Top Chicken Company Cut Off Black Farmers, One by One

Minority farmers need our dollars
February 20, 2021
Duck Farming
March 23, 2021
John Ingrum lost his farm after chicken processor Koch Foods stopped delivering flocks for him to grow. “They put me slap out of business,” he said. (Annie Flanagan, special to ProPublica)

The farm, named Lovin’ Acres, came with a few chicken houses, which didn’t really interest Ingrum. But then a man showed up from Koch Foods, the country’s fifth-largest poultry processor and one of the main chicken companies in Mississippi. Koch Foods would deliver flocks and feed — all Ingrum would have to do is house the chicks for a few weeks while they grew big enough to slaughter. The company representative wowed Ingrum with projections for the stream of income he could earn, Ingrum recalled in an interview.

What Ingrum didn’t know was that those financial projections overlooked many realities of modern farming in the U.S., where much of the country’s agricultural output is controlled by a handful of giant companies. The numbers didn’t reflect the debt he might have to incur to configure his chicken houses to the company’s specifications. Nor did they reflect the risk that the chicks could show up sick or dead, or that the company could simply stop delivering flocks.

The shadow of slavery, sharecropping and Jim Crow has left black farmers in an especially precarious position. Their farms tend to be smaller and their sales lower than the national average, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While white farmers benefited from government assistance such as the Homestead Act and land-grant universities, black farmers were largely excluded from owning land and accumulating wealth. In recent decades, black farmers accused the USDA of discriminating against them by denying them loans or forcing them to wait longer, resulting in a class-action lawsuit that settled for more than $1 billion…

Corporate giants control our livelihood…

Along with these historical disadvantages, black farmers say they have also encountered bias in dealing with some of the corporate giants that control their livelihood. In complaints filed with the USDA between 2010 and 2015, Ingrum and another black farmer in Mississippi said Koch Foods discriminated against them and used its market control to drive them out of business..

  • Five largest chicken companies are white owned with 61% market share.
  • White farmers benefited from government assistance.
  • Black farmers were largely excluded from owning land and accumulating wealth.
  • Black farmers say they have also encountered bias in dealing with some of the corporate giants.

People of color. It’s time we step up!

Corporate giants control their market and with their wealth and power bar minority framers from success. However, the control is actually in your hands; the buyer’s hands. Where and how you spend your dollars is the true power.

Join “Brown Hedge” today!

Join our “Brown Hedge” minority association and support minority farmers and businesses with your donations and direct product purchases. Ultimately, the success of our minority businesses is in who you spend your dollar with. BeyondGanics’ “Brown Hedge” project is your door way to empowering and enriching our lives.

1 Comment

  1. ganics17 says:

    This Brown Hedge is a great concept. We must join and get involved.

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