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US propane shortage prompts fears for poultry sector

Millions of Americans have been affected by an ongoing propane shortage due to excess usage during the extreme cold weather. Prices of the fuel, a liquefied petroleum gas, have rocketed and there are fears that this shortage could harm the production of poultry in the affected states, particularly in the mid-west.

"The National Chicken Council (NCC) which represents companies that produce, process, and market over 95% of the chicken in the United States is working with the appropriate federal agencies, organisations, and stakeholders to help alleviate the spot shortages being experienced with the very tight supply of propane in at least 31 states, many of which have important production of chicken," said Mike Brown, president, National Chicken Council.

"NCC is being particularly supportive of the National Propane Gas Association's efforts to allow for the expedited delivery of propane, such as the regulatory relief from the Hours of Service requirement.

"NCC fully understands that adequate residential heating must be the first priority, but, at the same time, it will be important to work to minimise the potential disruption to the food supply, especially animal agriculture. Chicken companies are not placing baby chicks in growout housing unless there is an assured supply of propane. NCC's animal care/welfare guidelines call for the chicken during growout to be comfortable and free of stress from a harsh environment, such as a growout house being too cold.

"Despite the cold weather across much of the United States and the record-high draw-down of national gas and propane inventory, NCC is hopeful that the propane challenge will be successfully met as all parties work cooperatively together."

World Poultry

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