Recession Watch

Misery for Chicken Farmers

These days, it's a common story—Darris and Sarah Dixon are struggling to pay their hefty mortgage and avoid bankruptcy. But the $500,000 they owe is for their chicken houses, the Wall Street Journal writes, part of a nationwide struggle among chicken farmers to keep their heads above water. Pilgrim's, America's second largest chicken company, logged a $1 billion loss last year and terminated contracts with 300 farms in Arkansas, Florida and North Carolina. Farmers receive a set price per pound under the contracts and, now that the jig is up, cannot raise enough chicks to pay off their six-figure mortgages. A single chicken house can cost more than $200,000 to build and farmers often own several.