NPR Interview with RAFI Staffer Exposes Abusive Chicken Industry


Benny Bunting stands in front of his old chicken house in Oak City, NC. Photo by Dan Charles, NPR.

Benny Bunting stands in front of his old chicken house in Oak City, NC. Photo by Dan Charles, National Public Radio

NPR’s Morning Edition Highlights RAFI’s lead farm advocate
Benny Bunting’s lifetime dedication to poultry farmers exposes abusive chicken industry

OAK CITY, NC (Feb. 20, 2014)In today’s Morning Edition on National Public Radio, Benny Bunting, Lead Farm Advocate of the Rural Advancement Foundation International, is featured in agricultural journalist Dan Charles’s piece: “The System That Supplies Our Chickens Pits Farmer Against Farmer.”

In NPR’s story, Bunting says, “The thing about my job is, most times, I meet people at the lowest time in their life, when they’re in financial problems. That’s what this represents.”

Bunting was an Eastern North Carolina contract poultry grower until a few years ago. He has been working full-time with RAFI since the early 1990s, but started organizing with farmers in the 1980s and has volunteered with RAFI for decades. In 2008, Bunting won the Nancy Smith Reynolds Award for personal service.

Between 2010 and 2013, in an effort led by Bunting, RAFI assisted more than 250 family farmers, preserving approximately $50 million in farm assets. Despite protections laid out in federal policy, contract agriculture remains an economically abusive structure that keeps many farmers in poverty.

Since 1990, RAFI has convened the Campaign for Contract Agriculture Reform to provide a voice for farmers in contract agriculture and to ensure that the producer relationship is fair, balanced and transparent. RAFI’s approach enables growers to directly and personally advocate for change.

For more details about RAFI’s work with contract poultry, click here for yesterday’s media release.