen. Jim Mathias, D-Dist. 38B. Mathias grew up in Baltimore and moved to Ocean City, Md., to help his father run a business.
He was elected to the town council, then served as Ocean City mayor, was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2006 and became a state senator in 2011.
“While we don’t agree on all issues, that’s OK, he does have the chicken industry’s best interests at heart and we are grateful for that,” said Bill Satterfield, DPI executive director. “He consults with DPI to know what we are thinking so that he can carry our message to the legislature.”
Satterfield said Mathias has been instrumental in many Maryland issues, namely the recent battle over regulations for phosphorus application.
“I think we can say that without his involvement in the Phosphorus Management Tool which started two years ago, a bad regulation would have been in place instead of the more reasonable proposal that is now being subject to public comments,” Satterfield said.
Matthias said when he moved to the Eastern Shore, “all I really knew about chicken was we ate it on the boardwalk ... and it was good,” but soon learned the impact the poultry industry and agriculture has on the area.
“When the sun comes up here on the Shore I know the farm families here are already at work,” Mathias said.
He added that what accomplishments he’s had at the state level to protect the poultry industry was due to support from the industry.
“Not me, us,” he said. “We did all that stuff.”
The Edward H. Ralph Medal of Achievement for a non-elected official went to Jeff Smith, director of corporate environmental services at Perdue Farms. Smith was a longtime chairman of DPI’s environmental committee and helped guide the industry through many environmental issues including permits for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, water quality mandates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, exploring alternative uses for poultry litter and forging partnerships with some environmental groups.
“All of us in this room can be grateful for his diligence and hard work,” Satterfield said. “Our interests were served by this man’s participation.
Smith said the recognition from DPI was a “tremendous honor” and a testament to the work of the entire environmental committee and organization.
“I’m very fortunate to have had a committee made up of such passionate people as we worked through some significant issues through the years,” Smith said.