Delaware Senator Chris Coons (D) announced the formation of the inaugural Senate Chicken Caucus in the U.S. Senate. Speaking to attendees at the National Chicken Council’s (NCC) annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Coons cited the importance of the chicken industry to the U.S. economy as impetus for founding the caucus.
“Chicken growers, integrators, processors, and distributors employ thousands in Delaware and across the country, and provide healthy and delicious meals to consumers around the world,” he said. “I hope that the Senate Chicken Caucus will give America's chicken producers a platform to better inform legislators about the industry's vital contributions to our economy, and promote policy solutions that help their businesses grow and thrive.”
Coons will co-chair the caucus with Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson (R).
“Representing the number one chicken producing state in the country, I'm proud to join Senator Coons in launching the Senate Chicken Caucus," said Senator Johnny Isakson. "The caucus will go a long way in supporting our nation's chicken producers by providing a forum for senators, chicken producers, retail and food service to discuss the issues that face the chicken industry and the role of the federal government in addressing these issues.”
The Senate Chicken Caucus was formed to educate other Senators about the history, contributions and concerns of U.S. chicken producers, which emanate from a wide range of issues pertaining to agriculture, food safety, free trade, labor, immigration reform and others. A Congressional Chicken Caucus was formed in the House in 2011 during the 112th session of Congress, and is currently co-chaired by Reps. Rick Crawford (R, Ark.) and Sanford Bishop (D, Ga.) and maintains more than 50 House members.
In addition to Senators Coons and Isakson, founding members of the Senate Chicken Caucus to date include Senators John Boozman (R, Ark.), Tom Carper (D, Del.), Saxby Chambliss (R, Ga.), Mark Pryor (D, Ark.) and Roger Wicker (R, Miss.).
“I want to thank Senators Coons and Isakson for their bipartisan leadership in taking the lead in organizing the Senate Chicken Caucus,” said NCC President Mike Brown. “As it does in the House, the Senate Caucus will give a united voice to chicken producers as we navigate the many issues of importance to our industry in the months ahead.”
According to NCC, U.S. chicken companies directly employ more than 300,000 workers, producing products with a wholesale value of more than $45 billion dollars annually. With major operations in more than 30 states, there are more than 40 vertically integrated companies that contract with 25,000 family farms to raise broiler chickens.