Profile of broiler producers in Tennessee and vertical integration in broiler production

Foaziatu Bukari, Tennessee State University


Broiler is one of the fastest growing agricultural businesses not only in Tennessee but in the United States as a whole. United State's broiler industry is rapidly changing not only in the technical aspect but economically as well. This highly technical and economical way of poultry production in the U.S is referred to as vertical integration. In this system an individual company called the "integrator" performs all or most of the production aspects. The integrators provide the chicks, feed, medication, part of the fuel for brooding, and technical advisers to supervise farm production. In other words the integrator is more likely the owner of the entire business, supervising everything until the finished product. Approximately 50 poultry companies are currently operating in the United States and about 99 percent of all broilers are produced under contract in these companies. In Tennessee, poultry production is second only to cattle as Tennessee's leading agricultural commodity, generating about $4.54million dollars annually in farm income. Broiler production is ranked 5th agricultural business in Tennessee and Tennessee is ranked 13th among all states in national poultry production. Thus, Tennessee poultry industry is obviously one of the major contributors of the state's revenue yet there are very few studies or documentations on broiler industry in Tennessee. In order for this industry to continue to grow in Tennessee, it is important to understand the system well especially in terms of nature of people engaged in this industry, the characteristics of the industry, and its structure, performance and prospects so as to keep it competitive among neighboring states. The objective of this study was, to develop the profile of Tennessee broiler producers, to examine the vertical integration in broiler production and to examine the structure and performance of Tennessee poultry industry. Both primary and secondary data were used to accomplish the study objectives. Secondary data were collected from statistics provided by Tennessee Department of Agriculture and other relevant sources. A structured questionnaire was used to survey 200 randomly selected broiler producers in Tennessee for primary data. A response rate of twenty (20) percent was observed. The completed and returned questionnaires were coded and tabulated using SPSS and further analyzed to achieve the study objectives. Tennessee broiler producers are predominantly male in their middle age. Tennessee broiler industry just like the United States broiler industry is vertically integrated with growers producing birds on contracts. The average age of respondents was 51.5 years and has been producing broiler for an average of 15 years on contract. Ninety two percent of respondents produced broilers on contract in 2012. The average broiler farm was between 75-100acres and produced an average of 5.5 flocks consisting of an average of 55,000birds per flock. More than half of the respondents were satisfied with their integrators yet majority indicated they will be reluctant to encourage others to join broiler business due to the complexity of the business and their concerns about contract broiler farming.

Subject Area

Food Science|Animal sciences|Agricultural economics|Agricultural education

Recommended Citation

Foaziatu Bukari, "Profile of broiler producers in Tennessee and vertical integration in broiler production" (2014). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI1557641.