Michael Harden, the Civitas Institute’s director of agricultural studies, took to the airwaves this week in two interviews to discuss disruptions in the food supply chain due to COVID-19 – on the Tyler Cralle Show (WAAV; 980 AM Wilmington) and the Pete Kaliner Show podcast.
This week, a story that North Carolina farmers were forced to euthanize 1.5 million chickens due to supply chain disruptions prompted interest in this topic.
Speaking with Pete Kaliner on the resiliency of poultry supply chains, Harden said:
When our grandparents let chickens run around the yard and killed them, these chickens had to grow for four to five months to get to slaughter weight. Today, with the efficiencies of selective breeding, and the feed ratios, and the fact that they can manipulate the lighting in these houses, you’ve got chickens going to market in as little as eight or nine weeks. So every day is like years in the life of a chicken. And the chickens don’t stop growing. They can get to a point where they start having physical issues.”
It’s a travesty – when you have food like this that is most definitely some of the best in the world that is ready to be consumed. But because we have closed the door on every avenue except this one avenue to get these birds to market, we ended up seeing them euthanized by the hundreds of thousands or millions.”
On Civitas’s future work in agriculture, Harden said:
I like to think of Civitas as the lobbyist for the taxpayer. When the taxpayer doesn’t have a lobbyist in these [legislative] meetings, that’s what Civitas is there doing. The idea that we’re now doing that [focusing] on the production of food and fiber is a very exciting thing, and I think everyone will be better off for it.”
Listen to Michael Harden’s interview on the Tyler Cralle Show here (at 18:00):
Listen to Michael Harden’s interview on the Pete Kaliner Show here:
Read the Civitas Institute’s COVID-19 recovery recommendations agriculture policy here.