The president of the Mississippi Poultry Association brought the case for better bridges and roadways to the State Capitol, emphasizing the economic impact the poultry industry and agriculture as a whole has on the state. Mark Leggett recently spoke to a Mississippi Senate committee assigned to look into the state's deteriorating highway and bridge system.

Leggett began by pointing out that agriculture represents nearly a quarter of the state's total economy, and the sector is led by the poultry industry. In 2012, poultry production in Mississippi accounted for $2.53 billion, more than double that of the second-largest commodity, soybeans. Some 758 broilers were raised on 1,478 farms and were served by 41 feed mills, hatcheries and processing plants.

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"To move (chickens) we need roads and bridges that can handle the loads," the Mississippi Poultry Association president said. "Mainly, county and state aid roads, but also state highways. If we can't get it out of the field, from the forest or the poultry house, we don't have the jobs in towns where the processing facilities are. "We talk a lot about economic development in this building, and that often boils down to what it costs a company to do business in Mississippi. Moving agricultural commodities is an increasing cost."