Sen. Cory Booker introduced legislation yesterday that would require more transparency and oversight of how poultry loans are allocated by the Small Business Administration. The proposal comes just a week after a report from the Office of the Inspector General questioned nearly $2 billion in loans from the SBA to poultry farmers. (No paywall)
In a report released on March 6, the Office of the Inspector General found that some poultry farmers who had received SBA loans were actually ineligible, because poultry companies “exercised such comprehensive control over the growers” that farmers were not, in fact, operating as independent small business owners. (No paywall)
After two years of community protests, a proposal to build 13 chicken houses on a farm in Wicomico County, Maryland, was defeated last week. Neighbors worried about potential air and groundwater pollution from the influx of chickens.
Top U.S. poultry processors are planning to expand production this year, reports Bloomberg. As prices for feed grains have plummeted, worrying farmers, processors are taking advantage of the lower costs.
The biggest poultry processors in the United States face widespread allegations that they colluded to raise prices over the course of 10 years in the $30-billion broiler chicken market. In just three weeks, two grocery retailers and the country’s two biggest food distribution companies filed lawsuits against Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride, Koch Farms, Sanderson Farms, and others. (No paywall)
Last fall, a small community in northeast Kansas made headlines when thousands of residents protested the announcement that a Tyson poultry processing plant would soon be built nearby. Once the residents of Tonganoxie won their “No Tyson in Tongie” campaign, other communities followed suit. Now, state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make it easier for communities to vote on whether to introduce new poultry processing facilities or large-scale farms in their communities, reports High Plains Public Radio.
The USDA forecasts Americans will eat a record amount of red meat and poultry this year — an average of 222.8 pounds per person. At the same time, “the mix of meats ... has shifted dramatically, with the share of beef declining” by one-third since peaking in the 1970s.
Two grocers last week filed a price-fixing lawsuit against the country’s top poultry processors. The suit alleges that the processors, including Tyson Foods, Koch Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Perdue Farms, have conspired to fix the price of broiler chickens over the course of several decades.
McDonald’s will now require chicken suppliers, including Tyson and Cargill, to treat animals more humanely at slaughter. “Birds sold to the chain ... no longer will be shocked, shackled by the feet to conveyors and have their throats slit ...,” says The Los Angeles Times. “Such methods can leave chickens fully conscious when they are slaughtered.”