The current state of our economy, unemployment, and an increase of homelessness and hunger says at the very least that our binge of wastefulness is over. The old adage of “Waste Not Want Not” is more than appropriate during these troubled times and words such as recycle, reuse, or make do are now popular. Americans are tightening the belt and rethinking priorities.
According to news stories Tyson and Perdue are looking for new chicken houses to supply their processing plants in Accomack County, Virginia. Perdue says that they could use as many as 300 new houses and Tyson claims they need 125 new chicken houses.
Ironically, there are at least that many empty chicken houses in the area that could fill the needs of both companies but that is not satisfactory to either one. No sir-ee they want NEW! Perdue and Tyson must have missed the memo about many people not even being able to afford groceries.
Never mind new chicken houses, which, by the way, run about $300,000 each. Just think folks if they get all they want – $135,000,000 will be spent just in chicken houses. Add land value of $10,000 per acre, farm equipment needed to support the poultry houses and we are talking a lot of bucks!
I haven’t even mentioned the added cost to taxpayers to safely remove or utilize all of the chicken manure. Nor did I mention that these additions will supply processing facilities which are located on the Delmarva Peninsula which has already been tagged as a primary source of agricultural runoff contributing to the degradation of one of our National Treasures, the Chesapeake Bay. — More on this subject later!
Back to the many empty chicken houses within the region. Once upon a time these farms were recruited by chicken companies such as Perdue and Tyson to build chicken housing to fill the needs of their processing facilities. The farmers collectively borrowed millions of dollars using their homesteads as collateral to build facilities according to company specifications. Many loans were backed by the U.S. government.
The loans were given with no more than a company contract that guaranteed 1 flock of chickens which is 7 weeks. Granted things such as a “new house guarantee” was added into the mix however this only duped lenders and borrowers into thinking that it meant chickens would be on the farms for a very long time generating income. What they didn’t know was that a “new house guarantee” was only something that meant the farmer would have security in a minimum payment for raising a flock of chickens not a guarantee of getting chickens.
When the corporate chicken world decided that these chicken houses no longer met their wants for NEW housing with the latest bells and whistles the contracts were terminated. Forget what the borrower, lender, or the U.S Government perceived the initial agreement to be. Contracts are terminated “at will”.
I’m sure that most of us are aware of how hard it is to get a loan during the Great Recession that we are presently in. We are also painfully aware of the banking bailouts that have happened courtesy of our tax dollars and the simple truth that our government is broke. What puzzles me is how in the world could any lender or our government give million dollar loans for new chicken housing on such a flimsy guarantee of one flock of chickens?
Perdue and Tyson need to “rethink” their wants and learn to make do with what they have already created. The best advice for them is to recycle and reuse the chicken farms that they’ve left out there empty and unable to repay existing loans given to an industry that duped lenders and the government into shelling out millions.