The Georgia Dock chicken-price index, an industry benchmark whose reliability has been questioned in recent months, will not be published this week because of a lack of data from participating producers, the Georgia Department of Agriculture said.
The department, which has compiled the index since 1972, had a “significant reduction” in participants after new reporting requirements were established, spokeswoman Julie McPeake said Wednesday in a telephone interview with Bloomberg. She declined to comment on the number of producers contributing data, while saying the total was insufficient.
The index came under fresh scrutiny after the largest US producers were named as defendants in a series of lawsuits filed since September alleging collusion to control supply and drive up prices, something the companies denied. The index has also been criticized by the director of Georgia Department of Agriculture’s weekly chicken-price report, who complained of inadequate resources and a lack of cooperation from the chicken companies.
The Georgia agriculture agency asked participants to sign and return affidavits and attestations by Tuesday to confirm their data is accurate. McPeake said the department received some documents from some companies, while others may need more time. She declined to provide the names and exact number of participants. “We do understand we gave them a short turnaround,” she said. “It is possible we may resume publishing the Georgia Dock in the future.”