Want to know what’s on the minds of the leaders at the National Chicken Council in 2017?

As Mike Popowycz of Case Foods took over as the new chairman, and Todd Simmons, Simmons Foods, bowed out as the 2016 chairperson, they shared nine industry challenges – ranging from disease biosecurity, regulatory reform, trade and consumer affairs.

  1. Biosecurity and defense against HPAI: This was a point of success in 2016 – only one turkey flock had an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza – but keeping flocks healthy is a continuing priority in 2017. “One positive outcome of the HPAI outbreak in 2015 is that the industry has increased its focus on biosecurity and that remains in place,” Simmons said.
  2. International trade and exports: Another industry success in 2016 was the reopening of the chicken trade with South Africa. Simmons acknowledged the work of USA Poultry & Egg Export Council and others in this and how crucial trade is to the continued success of the U.S. poultry industry.
  3. GIPSA regulations: “While the fight is not anywhere near over, the industry has been successful in preventing new GIPSA regulations. That can certainly limit marketing options, add layers of bureaucracy, and have a negative effect on animal welfare and open floodgates to litigation,” he said.
  4. OSHA Regional Emphasis Program: The continued use by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Regional Emphasis Program to conduct wall-to-wall inspections in U.S. poultry processing facilities remains a major industry challenge.
  5. New Poultry Slaughter Modernization System: One of the key pieces of regulation the industry navigated is the New Poultry Slaughter Modernization System, which included the first ever food safety standard for chicken parts.
  6. Renewable Fuel Standard: Like all government subsidies, the Renewable Fuel Standard never goes away. It needs reforming.
  7. Immigration reform: “With a new U.S. president and Congress, there is the possibility of meaningful immigration reform,” Popowycz said.
  8. NCC’s broiler welfare standards: NCC is working on improving the health and well-being of the industry’s flocks through the updating of its broiler welfare standards.
  9. Chicken Check In: “NCC continues an aggressive PR campaign to tell the story of what all the folks in our industry do on a day to day basis. That has been a very positive outreach story,” Simmons said.

“Despite the obstacles and challenges mentioned, I am optimistic that the New Year is going to be a positive and productive one for the industry and the National Chicken Council,” Popowycz said.