Broiler production is concentrated in a few southem states where farmers are highly dependent on contract arrangements for income and livelihood. Poultry is the first animal industry to industrialize and its model of contract farming has been emulated by other animal industries. Environmental standards are becoming increasingly stringent and many farmers are faced with crossroad decisions about investments in dead bird and manure disposal facilities. Asymmetrical power relationships shift waste management responsibilities to growers in a number of ways. This paper details maneuvers poultry integrators use to avoid environmental risk and transfer it to their contract growers. Corporations "pass the cluck" when they shift responsibility for achieving regulatory compliance to the farmer who then must seek technical and financial assistance from public agencies. Poultry integrators "dodge pullets" when they retain ownership of live animals, but dead birds become the farmer's property and disposal problem. Based on fieldwork conducted in Alabama and North Carolina, we develop a perspective for anticipating and understanding the environmental compliance dilemmas facing growers.
Molnar, Joseph, Thomas Hoban, and Gail Brant. 2002. "Passing the Cluck, Dodging Pullets: Corporate Power, Environmental Responsibility, and the Contract Poultry Grower." Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 18(2): Article 4. Available at: https://egrove.olemiss.edu/jrss/vol18/iss2/4