15 Aug '11, 11am

Grass is good: Natural meats benefit the economy and family farms

Grass is good: Natural meats benefit the economy and family farms

One of them is the cost of feed, [which] is directly related to the cost of oil. In 2008 a lot of farmers went out of business because of the price of oil. That actually led to the bankruptcy of the nation's largest chicken producer, Pilgrim's Pride, and to a 20 percent contraction in the nation's largest pork producer, Smithfield. It became so expensive to import [meat] from the U.S. that Russia and China stopped importing chicken and pork. Exports are about 20 percent of the U.S. meat industry, so there was a glut on the meat market because all this meat wasn't being shipped off, and that pushed the price even further down. It was a doomsday scenario for a little while. [Also], commodity farmers get into these contracts with large vertical integrators, and when the vertical integrators pull out of the contract, then they're stuck with a lot of debt. They borrow all this ...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/sustainable-farming/2011-08-15-grass...

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