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Tuesday May 5th, 2015 4:16AM

'Triple-whammy' challenges poultry industry

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter
RABBITTOWN - "Corn and ethanol...that's the largest problem facing, in my opinion, poultry and agriculture," said Abit Massey who served as President of the Georgia Poultry Federation for 48 years.

Massey was the featured speaker at the annual Hall County Farmer Appreciation Breakfast held at the East Hall Community Center on Wednesday, an event that began in 1995.

Moments before Massey took the stage Hall County Administrator Randy Knighton read a proclamation from the County Commission declaring November 16-22 as "Farm-City Week" in honor of the enormous financial influence agribusiness has on the area.

Massey is known by many as "the dean of the poultry industry", and is considered the kingpin responsible for Georgia's preeminence in broiler production.

"In 2005 Congress passed energy legislation - "Renewable Fuel Standards"...and it provided a triple-whammy to the poultry industry. It specified that 12.5 billion gallons of ethanol be used for gasoline every year," Massey said.

Currently most ethanol is made from corn, the chief feed ingredient used by the poultry industry.

Massey added, "In August of this tear...the University of Georgia (has) calculated that just the increase in corn prices...added to by the drought in the Midwest, that it was costing the Georgia poultry industry an extra $1.4 million every day."

"Eight poultry companies have gone into bankruptcy or closed their doors over the last eight years."

"The U.S Department of Agriculture is predicting that the United States will be the only (major poultry producing) nation to decline in broiler production next year," Massey said.

Massey said he has been actively involved in efforts to have the ethanol requirements eliminated.

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