Price of Chicken Reaches All-Time High in U.S.

November 25, 2013 - 4:33 PM

(CNSNews.com) - The price for fresh whole chickens hit its all-time high in the United States in October, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In January 1980, when BLS started tracking the price of this commodity, fresh whole chickens cost $0.69 per pound. By this October 2003, fresh whole chickens cost $1.54 per pound.

price of chicken

In the last decade alone, the price has gone up 51 percent, from $1.02 in October 2003 to the current price of $1.54 per pound.

One factor contributing to the increasing cost of chicken, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, is increased regulation of chicken farmers.

In 2003 and 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency used the Clean Water Act to impose new regulations on “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs),” targeting the manure they produce.

In 2003, the EPA issued a final rule in the Federal Register to “ensure that CAFOs take appropriate actions to manage manure effectively in order to protect the nation’s water quality.”

In 2008, the EPA published another final rule to further “the statutory goal of restoring and maintaining the nation’s water quality by ensuring that CAFOs properly manage manure generated by their operations.”

CNS News asked the American Farm Bureau Federation, which represents farm and ranch families, to ask if such regulation had impacted the price of chicken.

“It’s hard to establish direct cause and effect in a situation like that, but obviously the greater the regulatory burden, the higher production costs are going to be,” said John Anderson, deputy chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“As production costs go up, that’s going to reduce the amount that farmers are able to produce at any particular price point and eventually that works its way through the system in terms of higher prices,” said Anderson.

“So, yeah, in terms of quantifying how much effect it would have, or exactly the timing of those effects, you know that would be very difficult, but certainly, as a general principle, increased regulation brings increased costs, and that brings higher prices to the ultimate consumer. There’s no question about that,” he added.

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