Chicken industry representatives swarmed over Capitol Hill this week, meeting with Congressmen and Senators to drive home the messages that the ethanol tax credit should be eliminated, the GIPSA rule withdrawn, and a trio of free trade agreements approved.

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Chicken exports for March this year were 288,594 metric tons compared with 292,395 tons in March 2010 while the accompanying values were $336.80 million in March 2011 and $317.36 million a year earlier, a 1.3-percent decrease in quantity but a 6.1-percent increase in value.

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Broiler production next year is expected to be 37.732 billion pounds, 1.9 percent ahead of the 37.013 billion pounds estimated for 2011, according to USDA’s “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” report from the World Agricultural Outlook Board this week.

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A number of commodity analysts continue to believe corn prices will experience on-going volatility, despite the fact that USDA this week predicted this year’s corn crop will be the largest on record at 13.505 billion bushels. The “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” report this week from the World Agricultural Outlook Board forecast that 92.2 million acres of corn would be planted this spring with 85.1 million acres harvested for grain, 3.7 million more acres than last year.

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Korea’s Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MIFAFF) issued notice 2011-220 effective May 11 for a tariff rate quota (TRQ) of 50,000 metric tons (mt) of chicken with a zero import duty, according to a May 12 USDA Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN Report.

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Sherry Frey, vice president, account services, at the Perishables Group, will provide insight into the latest sales data for chicken in the supermarket meat department as well as future trends at this summer’s Chicken Marketing Seminar.

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Consumer confidence in food safety is at its highest point in seven years, according to the Food Marketing Institute’s “U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends” report issued this week.

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Data on restaurant menus compiled by research Mintel for BurgerBusiness.com indicates that many new chicken items are being added to hamburger chains.

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USDA’s Commodity Procurement Division has launched a Web site providing vendors and other interested parties streamlined access to information regarding USDA’s purchase programs.  Earlier this year, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service consolidated the Livestock and Seed, Fruit, and Vegetable, and Poultry commodity procurement branches to form the commodity procurement division.

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George’s, Inc., has completed the purchase of the Tyson Foods complex in Harrisonburg, Virginia, officials from both companies announced Monday.

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U.S. total broiler slaughter data for the week ending May 14 is estimated by USDA’s Poultry Market News Service to be 165,236,000 broilers, a 2-percent increase from the same week a year earlier.

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