By MATTHEW D. ERNST
TUCKER, Ga. — A new interactive website lets users find the poultry industry’s estimated economic impact to a state, Congressional district or state House or Senate district.
“We are pleased to be able to provide this interactive tool across the industry that demonstrates the positive economic impact we have on our communities,” said John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY, the poultry industry group based in Tucker, Ga.
Located at www.poultryfeedsamerica.org the website uses data from a new economic impact study of the poultry industry commissioned by USPOULTRY. That study estimated the industry’s total national economic impact at $265 billion, with the poultry industry providing 1.3 million jobs in the United States.
In Indiana, more than 5,000 jobs and $2 billion in direct economic impact from the poultry industry were reported. The industry’s total estimated economic impact in Indiana was $5.7 billion.
Direct impact includes economic activities directly tied to poultry production, such as farming and slaughtering.
Poultry’s greatest impact in Indiana, by region, is in its 9th Congressional District. There approximately 2,600 jobs and a direct economic impact nearing $1 billion attributed to the poultry industry. Tyson operates a chicken processing plant in Corydon, located there.
The new website also reports substantial impacts in Tennessee and Kentucky, both states where the poultry industry has expanded. About 5,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in direct impact were estimated for Kentucky. In Tennessee, about 6,700 jobs and $1.6 billion in direct impact were reported.
Rollins Farms, in Prospect, Tenn., is one example of the poultry industry’s expansion in these two states during the past 20 years. The farm has contracted to produce eggs and fertile eggs since 1993, operating two 400-foot layer houses. Ed Rollins, who operates the farm with his wife and two adult sons, said the last four years have been challenging.
“Egg prices have stayed pretty well flat while input costs have gone through the roof,” he said. “We’re looking at adjustments to make in the future, but we’re also looking for an increase in the egg money (price).”
Rollins Farms is an example of how the poultry industry’s impact goes beyond chicken and eggs. The farm sells a fertilizer product, called R-GROW, produced from composted chicken litter and mortalities. About 10 tons of finished compost are produced every 25-30 days at the farm’s biosecure composting facility, two miles from the chicken houses.
“The compost is one of our more profitable businesses right now,” said Rollins. The farm’s other enterprises include a hay business, cow-calf production, timber, hunting leases and honey.
Other examples of poultry industry products having economic impact include fats and feathers. Such products are purchased from slaughterhouses and used in products like pillow fillings and rendered fats.
In Ohio, the direct impact of the poultry industry is $1.57 billion and just under 5,000 jobs. Direct impact in Michigan was reported at just under $1 billion and about 2,500 jobs.
The study used a standard economic impact methodology to estimate the combined impact of the chicken, turkey, egg and other poultry growing and processing industries. This impact includes renderers, hatcheries and integrated feed producers.
It focused on the impact of primary, fresh poultry processing. It excluded, when possible, secondary food manufacturers or processors of poultry-based “fingers,” nuggets, patties and sausages. The study was completed by the New York firm John Dunham and Associates.