The Guardian just ran an excellent article featuring interviews with farmers from our new film Under Contract: Farmers and the Fine Print and the film’s co-director, Sally Lee, who also directs our program on Contract Agriculture Reform.
>> Read more below and please share the article widely!
Fowl play: the chicken farmers being bullied by big poultry
More than 97% of US chicken farmers work with a big producer, but many say they’re being treated unfairly – and rules to help protect them are now in limbo.
by Alison Moodie
Back in 2001, Alton Terry, his wife and two young children were living in San Jose, California, but they dreamed of a quieter, more rural life. Terry’s grandparents had been farmers, and that inspired him to move his family to Shelbyville, Tennessee, to start a chicken farm.
Like the majority of chicken farmers in the US, Terry entered into an exclusive contract with a big producer, Tyson Foods.
“The first couple of years we didn’t have any problems,” said Terry, “but then Tyson started asking us to put in extra equipment that we had to pay for.”
Terry had taken out a $500,000 loan to build the chicken houses on his farm, and he wasn’t willing to fork out more money for equipment that he said wasn’t necessary, including extra feed bins and upgrades to the chicken houses.
“If we are independent contractors, then why does the company have the right to tell us what equipment to use?” said Terry. “We were independent in name only when it benefited the company.”
Terry claims Tyson retaliated by giving him sick chicks. Read this article on The Guardian’s website here: www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/apr/22/chicken-farmers-big-poultry-rules