Average poultry production for the last 12 months is at an all-time high and is up 4.4 percent from the prior year. There are, however, some tentative signs of slower growth moving through early 2016. The quarterly growth rate fell to 3.3 percent in November, the lowest level since November 2014. The poultry market appears poised for slower growth in 2016. This is in line with our expectation of deceleration in overall food production in 2016.

The poultry market has been a robust performer relative to other meat markets in the last 12 months. Animal slaughtering and processing production (including poultry) in the United States rose 3 percent in the last 12 months. In contrast, U.S. animal slaughtering and processing minus poultry grew at a milder rate of 2.1 percent. Americans are not eating less; our consumption patterns are simply changing, particularly as they relate to meat. Poultry’s gain has largely been at the expense of the U.S. beef market, where average production during the past year declined 2.6 percent from the prior year.  NP