Storm damage may push up chicken prices

CHICAGO - Consumers can expect higher prices for chicken, as it may be months before farms and production facilities in the U.S. Gulf Coast states fully recover from Hurricane Katrina, food analysts and industry experts said.

Higher gasoline prices caused by the storm may also raise chicken production costs, with the increases likely passed on to consumers.

As of Thursday, chicken companies were still collecting damage reports from farms and processing plants. Mississippi produces about 10 percent of the nation's chicken and much of that production was in the storm's path.

"It will take a chunk out of our production and it will take weeks or months to get back to full production," said Paul Aho, agriculture economist with Poultry Perspective. "It will probably mean a spike in chicken prices."

The storm made landfall near New Orleans on Monday and moved into Mississippi.

Eleven Mississippi processing plants were shut down during the storm, many of which are ready to start up once electricity and water are restored, said the National Chicken Council.

Source: Reuters
calendar icon 1 September 2005
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