Chicken factory farmer speaks out

Slightly tangential, but there are substantiated rumors of multi-year pricing fixing between the biggest chicken processors. The most questionable thing to me is the Georgia Dock price index. There have been a handful of articles in WSJ, etc., noting the oddity that this index is today 50% more expensive than the other 2 indexes (until ~4 years ago these indexes have trended in-line with each other).

Three weeks ago, the Georgia Dept of Agriculture starting requiring Georgia Dock price submitters to formally acknowledge that they would only submit prices that were based on real, actual transactions (and to also agree to present evidence of these transactions if GA Dept of Ag asks for it). Since that rule was put in place, the Georgia Dock price has not been able to be published due to lack of participation from submitters. This index has been published every single week over a span of several decades, until 3 weeks ago.

The FDA has actually implemented some rules where farmers have to have a veterinarian on call or on staff and consult with them before antibiotics are administered. They realized that the improper use of antibiotics overuse has become a very serious concern. The FDA has been cracking down of food and supplement companies in general so we will probably see some changes in advertising in the next few years.

Legalizing backyard chickens has also become somewhat of a grass roots movement. I hope to see more people raising their own chickens in the future. The smell is really not that bad. My Mom raises chickens and it is very manageable.

I’ve been working on the family farm for the past 8 years. We currently opperate 3 poultry houses raising broilers 17,500 chicks placed in each 42×400′ house. Some flocks are different than others but our mortality averages somewhere around 12 birds a day with a 58 to 62 day grow out.

As of Jan. 2017 animals are no longer alowed to have antobotics added to their feed source. Harmones and steroids have never been widly used in the poultry industry due to costs and inifectiveness. Cattle on the other hand are almost always implanted with growth harmone such as Ralgrow. We now have to wait for signs of sickness and inject antibotics into the water source.

Removing antibotics from feed by law is one tiny step in the right direction in making poultry safer to the public. This will more than likely get rolled back under the incoming presidential cabinet due to the affects on the companies bottom line.

There are companies who do raise what I would consider a more humane product. I do not work for one of these companies.

Regulating stocking density would be another way to make a more humane product along with requiring some amount of natural sunlight and ventalation. Joyce farms based out of NC has a very good model and having visited a number of their farms I belive this is the way confined poultry should be raised.

But based on the cost of their chicken most people wouldnt be able to afford to eat it regulary. Which is a good thing imo.

In America we have grown a culture of I want it, I want it now and I dont want to have to pay much for it. This is what has led the USDA to define its role to the American people to produce as much food as cheaply as possible. All the while ignoring the health of our nation as a whole and making a few select people extremly, extremly wealthy.

In other words our food system is insanely screwed up.

Sorry for the extremly long post and any gramitical errors in advance. I’m posting from the app on phone while taking a break from picking up dead chickens.

Any questions fell free to ask I will try and respond from the computer later tonight.

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