The Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI) this week in Salisbury, Maryland held its 58th Booster Banquet, the trade association’s annual membership dinner.  During the banquet, DPI recognized three individuals for their work on behalf of the chicken industry, as well as 13 outstanding chicken growers.

Connie Parvis, DPI’s Director of Education and Consumer Information, was awarded a DPI Medal of Achievement for her nearly 43 years of service to the chicken industry and DPI.  Under her leadership since 1972, the Delmarva Chicken Festival and Delmarva Chicken Cooking Contest were premier industry promotion events.  Parvis also worked for decades on the National Chicken Council’s National Chicken Cooking Contest in judging.

Parvis made hundreds of presentations to television and in-person audiences that helped to promote the chicken industry and helped to increase chicken consumption. In recent years, she has directed DPI’s educational program, included projects for students and teachers; the production of videos about Delmarva’s industry; coordinating DPI’s college scholarship program; developing school curriculum; and assisting with outreach programs to the general public. She spearheaded the effort that produced the 1998 book about the history of Delmarva’s chicken industry.  She served for many years on the board of directors of the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation and the board of the Maryland Agricultural Council.  She is the longest serving DPI employee in the organization’s history.

DIP also honored chicken industry veteran Dr. G. Donald Ritter, presenting him with the Edward H. Ralph DPI Medal of Achievement.  Ritter began his career as a chicken health professional on the Delmarva Peninsula soon after graduating from veterinary school.  He joined Showell Farms in 1985 and then worked for Perdue Farms, Inc.  He has been with Mountaire Farms since 1995.  He has chaired DPI’s Poultry Health Committee since 2001, and under his leadership, DPI’s National Meeting on Poultry Health, Processing, and Live Production became an essential meeting of this type in the United States.  He also played a crucial leadership role during the 2004 Delmarva challenge from avian influenza.