The chicken dance: Broiler production keeps pace with growing consumer appetites

businessA recent report by the American Farm Bureau Federation notes that federally inspected broiler, or meat chicken, production and consumption has been growing for nearly a decade.

“Americans eat nearly 65 pounds of boneless broiler meat per person annually—over 50 percent more than they ate in 1990,” the report notes. “The U.S. population has increased significantly, by 30 percent, during that time period, while broiler meat under federal inspection increased 124 percent. This year, broiler production is expected to expand another 2 percent.”

Barring any catastrophe, increased production and consumption are expected to continue, the report said. “Consumption and exports are both expected to continue to grow, along with another modest bump in production. However, a global or even a U.S. recession could put the supply and demand numbers out of whack enough to curb production. On the supply side, a disease outbreak could alter the current trend, but for now cost of production measures are low and consumers continue to eat more chicken.”

The AFBF report is available at

Broiler chickens are Virginia’s top agricultural commodity in terms of farm cash receipts. The most recent U.S. Census of Agriculture found broilers and other meat-type chickens being raised on 966 Virginia farms. Updated statistics from the 2017 census will be available in early 2019.

Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, said continued steady growth in consumer demand for chicken “is critical to Virginia’s economy even though the broiler industry is very mature here in the state. The demand keeps broiler placements at high levels, which not only benefits poultry growers and processors, but also benefits corn and soybean farmers that produce the ingredients for poultry diets.”


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