There Is Now a Congressional Chicken Caucus

There is a caucus for everything in Congress, and now poultry won't feel left out.

Reps. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Steve Womack (R-Ark.) founded the Congressional Chicken Caucus this week "to educate members of Congress and others about the history, contributions and issues of importance to U.S. chicken producers, pertaining to food safety, international trade, labor, animal welfare, immigration and environmental issues, among others."

Costa, who represents the ag-heavy San Joaquin Valley, said the poultry industry "plays a critical role in the economy" in his district.

“We are home to the largest poultry processor in the West and the 5th largest in the country, which provides nearly 5,000 district jobs. As such, I am honored to be Co-Chair of the Congressional Chicken Caucus," the Blue Dog Dem said in a statement. "I look forward to working with my good friend Rep. Steve Womack in providing a platform on which issues pertaining to the poultry industry can be addressed.”

Womack said he shares "a longstanding bipartisan relationship" with Costa.

“We look forward to growing the caucus’ membership, working together to educate members, and advancing the issues that are important to the U.S. chicken industry," he said.

Costa's office noted that U.S. chicken producers are responsible for 280,000 direct jobs and 25,000 family farmers produce products worth $60 billion across more than 30 states.

"In 2014, U.S. chicken production was responsible for as much as $348.8 billion in total economic activity throughout the country, creating or supporting as many as 1,339,875 total jobs in chicken production and in supplier and ancillary industries.  Although chicken farms and processing plants may not be located in every district, the industry’s induced economic impact can be felt in every sector of the U.S. economy, in every state and every congressional district."