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 Carolina.
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.