Thanks to the poultry industry, Hardy County continues to remain in the forefront of agricultural producers in West Virginia. Our farmers benefit by raising broilers, layers and turkeys and our residents benefit by having jobs on the farms and available in the plants and that support and process the finished birds.
Retail establishments are helped by locals who have money to spend, banks are helped by making loans to farmers and home owners, governments are helped by taxes paid by farmers and people with jobs and the industries, and those taxes in turn pay for the services provided by county and city governments, schools and agencies. It’s a wonderful cycle here in poultry country and benefits everyone.
As we read about other areas of West Virginia where school systems are broke, county and city governments are nearly in the same situation, businesses are bankrupt and closing and people are leaving the state, we realize just how fortunate we are to be living and working in an area supported by poultry.
[private] In 2016 West Virginia produced 90,300,000 broilers. The value was $168,352,000. During the same year there were 3,700,000 turkeys raised at a value of $91,686,000. Egg production reached 287,100,000 valued at $55,890,000. Adding in layers and other chickens, West Virginia has more than $316 million in agricultural sales of poultry. And that number doesn’t include the sale of processed chicken or precooked chicken, also part of our industry. Poultry is a significant portion of all ag sales in the state, another reason Hardy County is a lot more flush than other counties which have depended on the shrinking income from coal.
For 65 years Moorefield has been the home of the West Virginia Poultry Festival. We weren’t the first to host the event, because in 1952 it was identified as the Tenth Annual Poultry Convention and Festival. We know the Poultry Association dates back to the late 30s and that the “conventions” were discontinued during the war years. We just aren’t sure where those earliest gatherings were held. We also know there have several years more recently where the festival was cancelled due to Avian Influenza.
AI was a possible threat earlier in the year, but again, thanks to the extraordinary measures taken by the industry and their neighbors, we kept the disease at bay.
We hope you will express appreciation to the local poultry farmers, to the management at Pilgrim’s, Perdue, Aviagen and any of the service industries helping maintain poultry. As they expand and grow, it’s good for all of us. And just because you don’t raise chickens or work for any of the providers of chicken, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thankful for their presence here in Hardy County. You might also thank all those folks who buy chicken, turkey, eggs, either raw or processed. Without them, there would be no poultry industry.
Now, celebrate poultry this week and enjoy the activities provided.