Unfair Treatment of Contract Chicken Farmers Ruffles John Oliver's Feathers

John Oliver recently explained how chicken farmers are treated unfairly by large corporations on his program Last Week Tonight. His segment is funny and heartbreakingly true (but let us warn you about the colorful language).

Oliver reports what we already knew: Americans love the taste of chicken. The current demand requires 169 million chicks a week, which Oliver calls, "Warren Beatty numbers." Four big poultry companies use a system of contract farmers to meet this demand.

In spite of this HUGE demand, Oliver reports, a shockingly large number of these contract chicken farmers live at or below the poverty line.  When a spokesman for the National Chicken Council was asked about the impoverished contract farmers, the spokesman asked, "What poverty line are you referring to?" Oliver had this to say about the spokesman's cold response: "The poverty line is like the age of consent, if you find yourself parsing exactly where it is you’ve probably already done something very, very wrong.”

The conditions that Oliver so vividly describes could happen in Nebraska's pork industry if LB 176 is passed! The bill would remove the restriction on meat packing corporations owning hogs in Nebraska. This will simply grease the skids for corporate hog production and hurt smaller, family farm producers by placing them in a role of residual suppliers, taking lower prices or lesser contracts at virtually every turn.‪

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