Shares of chicken producers surged toward fresh highs morning trading Thursday, after the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative confirmed that China has lifted its ban on buying U.S. poultry, which exports now expected to top $1 billion a year. Tyson Foods Inc.'s stock /zigman2/quotes/201117502/composite TSN -0.75% rose 3.6%, and reached an all-time intraday high of $94.11 earlier; Sanderson Farms Inc. shares shot up 3.5%, on track for the highest close in two years; and Pilgrim's Pride Corp.'s stock /zigman2/quotes/204152423/composite PPC -0.33% climbed 1.4%, and was also headed for a 2-year high. The USTR's announcement confirms reports that starting circulating in late-October that China had lifted the ban. "After being shut out of the market for years, U.S. poultry producers and exporters welcome the reopening of China's market to their products," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. "America's producers are the most productive in the world and it is critical they be able to sell their bounty to consumers in other parts of the globe."