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'I can't get above water': how America's chicken giant Perdue controls farmers

Corporate control is a curse for farmers like Rudy Howell who are burdened with debt and have no alternative buyersBack in the 1990s, Rudy Howell, then in his mid-50s, took over his father-in-law's poultry contract business in North Carolina. He and his wife hoped it would provide a decent income they could combine with their small pensions to fund a comfortable retirement.Instead, Howell, now 70, finds himself working long hours, deep in debt and earning less than $40,000 (?30,654) in 2019 - well below the average US wage. He spoke to the Guardian about his situation. "It doesn't matter what I do, I can't get above water. I do the same thing every time and the payout per flock can vary by as much as $8,000. Our output depends on their input."Like nearly 90% of US poultry producers Howell is not an independent farmer who can buy and sell his chickens to whoever he wants. He is contracted exclusively to Perdue Farms, one of the largest poultry companies in the US. The company, which produces a number of other agricultural products and services, generates more than $6bn a year in revenue. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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