Alabama poultry industry in ruins after storm

02-05-2011 | | |

The storm that hit several US states last week has had a devastating impact on Alabama’s important poultry industry.

In Alabama, the storm devastated the state’s $2.4bn (£1.43bn) a year poultry industry, levelling chicken houses, killing birds and knocking out power to feed mills and processing plants, the BBC reported.

Dan Smalley, who owns one of the largest poultry farms in the state of Alabama, estimates that he will lose about 200,000 birds in the coming days because the storm destroyed the facilities he needs to tend them.

Nine of his 15 chicken houses were completely destroyed. Without the ability to feed and water his chickens and to transport them to the processing plants, Smalley will have to put them down, he says.

Across Alabama, the storm destroyed 200 chicken houses and significantly damaged as many as 450 others.

Alabama’s poultry industry is the third-largest in the US, producing about one billion broilers every year, and officials estimate it could be six months to a year before the industry resumes full production.

Although most Alabama farmers will not suffer financially from the loss of the livestock, they will have to rebuild the chicken houses and feed pens and replace destroyed heavy kit.

Insurance companies are expected to cover much of the losses. Guy Hall, poultry director of the Alabama Farmers Federation, predicted most chicken farmers would take the insurance money and get back to work.

Source: BBC