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US Poultry and Livestock Fuel Rural Economies

11 March 2011

US – US poultry and livestock farmers provide more than just meat, milk, eggs and other food, they also produce jobs, generate property tax revenues and contribute to household incomes.

US poultry and livestock also consume about 98 per cent of the domestically used soybean meal, making them the number one customer for US soybean farmers.

The United Soybean Board (USB) and the soybean checkoff strongly support their number one customer. To provide soybean farmers with information on the value of poultry and livestock to the economy, USB funded an independent examination of the most recent annual data available.

Findings show that poultry and livestock produced 1.8 million jobs, and contributed $252 billion in US gross domestic production on an annual basis. Livestock and poultry also contributed $41 billion to US household incomes, increasing income by $3 billion over the past 10 years, according to the study.

“It is important for our communities and community leaders to know the value of animal agriculture,” says Jim Schriver, a soybean farmer from Montpelier, Ind., and chair of USB’s Domestic Marketing programme.

“This sector of our economy not only produces the food we eat, but represents profit and job centers that support the communities in which we live.”

The 32-page report breaks down a range of data by state, including measurements for poultry and livestock production and value, economic impact, characteristics of farm operations and operators, input purchases, agricultural and economic censuses, taxation and computation of meal use by poultry and livestock.

The checkoff-sponsored report describes issues of concern that consistently emerged during data collection across a number of states. These issues range from opposition campaigns to incorrect assumptions about its impact on the environment. Here are a few of the issues addressed in the report:

  • Raw milk legislation
  • Animal welfare legislation
  • “Locavore” driven demand for small-scale, local processing
  • Action on climate change/ pollution
  • Illegal immigration/ labor issues

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