Poultry farmers fear their livelihood is at stake

US - Deep in rural Scott County, where rusted farm equipment and muddied pickup trucks sit among bales of hay, aging farmers fear their livelihood is at stake.
calendar icon 2 January 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

The chicken growers here have had nothing recently but biting words for a poultry company they say is snuffing out their income with new requirements. And lawmakers say their problem is compounded by state policy gone awry.

Lawmakers, gearing up for the beginning of the legislative session Tuesday, may consider legislation to help the farmers as well as create an arbitration or oversight board.

Poultry, the largest agricultural commodity in the state, is a $2 billion industry that employs thousands of growers.

The growers tend to thousands of fuzzy, peeping chicks as they transform into meaty birds, and end up across the country as frozen fillets in grocery stores or on fried chicken salads at restaurants. The poultry companies supply the growers with chicks, which the growers are under contract to raise. Some growers in Smith County say Illinois-based Koch Foods has been demanding they make costly upgrades to their chicken houses in order to keep raising the company's poultry.

Source: Clarion-Ledger

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