We salute North Carolina farmer Genell Pridgen for speaking out on behalf of her fellow farmers and seeking to hold our elected officials accountable. Below is an op-ed she published as an open letter addressed to President Trump. It was featured on the homepage of Civil Eats today.
Dear Mr. President,
I am a ninth-generation family farmer in Snow Hill, North Carolina. For 18 years, my family and I worked under a contract to raise chickens on land that has been in my family for nearly three centuries. In 2003, Perdue Farms cancelled our contract and the contracts of many other farmers in the region, moving to another area to cut costs on slaughterhouse operations. In doing so, they inflicted huge financial losses and buried us in debt. I’ve managed to barely hang on to the family farm for now, but many others have not been so lucky.
Mr. President, poultry farmers desperately need your help.
Just last month, big chicken companies succeeded in lobbying the USDA to delay implementing one of its “Farmer Fair Practice Rules” by 180 days, which would have ended some of the most deceptive practices in our industry. These corporations continue to push aggressively against fairer contracts for smaller-scale poultry farmers, preferring the current system of exploitation for profit.