American Farms Cull Millions Of Chickens Amid Virus-Related Staff Shortages At Processing Plants

A significant concern that readers should have during an economic collapse and pandemic is food security. We've noted over April that troubling news is developing deep inside America's food supply chain network, suggesting shortages and rapid food inflation could be ahead.

The reason behind the disruptions begins with meatpacking plants across the country are shuttering operations because of virus-related issues. At the moment, we've reported at least 10-12 large operations have gone offline in the last several weeks, which could result in pork shortages in the first or second week in May.

"Almost a third of U.S. pork capacity is down, the first big poultry plants closed on Friday and experts are warning that domestic shortages are just weeks away," reported Bloomberg

We also highlighted additional risks to beef and poultry capacity at processing plants that were starting to develop.

Now, more specifically, diving into the world of poultry, new developments from Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, a region known to be a top producer of chickens not just in the country but the world, is experiencing logistical issues due to coronavirus.

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that 2 million chickens are set to be culled across farms in Maryland and Delaware amid coronavirus-related staffing shortages at meatpacking plants.

We've heard the same story with pork, turkey, and beef processing plants across the country. Reducing operations or shutting down due to virus-related illnesses among staff. 

"With reduced staffing, many plants are not able to harvest chickens at the pace they planned for when placing those chicks in chicken houses several weeks ago," before strict social distancing rules went into effect, trade group for the Delmarva poultry industry said in a statement.

The trade group said poultry plants across the Delmarva Peninsula, which includes parts of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, are struggling to keep plants operating as worker attendance plunges because of virus-related illnesses.

The group said a large farm on the peninsula has turned to "depopulation" this month after processing plants were unable to accept chickens because of reduced capacity. It said culling chickens are last-resort options.

"Depopulation has been done in the past on Delmarva and in the U.S. in response to cases of the infectious avian disease," said James Fisher, a spokesman for Delmarva Poultry.

The American Veterinary Medical Association approved the extermination methods to cull the chickens on the peninsula.

The Sun notes farms on the peninsula are a major producer of poultry. The region grew 608 million birds last year, producing upwards of 4.3 billion pounds of processing meat.

The problem developing, is that reduced output at poultry processing plants and farmers culling flocks could trigger shortages of the meat.