USDA Defend the Flock Program
Poultry for the Consumer
The poultry industry has developed into the premier meat food product consumed in the United States. The reasons for this ascention to the top of popular food products (meat and eggs) list are many. They are nutritional, economical, versatile in preparation, and are available in many different food products suitable for the modern American lifestyle.
The same factors that make poultry products popular also increase the need for food quality and safety information to the consumer. This site contains materials that answers many of the major questions posed by the information-seeking consumer of poultry products.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Safe Food in a Hurry addresses the concerns and procedures to follow to produce safe food products.
- Feeding a Crowd? Do It Safely presents simple rules you can use to avoid trouble and insure food safety when feeding large groups of people.
- A Quick Consumer Guide to Safe Food Handling tells you what to do at each step in food handling.
Poultry is big business in Mississippi, and poultry producers are having to manage disease and high feed costs to produce the meat and eggs that Americans consume in great quantities. Poultry is the most consumed meat in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, followed by beef and then pork. Eggs are also popular, with Americans eating close to 250 eggs per person each year.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi Board of Animal Health reported Feb. 23 that a backyard poultry flock in Copiah County tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza, often referred to as HPAI or H5N1.
This is the second backyard flock to test positive for HPAI. The first confirmation was in Lowndes County in November 2022. There have also been two detections in commercial broiler flocks, one in Lawrence County in November 2022 and the other in Leake County in February. All affected facilities were quarantined, and the birds were depopulated to prevent spreading.
Shoppers facing sticker shock at the grocery store know that eggs are part of the cost increase, but they may not know why.
Josh Maples, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said egg prices over the Christmas holiday were more than double what they were at the same time in 2021.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Poultry was already Mississippi’s top agricultural commodity before its overall value increased even more in 2022.
The estimated value of production for the state’s poultry in 2022 was $3.8 billion. This 48% increase over 2021’s record production value of $2.6 billion will rewrite the record books if these totals hold when the final numbers are released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture next April.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi Board of Animal Health is asking backyard bird owners to be vigilant in their biosecurity procedures after a commercial breeder chicken flock in Lawrence County tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI.
Extension helps Okolona producer improve profitability and maintain healthy birds
Joe Ellis knew almost nothing about chickens when he began raising them for Peco Foods, Inc., in 2008.