Recently, PBS Newshour did a great little segment on the small turkey farm. What are its challenges and economic struggles? As is usually the case, the farm couple works VERY hard, they rely upon off-farm income, and they have a value-added venture store which sells directly to the consumer.
In this video, the Newshour’s Paul Solman interviews Rick Hermonot, who owns Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm in Eastern Connecticut about his operation which turns out 3,000 free range antibiotic free turkeys a year. How do they butcher them and how do they get it done so quickly are two of the looming questions that are answered here.
This post (below) is from the USDA. I like this quote from the last sentence of the summary
“The cessation of broiler industry growth, due to slowing growth in population, per capita consumption of chicken, and exports, places new financial pressures on broiler producers and new stresses on industry organization.”
Though the USDA will not tell you that escalating feed prices resulted from using 40 percent of the corn crop for ethanol production, which is the main cause of the decline in poultry meat production here in the U.S., I think that almost any poultry producer will explain that to you rather quickly. (!)
From the USDA…
U.S. broiler production has leveled off after decades of rapid growth
Between 1960 and 1995, annual broiler slaughter in the United States grew from 1.5 to 7.4 billion birds—4.6 percent per year, on average. With birds also getting larger—from an average of 3.35 pounds to 4.66—total live-weight production grew at an average rate of 5.6 percent per year.
While average weights continued to grow steadily after 1995, growth in annual slaughter slowed sharply and then fell in 2009 and again in 2012. Total live-weight production reached 49.8 billion pounds in 2008, but did not exceed that figure until 2013. In all, live-weight production grew by just 1.3 percent per year between 2003 and 2013, one-fourth of the 1960-1995 growth rate.
High production growth in earlier decades—and slowing growth later—reflected movements in demand for chicken meat. The cessation of broiler industry growth, due to slowing growth in population, per capita consumption of chicken, and exports, places new financial pressures on broiler producers and new stresses on industry organization.