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Organic Poultry
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Organic Poultry

The largest volume of organic meat sales is for poultry. Chicken is the most widely available organic meat; it is found in a large number of natural food retailers and conventional groceries. Chicken is also the most popular natural and organic meat, purchased by more than seven in ten shoppers (73%). Organic chicken dominates because of its relatively short production cycle, low price premium and integrated production.

Organic poultry producers are now expanding rapidly. In 2005 U.S. farmers in nearly 35 states produced 13.8 million certified organic chickens and turkeys.

More organic broilers (10.4 million) were marketed in 2005 than organic layer hens (2.4 million) and turkeys (144 thousand) combined. Organic broiler production was centered in California (3.6 million or 34%), Pennsylvania (2.9 million or 28%) and Nebraska (2.4 million or 23%), followed by Iowa (886 thousand or 9%). Together, these states produced 94 percent of the organic broiler supply.

Nearly 1 percent, or 2.4 million, of the layer hens produced in 2005 were certified organic. Four states dominated that market: North Carolina (302 thousand or 15%), California (281 thousand or 14%), Pennsylvania (274 thousand or 13%) and Iowa (243 thousand or 12%). These states accounted for 54 percent of organic hen numbers.

Michigan (57 thousand or 39%) and Pennsylvania (49 thousand or 34%) were the leading producers of organic turkeys in 2005, followed by California (18 thousand or 13%) and Iowa (15 thousand or 11%). Together, these states produced 139 thousand turkeys or 97 percent of organic turkey numbers.  January 2009 . . . Organic Poultry

  • Accredited Certifying Agents, National Organic Program, USDA - Current listing of certification agencies.
  • International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) - This Web site provides access to documents regarding the growing market for organic products.
  • National Chicken Council (NCC) - The NCC represents companies that produce, process and market almost 95 percent of America's chicken. Although NCC's primary responsibility involves public affairs/government relations, it also actively promotes the marketing and consumption of safe and nutritious chicken products both domestically and internationally.
  • National Organic Program, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA - This program provides information regarding the national standards and organic certification. Only certified foods can be labeled as organic.
  • Natural and Organic Foods, Food Marketing Institute Backgrounder, 2008.
  • Organic Agriculture at FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations - Provides information on organic agriculture, including international markets, guidelines for exporting and certification.
  • Organic Farming and Marketing, ERS, USDA - The briefing room on organic agriculture describes characteristics of the U.S. organic farm sector, including estimates of organic farmland acreage and livestock, by commodity and by state.
  • Organic Livestock Workbook, National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), revised 2004 - This publication is designed for use by organic and transitional producers with livestock or mixed crop livestock operations.
  • Organic Poultry and Eggs Capture High Price Premiums and Growing Share of Specialty Markets, ERS, USDA, 2006  - This  report gives an update on market trends for organic poultry and provides price comparisons for conventional and organic poultry.
  • Organic Poultry Gaining in Specialty Market Competition, Amber Waves, ERS, USDA, 2007 - Explains why poultry is among the fastest growing organic food products in the United States, despite high feed costs and other challenges in production and marketing.
  • Organic Production, National Agricultural Library, USDA - This collection of resources deals specifically with marketing and trade resources.
  • Poultry Market Prices, AMS, USDA - Up-to-the-minute access to poultry market commodities pricing, including broilers/fryers, eggs and turkeys.
  • U.S. Poultry & Egg Association - This trade organization promotes the poultry and egg industry.



Businesses/Case Studies

Links checked January 2009.


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