SMITHFIELD, N.Y. (AP) — Severe thunderstorms packing strong winds rolled through central New York, killing four people, destroying or damaging numerous houses and knocking out power to more than 70,000 utility customers, officials said Wednesday.
The world's largest chicken breeder has discovered that a key breed of rooster has a genetic issue that is reducing its fertility, adding to problems constraining U.S. poultry production and raising prices at a time when beef and pork prices are already at record highs. The breed, Aviagen Group's standard Ross male, is sire through its offspring to as much as 25 percent of the nation's chickens raised for slaughter, said Aviagen spokeswoman Marla Robinson. Sanderson Farms, the third-largest U.S. poultry producer and one of Aviagen's largest customers, said it and Aviagen systematically ruled out other possible causes for a decline in fertility before determining a genetic issue was at the root of the problem. The issue is hitting an industry that is already suffering from a short supply of breeder birds.