The Covid-19 pandemic has affected many facets of agriculture, including the poultry industry. In Alabama, commercial poultry production employs more than 86,000 workers industrywide. For this reason, Alabama Extension professionals helped develop and execute a plan to put poultry producers on the map when Alabama CARES Act funds were distributed in the agricultural sector.
According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service (ACES), Associate Extension Professor with a poultry specialty Dennis Brothers, and Extension Economist Adam Rabinowitz, partnered with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) and other poultry interest groups to secure allocations for poultry growers in the state.
Through the initial plans, only broiler growers would receive compensation for excessive days of out time between flocks. But, through the more than 200 survey responses Extension personnel were able to gain understanding of the COVID-induced situation for Alabama contract growers.
“This ‘days of out time’ metric was an easy target to hit. However, survey confirmed there were other impacts,” Brothers said. “This included breeder growers who raise hatching eggs with excessive out times. It also included density changes caused by integrators sending less birds to houses and some fluctuations in flock lengths.”
Survey results also showed that a 21-day threshold for relief, the original threshold length, was too long. Brothers said survey responses were able to help determine the time should be a smaller window. The ADAI settled on 17 days instead of 21.
The ADAI received a total of 727 applications, but after a few withdrawals and the removal of out-of-state applications, 697 Alabama applicants received compensation. The total payout for the poultry program was nearly $3.5 million. Twenty-nine Alabama poultry processing facilities also saw a payout totaling $1.1 million.
For more information on poultry production in Alabama visit Alabama Extension online at aces.edu.