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Poultry industry tops nation’s census

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) joined the Mississippi Poultry Association to announce that Mississippi’s Third Congressional District leads the nation in poultry production, according to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2007 Census of Agriculture.

The Third Congressional District, stretching from Woodville to Starkville, includes the bulk of the state’s poultry producing areas generating $1.78 billion in poultry and egg sales. Five additional congressional districts from Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia topped $1 billion in poultry farm sales.

Poultry is Mississippi’s largest agricultural product with $2.44 billion in poultry and egg farm sales. The industry employs approximately 20,000 people on farms, feed mills, hatcheries, processing plants and other related industries with a total $6 billion impact on the state’s economy.

The Third Congressional District also leads the nation in broilers and other meat-type chickens sold with 615 million birds sold in 2007 from 1,032 farms. Congressional districts in Alabama and Arkansas have more broiler farms, but sold fewer chickens.

“We knew the poultry industry is huge in Mississippi, but the numbers from the USDA prove that Congressman Harper’s district is the buckle of the chicken belt for the United States,” said Mark Leggett, president, Mississippi Poultry Association.

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