FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Bird flu has yet to reach Arkansas, but the impacts of the disease can be felt when buying poultry products.
Richard McGinnis, the owner of Richard’s Country Meat Market, prices his meat inventory at the start of each week. He said the price tag on most meat hasn’t changed, but it is rising for chicken.
Yet people are still buying chicken right now, McGinnis said he is worried they might stop if the price keeps going up.
McGinnis said the price for a pound of chicken is around five dollars and before the pandemic, it would’ve been under four, and he only expects that price to rise.
“They keep promising that corn is going to go through the ceiling and when it does that, then it’s gonna affect everything,” said McGinnis.
Although corn costs are the least of chicken farmer’s worries, instead they’re worried about the fast spreading bird or avian flu.
Kelton Hays with Cobblestone Farms, a nonprofit hunger relief farm, said the demand for chicken and their eggs are on the rise.
“About 26 million birds have been affected by bird flu, and that’s really caused the production of eggs and chicken meat to decrease,” said Hays.
26 million birds in about three months is more than half of the chickens Hays said the US Lost during the last influx of bird flu.
“Bird flu is so transmissive that if one bird in a flock of 60,000 is found to have bird flu, not only could that wipe out the entire flock naturally, but that whole flock has to be terminated to ensure that it doesn’t continue spread throughout the US,” said Hays.
Although during the last bird flu influx, America was able to import many poultry products from Europe, but along with a war in one of the biggest egg-producing countries, Europe is dealing with bird flu as well.
Hays said the many large-scale chicken farmers in the area are taking every precaution to keep the bird flu out of Arkansas flocks.
At Richard’s County Meat Market, eggs are used in most of the foods they make and McGinnis said people might be surprised to see all the food products that have to rise in price based on the egg shortage. Foods such as pastries and cakes.