Paying more for chicken? Poultry producers having a hard time keeping up with increased demand

National News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — If you like eating chicken, you might notice an increase in the price when you go to grab some wings or drumsticks.

The United States Department of Agriculture says a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, the harsh winter in Texas, and a tight labor market are making it difficult for poultry producers to keep up with increased demand.

Experts say while you’ll be able to find chicken at the store, you could be paying more for it.

As more restaurants reopen, the demand for all proteins is increasing. Like many employers, processing plants cannot find enough workers to make ends meet.

“Probably the biggest thing that is effecting the supply of chicken is actually labor,” Michael Persia, an associate professor at Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist, explained. “It is very difficult right now for poultry processing plants to be at full capacity. A lot of them are operating under capacity and that limits their ability to get their products out.”

Persia mentioned the cost of grains used to feed animals is going up, which means the cost of all proteins will eventually increase, as well.

He says he is hopeful that as more people return to work, poultry plants will able to increase production to meet the current demand.

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