New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof  recently said, while writing about Christopher Leonard’s new book The Meat Racket,  that “its easy to criticize the current model of industry agriculture, far harder to outline a viable alternative.  Going back to the rural structure represented by the inefficient family farm on which I grew up in Oregon isn’t a solution; then we’d be back to $6.48-a-pound chicken.”

National Chicken Council President Mike Brown agreed saying in in a letter, available here, to the editor of  The New York Time  that “Nicholas Kristof is right — no one wants to return to a time when chicken cost $6.48 a pound. Especially the chickens. That’s because if we reverted back to raising them the way we did in 1930, while trying to feed 195 million more people, 1.6 billion chickens would die on the farm from things like disease and predators.”

“Farmers don’t want to return to then either. Poultry contracts are an important part of the rural farm economy, contributing year-round, stable income isolated from the vagaries of weather and commodity markets. In reality, today’s chicken farmers are more economically viable than ever before, Brown wrote.

“This partnership between farmers and companies has increased efficiency, improved the welfare of the birds and reduced our environmental footprint, all while saving consumers more than $1 trillion on chicken purchases made over the past 30 years. A system that supports 25,000 rural farm families who raise chickens and produces the safest, most affordable and wholesome chicken on the planet isn’t a racket — it’s a miracle,” Brown said.