Hog Farmers Devastated by Co-Op

by 5m Editor
30 October 2008, at 7:15am

US - Two hundred farmers signed up to be a part of the Meadowbrook Farms Co-op back in 2002. The idea - to raise hogs to supply to the meatpacking company, and in turn, make more money by owning a piece of the pie.

"I've lost 350 thousand dollars fromt his thing. Three hundred and fifty thousand dollars," said hog farmer John Rokey.

Five years later, some are desperate to leave, reports the Illinois Homepage. They say Meadowbrook is underpaying them for their hogs to the tune of about $20 a head. They say that translates into an $80 million loss over 5 years.

"Financial devestation, to say the least. We've got guys going bankrupt because of this thing. It's not going to change until we get some people to help us," said hog farmer Don Volker.

Volker went to the company's shareholder meeting to voice his concerns. But admits he's afraid to leave the co-op since others have been sued. He stands to lose everything.

"The bank has told me they won't continue my hog operations, so I'm done. I just want a release from this company just to get out, and not to have to bring hots, not to have to be forced to lose money," said Volker.

Shareholders say they've been told by Meadowbrook that it can't afford to pay market value for their hogs because the co-op is only 66 percent full. Volker is devestated that his 30 years on the farm could come down to this.

"Now I'm just to the point where hopefully I can just rent out the buildings and get on with my life. You know it's changed totally and it will never be the same. You wake up every morning and it's all you think about. How do I get out of this mess?"

5m Editor