Letter: Contract terms are concerning
The Costco/Lincoln Premium Poultry grower contracts are available now for perusal. Concerning items include:
1. “Additional capital investments” may include waste storage facilities, chicken composting facilities, litter sampling, disinfectants, litter turning equipment, as well as additional improvements and upgrades LPP may compel growers to purchase in the future over and above initial investment.
2. The “termination” clause allows the company to terminate at any time, claiming simply that the growers have committed one of the contract-outlined violations, or for “economic hardship,” i.e. the company is not making money, thus providing no security for grower mortgages.
3. There are no contract guarantees. The company reserves the right to increase or decrease the number of flocks, the number of chicks, and the quality of the feed.
4. The “Grower Improvement Program.” Grower performance must improve by a set amount based on the company’s input.
5. Growers are restricted by the contract to a trial by judge only, not a jury, should legal action arise.
6. The “Alternative Dispute Resolution” clause appears to be an attempt to impose illegal binding arbitration.
7. “Indemnity by Producer.” The grower is responsible for pollution violations filed by any outside agency.
8. There is no provision for fuel or labor costs. The barns must be seasonally heated and cooled. New chicks require 90 degree temperatures for starting.