Frank Gordy, University of Delaware Agricultural Extension agent in Sussex
County, had a profound impact on Delaware’s agriculture through his thoughtful guidance of the poultry industry well into the 1970s. As demand for poultry declined with peacetime, Gordy recognized the initial setbacks could prove beneficial because they would drive the industry to make changes in growing, processing and marketing. He helped the industry understand that better, more efficient business practices were necessary and that the inefficient producer and processor was doomed. Gordy also convinced the industry that a high-quality, uniform product was essential to success. Today Delaware’s poultry industry generates $730 million in cash receipts and creates 8,000 jobs directly and over 20,000 jobs indirectly. This economic activity generates over $5 million for Delaware’s economy. Gordy’s real talent was his ability to get diverse groups of people, often strong competitors, to see the merit of concentrating on quality products and modern management. This eventually led to vertical integration and the strong competitive position Delaware’s poultry industry enjoys today.