January 4, 2013
An increase in the cost of chicken feeds brought about by the drought in the Midwest coupled with an increased demand for ethanol which led to a shortage in the corn inventory has made the year 2012 to be a challenging one for North Georgia's poultry producers.
"Poultry producers had to respond by restraining production to stem their losses," said Mike Giles, president of the Georgia Poultry Federation. The result was that consumers paid an all-time high for chicken at their local super market.
Giles said another drought this year could be extremely harmful to North Georgia's poultry industry. If a drought does hit the Midwest again, Giles said he's hopeful the federal government will provide some relief.
"There are provisions in the law that allow the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to waive the mandate for the amount of corn that would be used to produce ethanol," he said. "They denied that request last year but we're hopeful if we find ourselves in another crisis situation next year, the EPA and the administration would take another look at a waiver."
Georgia is the nation's leading poultry producer with about US$4.6 billion in annual sales. According to the federation's web site, the poultry industry also contributes about US$18.4 billion annually to Georgia's economy and employs more than 100,000 people.