Roughly 70 percent of the affected farmers are staying in the business out of the 700 houses destroyed, said John McMillan, the state’s agriculture commissioner. The remaining farmers have elected not to rebuild for various reasons, including their age, the amount of insurance they had and the willingness of another generation to take over the business.
Rebuilding was initially slowed by the massive quantities of debris left in the wake of the storms, which killed more than 3 million chickens. Building supplies and labor have also been limited in northern Alabama, which is the heart of the state’s poultry industry — and the region that took the brunt of the tornado damage. Some farmers lost their homes and farm equipment in the storms, as well.
Alabama’s poultry industry as a whole, however, was spared. “There are so many growers and, there are so many chickens being hatched out and delivered each week,” McMillan pointed out.
Individual farmers have felt the impact of the storm on their businesses, their homes and their incomes, he concluded.