The United States is the world's largest poultry producer and
the second-largest egg producer and exporter of poultry meat. U.S.
poultry meat production totals over 43 billion pounds annually:
over four-fifths is broiler meat; most of the remainder is turkey
meat; and a small fraction is other chicken meat. The total farm
value of U.S. poultry production exceeds $20 billion. Broiler
production accounts for the majority of this value, followed by
eggs, turkey, and other chicken.
Broiler production is concentrated in a group of States
stretching from Delaware, south along the Atlantic coast to
Georgia, then westward through Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas
(see map). The top broiler-producing State is
Georgia, followed by Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and North
Most U.S. broiler production is under contract with a broiler
processor. The grower normally supplies the growout house with all
the necessary heating, cooling, feeding, and watering systems. The
grower also supplies the labor needed in growing the birds. The
broiler processor supplies the chicks, feed, and veterinary
medicines. The processor schedules transportation of the birds from
the farm to the processing plant. In many cases, the processor also
supplies the crews who place broilers into cages for transportation
to the slaughter plant.
The U.S. turkey industry produces over one-quarter of a billion
birds annually, with the live weight of each bird averaging over 25
pounds. Production of turkeys is somewhat more scattered
geographically than broiler production. The top five
turkey-producing States are Minnesota, North Carolina, Missouri,
Arkansas, and Virginia (see map).
The United States is by far the world's largest turkey producer,
followed by the European Union. Even though exports are a major
component of U.S. turkey use, the United States consumes more
turkey per capita than any other country.
U.S. egg operations produce over 90 billion eggs annually. Over
three-fourth of egg production is for human consumption (the
table-egg market). The remainder of production is for the hatching
market. These eggs are hatched to provide replacement birds for the
egg-laying flocks and to produce broiler chicks for growout
operations. The top five egg-producing States are Iowa, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Texas.
The large majority of the U.S. table-egg production is consumed
domestically. U.S. egg and egg product exports are a relatively
minor proportion of production. U.S. per capita consumption of eggs
and egg products is around 250 eggs per person.