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Abstract

The poultry industry is the most vertically integrated of U.S. agriculture and food production and is rapidly progressing toward being one of the most concentrated. In 2002, the top 15 broiler states accounted for 94.4% of U.S. production. From 1982-2002, the top four broiler firms had a fivefold increase in Ready-to-Cook (R-T-C) pounds, a tripling of plants and four-and eight-firm concentration ratio increases of 27.9% to 48.2% and 44.1% to 66.6%. In a broad sense, chicken became more affordable, appealing, and available; total R-T-C pounds increased from 234 to 663 million pounds between 1982 and 2002.

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