Cluck, Cluck Hooray for National Chicken Month!

Sep 14, 2023

As fall approaches, September celebrates the most-consumed meat in the United States: chicken. Two-thirds of U.S. chicken are raised in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas. And did you know that U.S. chicken meat is also a top agricultural export for our nation?

Foreign markets are increasingly important to the U.S. chicken industry, accounting for $4.4 billion in exports and 16 percent of global production in 2022. The United States is the world's second-largest exporter, with more than 145 countries importing U.S. frozen chicken leg quarters, legs, and thighs last year.

While U.S. consumers prefer chicken breast meat, internationally dark meat is widely consumed and desired. Most U.S. chicken meat exports are often destined for low and middle-income countries which value safe, affordable, tasty, high-protein options – especially consumers searching for ways to improve their food and nutrition security at a time of rising food prices. In 2022, nearly all (95 percent) of U.S. broiler meat exports were destinated for developing economies. Fourteen percent of shipments were exported to least developed countries.

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is dedicated to breaking down trade barriers, especially for high-demand products like chicken. For example, comments made by the United States to the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade persuaded Israel to withdraw a measure to impose maximum residue limits for dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls on poultry and other products that would have limited U.S. exports. FAS worked at the international level to eliminate this trade barrier that would have affected $36 million in U.S. exports to Israel.

Additionally, despite recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), U.S. chicken meat exports have largely held their ground, declining only 1 percent by volume in 2022, but rising 22 percent by value thanks to higher prices. The impact of HPAI on exports in 2022 was a marked improvement from the devasting impact the outbreaks of HPAI had on trade in 2015. Through diligent negotiations with trading partners, USDA has retained, and re-opened markets constrained on HPAI-related restrictions.

And lastly, in 2022, FAS and other USDA agencies reaped the success of decades of engagement to open the market in Egypt to frozen poultry parts. USDA agencies negotiated certification requirements and worked with industry to address halal concerns. The first shipments were valued at $800,000 and gave U.S. poultry exporters a foothold in Egypt’s more than $90 million market for imported poultry.

Every day, USDA works to remove barriers and improve foreign market access for U.S. chicken meat, ensuring long-term market expansion.

Looking towards the future, chicken meat exports from the United States are expected to increase by 3 percent in 2024, thanks to increased production. Angola, Canada, China, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, the Philippines, and Taiwan are among the top markets and USDA is committed to working with the U.S. poultry industry to ensure unhindered market access and continued success for America’s hardworking poultry producers.

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