7 reasons why chicken reigns king in Georgia

Atlanta hosts the International Production & Processing Expo, which attracts over 28,000 people from 124 countries
Photograph courtesy of iStockphoto

For decades, one of the biggest annual conventions in Atlanta has been the January gathering of poultry producers. Now even bigger—attended by more than 28,000 people from 124 countries—it’s called the International Production & Processing Expo and includes farmers of beef, pork, and other meats. But chicken remains king. Why poultry wields such power in the Peach State:

Poultry’s share of the state agriculture business. All crops combined represent just 44 percent.



81.4 pounds
Average annual per capita chicken consumption in the U.S. We consume more than three times the global average of 25.6 pounds.


0115_chicken01_mlotion_oneuseonly21 dozen
Annual per capita egg consumption in the U.S. Although Georgia is top in chickens, we rank only tenth for eggs.



Year that chicken overtook beef as America’s favorite food, according to the Poultry Federation



The spot Georgia would claim, if it were a nation, on a list of global poultry producers. At 2.4 million metric tons of broilers annually, we rank just below Mexico (3 million tons) but above Argentina and Turkey (2 million and 1.8 million tons, respectively).


The share of Georgia survey respondents who said they were interested in supporting “pastured poultry,” in which birds are raised in open fields, fed a natural diet, and live almost twice as long as those in factory farms. Most Georgia poultry is raised on factory farms, large-scale productions where a henhouse can produce up to 30,000 chickens. The largest Southeast producer of pastured poultry, Georgia’s White Oak Pastures, processes 1,000 chickens daily.


$38 billion
Contribution to the state economy from poultry farms, processing plants, and related industries

On the calendar: The International Production & Processing Expo runs January 27-29. Visitors to the Georgia World Congress Center expo will peck their way through programs on growing their business, both literally and financially.

Illustrations by Miss Lotion.

This article originally appeared in our January 2015 issue under the headline “Chicken State.”