STARKVILLE, Miss. (WJTV) – Poultry is one of Mississippi’s top agricultural commodities.

The estimated value of production for the state’s poultry in 2022 was $3.8 billion. According to the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service, this is a 48% increase over 2021’s record production value of $2.6 billion.

Josh Maples, agricultural economist for the MSU Extension Service, said stronger prices are the driver for the higher value of production.

“Broiler production is estimated to be down slightly from 2021, but broiler prices are up nearly 40%. So even though we will likely produce less when the final 2022 numbers are tallied, the stronger prices still lead to a big surge in total value of production. Egg prices have been exceptionally strong this year — more than double the average price seen in 2021,” he stated.

Broilers make up nearly $3.3 billion of the total, while eggs make up the remaining $572 million.

Officials said higher market prices helped producers cover high prices for feed and other inputs.

“The price for corn and soy has been high this year, which was less of a factor in the first three quarters, but the feed costs have not come down as prices for chicken have fallen,” said Mark Leggett, president of the Mississippi Poultry Association. “The levels on the wholesale market late in the year are well below costs. The markets peaked out in the spring and have been coming down since. Consumers are very stretched, and it is having an impact at restaurants as has inflation across the board.”

Maples said consumer demand for chicken has been strong in 2022 overall. However, he said he does not expect 2022’s numbers to hold next year, as inflation and corn and soy prices continue to concern industry professionals.

“The current USDA forecast is for broiler prices to drop about 7% in 2023, which would likely lead to a lower value of production,” he said. “Egg prices are expected to decline back to more normal levels from the prices seen in 2022. All of this is wrapped up in the broader inflationary environment that is affecting the price of nearly everything. There are some signals that inflation is slowing.”

This year marks the 28th straight year poultry has topped the list of agricultural commodities in Mississippi.