Just eight months ago, U.S. chicken farmers were celebrating the reopening of the Chinese market. Now they’re cheering the dizzying pace of sales that have pushed China to the number-one position in April and May in foreign markets, and the trade shows no sign of slowing down.
Contract chicken growers are struggling to cover their costs because of outbreaks that have forced poultry processors in many areas to slow operations and reduce the number of birds their farmers will produce.
Shutting down, slowing processing line speeds, and reducing work hours is becoming a reality for livestock processors as more workers contract COVID-19, and ag economists argue timing of closures in the coming weeks is everything.
Michigan cherry farmers picked themselves up and got back into the orchards after a devastating frost seven years ago, but now they’re fighting a new kind of battle — one that many producers might not recover from if they lose.