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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chicken Farmers Get Their Own Stimulus Package

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 7:30 AM

raw_chicken.jpg

You probably didn't notice it, but there's a chicken glut. And we're not talking about urban backyard chickens, this decade's preferred lawn ornament -- we're talking skinless breasts and thighs, the kind sold in packs of 10.

According to this CNN Money report, because of the recession (or even campaigns like Meatless Monday) fewer people are buying chicken right now. Meanwhile, chicken farmers have been upping production -- or rather, raising more birds -- and now have a surplus. Add to the problem the fact that chickens cost more to raise than they did a year ago.

Higher costs plus lower prices = potential disaster for chicken farmers.

So the USDA has just ordered a one-time purchase of $40 million worth

of meat, to be distributed to food banks and other organizations.

SFoodie is glad to hear that overstressed food banks are the recipients of the poultry stimulus package, though we shudder to think what $40 million worth of raw chicken meat looks like. And then there's this interesting little detail, slipped in near the end of the story: "The government made a similar move with a $30 million purchases of chicken products last year and a $42 million purchase of chicken products on 2008 with the intention of stabilizing retail prices." Apparently, the chicken farmers make this mistake every year. Yet another industry too big to fail? 

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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