USDA Proposes Fairer Compensation for Chicken Farm Contractors

The agency seeks to change the “tournament system” style of wages imposed by processing companies.

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a new rule for poultry farmer contracts, seeking to curb the “tournament system” compensation method employed by the four largest meat companies in America. The rule is now open to public comment.

The four meat packaging companies, Tyson Foods, Cargill, JBS, and National Beef Packing, control between 55 and 85 percent of the United States’ meat market. The companies hire smaller farmers to raise the animals that become their products. Under a “tournament system,” the companies compare the flocks offered by the farmers, then dock the base compensation for farmers whose animals are deemed to be of lesser quality. 

The USDA’s rule would require processors to discontinue this payment reduction method and inform farmers why their poultry was deemed of lesser quality compared to their competitors.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “Producers came to me and indicated deep concerns about the ways they were being handled and dealt with in this tournament system.”

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For Secretary Vilsack to be discerning as he promotes fair compensation for chicken farming contractors.
  • For USDA officials as they implement and enforce federal agricultural regulations and rules.

Sources: Reuters, Agri-Pulse


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