Poultry industry faces supply shortages and higher expenses


SALISBURY, Md. – Poultry farmers on Delmarva are in a tough spot heading into the fall, as the effects of the pandemic are expected to have a long-term impact on the industry, despite a bump in consumer demand.    

“Generally in the fall it’s a little bit of a slower for us but right now the demand continues to be high for chickens so we may not see that decrease we see in years past,” said Delmarva Chicken Association Executive Director Holly Porter.

She told 47 ABC that while that may sound like good news, it actually means consumers can expect an increase in price as supply shortages mean less chicken is making out from farms and unto store shelves.

“When I’m going to the grocery store I’m spending a bit more and I’m not expecting those to go down when we continue to have the issues we talk about with the supply chain,” she said.

But prices aren’t just high for consumers, local farmers like Virgil Shockley told 47 ABC he’s being squeezed by shortages and rising prices for materials, repairs, and power for the equipment required to raise chickens and the corn that goes into their feed.

“What the prices are going to be on the consumer level will depend on how much corn we grow because corn goes into the poultry feed and how much soy we grow because that goes into the feed,” he said, adding “my average electric bill is between 2500 and 3500 dollars a flock and that’s straight off the top of the check and fertilizer cost is going up everything is going up heading into spring of 2022 seed cost, chemical costs everything will go up in 2022.”

He told 47 ABC that prices for chemicals a farm can’t run without can only go so high before small farmers cannot afford to keep running.

“Nitrogen cost cannot exceed more than 25 to 30 percent of your input cost on a per acre basis, if it does you are never going to get it back,” Hockley said.

Hockley believes if things keep going this way, there will be no room left in the market for small farmers because of the high prices can only be carried by big poultry companies. But we’re told measures can be taken to cut costs. Such as buying electricity in bulk and urging congress to make federal assistance funds easier to access.

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