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Mississippi Farmers Cluck About Feed, Fuel Prices

by 5m Editor
2 January 2008, at 9:50am

US - Mississippi's poultry industry withstood high feed and fuel costs last year to remain the state's largest agricultural product.

The state's poultry production is estimated to be worth $2.3 billion for 2007, up from $2 billion in 2006.

High prices for chicken and other poultry, as well as strong hatchery production, are credited for the increase, said John Anderson, an agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.

"We came into 2007 with most of the broiler companies pulling back on production because of (an increase in) feed prices," Anderson said.

As a result, poultry prices increased and demand remained strong, he said.

The poultry industry in Mississippi consists of chicken production and egg sellers.

The weakening of the American dollar late last year made poultry exports more affordable overseas, he said.

But not all poultry farmers are enjoying the spoils of the industry's growth.

Stringer chicken farmer Steve Holloway said high fuel costs have eaten into his profits the last few years.

"We have to run tractors, trucks, generators," Holloway said.

Some Mississippi companies have benefited financially from the strong year.

Cal-Maine Foods Inc., an egg producer based in Jackson, reported profits of $58.1 million for the first six months of the fiscal year ended Dec.1, compared to $970,000 for the same period last year.

Source: Clarion Ledger

5m Editor