Katrina may hike chicken prices

US - Hurricane Katrina idled poultry processing plants and destroyed thousands of chicken houses in Gulf Coast states, which could push the cost of chicken higher in coming weeks.

Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods, which has three hen farms in Delaware, had four processing plants in Mississippi idled this week.

One plant in Carthage resumed operations Wednesday and two in Forest were expected to begin operations Friday night. The fourth, in Vicksburg, was expected to open today.

The company is still trying to figure out how many of its hundreds of poultry houses in Mississippi, where farmers grow chicken on contract, are still in operating condition. The company has yet to contact all its growers.Tyson has 58 poultry plants in 11 other states besides Mississippi.

The impact of Hurricane Katrina on Mississippi's poultry industry is expected to be huge. The state accounts for 10 percent of the nation's poultry production, with 827.8 million broilers. As of Friday, at least 10 of 14 poultry processing plants in Mississippi were not operating, according to Richard Lobb, of the National Chicken Council in Washington.

Managers at Delaware's three poultry companies with processing plants, Allen Family Foods, Perdue Farms and Mountaire Farms, said they don't expect to be directly impacted by the hurricane. Delaware ranked eighth in the nation in poultry production last year with 240 million broilers valued at $686 million.

Source: The Delaware News Journal
calendar icon 3 September 2005
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