Business France has gathered 16 companies under this year's IPPE French pavilion. Photo: Business France

A beefed-up French delegation hosted at the Metro Atlanta Chamber Tuesday was among the many international groups that have returned in full force to what many call the “poultry show” in Atlanta now that COVID-19 has receded.

Delegations from the Netherlands and Brazil, both agricultural influencers in their own rights, were slated to hold separate events in the city Wednesday, a testament to the global reach of the event officially known as the International Production and Processing Expo, or IPPE.

The show at the Georgia World Congress Center annually hosts more than 30,000 conferees from 120 countries interested in the business of meat processing and feed.

Sixteen French companies congregated under the Choose France banners at a French pavilion organized by the North American branch of Business France, the government agency in charge of boosting exports and recruiting investment.

That’s nearly twice the number of French firms that attended last year’s event, which happened to coincide with the omicron coronavirus wave.

“France is an agricultural powerhouse, a leading producer of poultry and the first organic producer in the European Union,” French Consul General Anne-Laure Desjonquères said in brief remarks at the chamber’s cocktail reception. “On a worldwide scale, France is also the third largest producer of turkey. And it’s the EU’s largest cattle herd with more than 18 million heads of cattle, including 3.5 million dairy cows.”

She added that France has been a leader in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from its agricultural sector.

The IPPE showcases the latest innovations across a wide range of applications in the industry, but it also generates real commerce across a variety of sectors, from machinery to feed additives to packaging solutions. The show has international trade specialists and translators on hand to facilitate deals.

Launched 75 years ago with the attendance of 200 poultry producers and now organized by the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, or USPOULTRY, the show takes place in the heartland for the production of “broilers,” the industry term for whole chickens for meat consumption.

Georgia is the leading broiler-producing state in the nation, led by its northern region, particularly in and around Gainesville.

Trailed closely by Alabama, Georgia alone produced about 1.3 billion chickens in 2021, accounting for nearly 8 billion pounds of meat and producing $4.1 billion in sales value.

Poultry (including eggs) is by far the state’s largest agricultural commodity, more than five times as large as the next contender, cotton. Poultry processing accounts for 33,746 jobs in Georgia, according to the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development at the University of Georgia.

Learn more about Georgia’s top commodities and the statewide impacts of the agricultural industry here.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...