Meat and poultry production in the United States in 2014 is likely to tie the record levels seen in 2008 as a result of lower feed costs, Thomas Elam, president of FarmEcon LLC, said during the Grain & Meat Outlook Webinar, hosted by WATT Global Media and Farm Journal on August 27. A replay of the webinar, which was the second in a series, is available on

Total U.S. production for the four major proteins - broilers, pork, beef and turkey - should reach levels that have not been seen since 2008. Elam projects that 93 billion pounds of the four proteins will be produced in 2014.

Breaking it down further, Elam projected that record levels of broilers and pork will be produced in the U.S. in 2014, at 38.4 billion pounds and 24.2 billion pounds, respectively. Elam's forecast for turkey production in 2013 at 6.2 billion pounds will nearly tie the levels produced in the U.S. in 2008, while beef production will drop to 24.2 billion pounds, down from the previous high of 26.3 billion pounds in 2010.


While U.S. protein production should reach record levels, Elam does not look for per capita protein consumption to return to 2008 levels.

"This does represent a substantial recovery in production, but it doesn't mean a substantial recovery in U.S. consumption, which will still be well below potential. Two reasons for that: Red meat and poultry exports have increased substantially since 2008, and our population has grown by about 8 percent since 2008," Elam said.

Key to the increased meat and poultry production, Elam said, are lower feed prices. Elam said a record corn crop is anticipated, and a much larger soybean crop can be expected. And while the demand for the two major feed ingredients will be increased, the overall increased supply should drive down costs.