Girl Planting seeds

The Zombie Chicken Business

Almost all chicken farmers (more than 97 percent) work under the thumb of a giant producer, who controls their pay, their farming and ultimately their fate.  In many rural areas, there’s only one (or maybe two) big chicken companies in town, and they have no choice but to enter into exclusive contracts that, for many, saddle them with debt and little recourse if the relationship sours.  At one time, there were 1.6 million independent farms in the U.S.; today, there are about 25,000 contract farms that raise most U.S. poultry, with many of them raising upward of a half-million birds annually.  Contract farmers are paid using a tournament-style system that may deduct money from their paycheck based on others’ performance, pitting one farmer against another.  Read more...

 

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