Tyson, Perdue settle case alleging plot against farmers

Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms have reached settlements in a case where they were accused of conspiring to drive down the payments given to contract growers.

Roy Graber Headshot
(perhapzz | Bigstock)
(perhapzz | Bigstock)

Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms have reached settlements in litigation that accuses the two companies – among others – of conspiring to drive down the payments given to contract growers.

According to a report from Bloomberg Law, Judge Robert J. Shelby approved settlements in a federal court in Oklahoma, in which Tyson Foods will pay $21 million and Perdue will pay $14.75 million to resolve those claims against them.

Part of the agreement is that neither company can enforce arbitration clauses or class action waivers for five years. The companies will also be required to cooperate with federal officials as they investigate similar claims against other companies named in the case, which include Pilgrim’s Pride, Sanderson Farms and Koch Foods.

The initial lawsuit was filed in 2020, in which plaintiffs say the alleged scheme put small growers in a position where they either had to take non-competitive prices for their products or face financial ruin because of the high costs in setting up operations that meet the specifications required by the integrators.

It was reported in the summer of 2021 that both companies were nearing settlements in the case.

Neither company has admitted guilt in the case.

The news of this settlement comes at a time when another federal case involving leaders from some of the top poultry companies in the United States has moved to a second trial. In this case, 10 defendants are on trial for another alleged conspiracy. Prosecutors in that case allege the men on trial conspired to rig bids and drive up the price of chicken.

According to the WATTPoultry.com Top Companies Database, Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms are the largest and fifth largest broiler producers in the United States, respectively. Both companies are also among the nation’s top turkey producers, with Tyson ranked fifth and Perdue ranked eighth. Both companies are also involved in pork production.

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