Critics, such as the film Super Size Me II, have portrayed chicken producers as victims of processors who pressure them into debt that leaves them struggling as serfs.
The council said its new survey incorporates United States Department of Agriculture data and a survey of companies responsible for 83 per cent of U.S. chicken.
It said the report found that:
The $68,455 median income for chicken farmers was significantly higher than all farm households and all U.S. households. Sixty percent of chicken farmers earned household incomes that exceeded the U.S. median.
The top 20 per cent of contract chicken farmers earn on average $142,000, exceeding the top 20 per cent of all farm households ($118,000) and all U.S. households ($101,000).
On broiler farm loan performance data show significantly lower charge off and deficiency percentages for chicken farmers compared to all agricultural loans.
The health and well-being of chickens has greatly benefited from the contract farming structure. In 2021, the average on-farm livability of a flock of U.S. broiler chickens was almost 95 per cent. In 1925, it was 82 per cent.
Companies reported significant waiting lists for those who would like to enter live chicken production or expand existing operations. There were 1,672 applications from potential producers and 335 expansion requests from existing farmers.
“The chicken industry should be looked at as a model, and not a target of unwanted and unnecessary regulations that are being discussed in the (U.S. President Joe) Biden administration,” NCC president Mike Brown said.
The Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board has often shown its members video interviews with disgruntled U.S. contract growers, showing that supply management here yields better conditions and profits for chicken farmers.
Frankly, I don't put much faith in a survey conducted by the price-fixing chicken oligarchs.