The US broiler industry’s trail of tears
Economic tumult and ownership changes characterized the US broiler industry from 2008 through 2012. The Renewable Fuel Standard played a big role.
For U.S. policymakers who blithely assured us that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) had little or no impact on the price of the poultry industry's feed ingredient, corn, U.S. broiler firms either in bankruptcy or acquired since 2008 are listed below.
While not every bankruptcy or acquisition was solely the result of corn prices -- there was a recession and drought during the period -- corn prices were higher as a result of the RFS and, most importantly, much more volatile.
The firms are listed in order of their 2008 ranking in WATT PoultryUSA's Top Poultry Companies survey, along with ranking or status today.
Ranked No. 1 in 2008, Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 and was acquired by JBS S.A. Pilgrim's is ranked No. 2 in the 2014 survey.
O.K. Foods, ranked No. 10 in 2008, was acquired by Mexico's Industrias Bachoco in October 2011. The firm is now ranked No. 15.
No. 15 ranked Allen Family Foods filed bankruptcy and was acquired by Harim Holdings of South Korea in September of 2011. Allen Harim Foods is now ranked No. 23.
Ranked No. 16 in 2008, Townsends Inc. entered bankruptcy in 2011. Its Arkansas complex was acquired by Peco Foods and North Carolina operations by Omtron Ltd.
No. 19 ranked Cagle's Inc. entered bankruptcy in 2011. Its assets were acquired by Koch Foods.
No. 25 ranked Peterson Farms was acquired by Simmons Foods in 2008.
No. 28 ranked Coleman Natural Foods was acquired by Perdue Farms in 2011.
No. 30 ranked Draper Valley Holdings was acquired by Booth Creek Management Group in 2007.
No. 33 ranked Lady Forest Farms declared bankruptcy in 2011 and is no longer in business.
No. 36 ranked in 2008, Park Farms was acquired by Case Farms in 2012.