For Georgia farmers, Hurricane Michael is "the most widespread and devastating hurricane in recollection," said state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. More than 92 poultry barns, housing more than 2 million birds, were destroyed; cotton growers suffered massive losses; and pecan growers lost trees for the third year in a row to a hurricane.
The biggest poultry processors in the United States face widespread allegations that they colluded to raise prices over the course of 10 years in the $30-billion broiler chicken market. In just three weeks, two grocery retailers and the country’s two biggest food distribution companies filed lawsuits against Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride, Koch Farms, Sanderson Farms, and others. (No paywall)
Cattle, hog, and broiler chicken producers should expect lower market prices during the first half of 2018 than they saw during the first six months of this year, said USDA economists.
Pilgrim's Pride, the second-largest U.S. poultry processor, will buy the European poultry producer Moy Park for $1.3 billion in a deal that its chief executive says will "position Pilgrim's to become a global player," reported Agrimoney. Moy Park claims a 25-percent share of the chicken market in western Europe.
People who shop at Whole Foods expect to get higher-quality food in exchange for paying significantly higher prices. But when it comes to poultry and meat, at least, consolidation in the industry and broadly rising standards mean the same products that Whole Foods sells are increasingly available at conventional supermarket chains for a lot less money, reports Bloomberg.
Nearly 74,000 chickens were killed and buried on a farm in southern Tennessee in an effort to stem an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, said state officials. The first round of samples from flocks on neighboring farms were free of the disease, said state veterinarian Charlie Hatcher, who cautioned, "We'll be in this thing for a long haul."
Mexico is the third-largest market for U.S. farm exports, so the declining value of the peso "could create a drag on U.S. animal product exports in 2017," says USDA's monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. The southern neighbor of the United States is the largest market for exports of U.S. pork, poultry, and dairy products, says USDA, as well as the No. 3 market for U.S. beef.
Overall U.S. grocery prices will not rise at all this year — the first time in four decades of records that the inflation rate would hit zero, says the Agriculture Department, pointing to the effects of low petroleum prices, the strong dollar and falling prices for beef, pork and poultry. Retail food prices were flat or fell during six of the first eight months of 2016, assuring "a rate of inflation (or possibly deflation) that would again fall below the 20-year historical average of 2.5 percent," says the Food Price Outlook.
U.S. red meat and poultry production in the final half of this year will be 3-percent higher than the same period in 2015, say USDA economists. The rapid expansion in the beef, pork and poultry supply will mean lower market prices across the board, with cattle down 11.7 percent, hogs down 8.3 percent, broiler chickens down 5 percent and turkeys down 6.8 percent.
The average cost of cleaning and disinfecting an egg farm hit by highly pathogenic avian influenza during the 2014-15 epidemic was $8 million, according to three researchers who examined the $879 million the government spent to combat the disease.