The British poultry industry is worth £6.1 million, according to a new report.
A paper published by Oxford Economics on behalf of the British Poultry Council designed to assess the economic impact of the industry revealed this figure, along with details about how the sector supports jobs.
Statistics show that the industry contributed around £3.3 billion to the country's Gross Domestic Product through supply chain and wages during 2012, while it also paid approximately £200 million in tax. Income tax relating to employees was responsible for 39 per cent of this, while 33 per cent came from National Insurance payments.
In terms of expenditure, the poultry industry invested around £1.6 billion in goods and services during the 12-month period, with processors typically spending more than farms.
With regard to jobs, over 73,000 people were employed by the industry in 2012, with 29 per cent working in livestock production and 71 per cent being involved in meat processing.
The areas most popular with poultry production were found to be the Midlands, Lincolnshire, East Anglia and Northern Ireland. Of 34 major slaughterhouses, 27 are based in England, but the number of birds per square kilometre is significantly higher in Northern Ireland.
Commenting on the figures, farming minister George Eustice highlighted that the poultry industry is doing all it can to bridge the skills gap currently being experienced by the UK's manufacturing sector, the Poultry Site reports.
He said: "School leavers are often under-equipped in the relevant skills needed for manufacturing, be it in food, aircraft or automobiles. However, it's a testament to the poultry industry's tenacity and belief in its people that it has worked to address this skills gap."
Mr Eustice added that the poultry industry has a number of programmes available to support students in choosing food manufacturing as a career option, including school visits and educational resource packs.
In addition to this, funding is also on offer to aid young people in embarking on a career in the sector, from NVQ to PhD level.