Poultry is the No. 1 farm commodity in Alabama, making up 68 percent of the state’s commodity receipts and 48 percent of its agricultural exports.1

With 2,417 poultry operations, the state produced slightly more than 1 billion broiler chickens in 2009 – ranking third among states2 – with a value of $2.5 billion3. This represents about 12 percent of the broilers raised in the United States.4

Alabama’s production first topped 1 billion broiler chickens in the year 2000, having doubled its production in just 20 years and having quintupled its production in 40 years.5

The industry generates 75,000 jobs in the state and has an $8.5 billion economic impact – about 10 percent of the state’s economy, according to the Alabama Poultry Producers, a trade association.6 Nationwide, about half of poultry workers are Latinos, and more than half are women.7

There are about 25 major poultry processing plants in Alabama. The major companies are Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Wayne Farms, Koch Foods, AlaTrade Foods, Cagle’s and Equity Group. Participants in this survey worked in 20 different plants.



[1] Ala. Dep’t of Agric. & Indus., Alabama Agriculture: A Guide to the State’s Farms, Food and Forestry (2012). 

[2] Georgia and Arkansas were first and second, respectively. USDA Econ. Research Serv., Poultry & Eggs: Statistics & Information, http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/animal-products/poultry-eggs/statistics-i..., (last updated May 28, 2012). Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and North Carolina combine to make up 57 percent of the U.S. broiler chicken industry. See id

[3] Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Alabama Agriculture and Forestry: Special Rept. No. 9 (Sept. 2010).

[4] USDA Econ. Research Serv., supra note 2.

[5] USDA Nat’l Agric. Statistics Serv. & Ala. Dep’t of Agric. & Indus., Alabama Agricultural Statistics: Bulletin 52 at 35 (2010).

[6] Alabama Poultry Producers, Changing with the Times, http://www.alfafarmers.org/commodities/poultry.phtml (last accessed Aug. 31, 2012).

[7] United Food & Commercial Workers, Injury & Injustice: America’s Poultry Industry, http://www.uusc.org/files/programs/econjustice/pdf/injury_and_injustice.pdf (last accessed Jan. 4, 2013).