Council is a part of tyson outreach nwadg pictures electricity pylons

To better understand the growers’ perspective, Tyson is developing a chicken advisory council — made for chicken growers, by chicken growers — and investing in updated technology for enhanced communications. One is a mobile application for farmers. Another is a website that laid out a poultry grower "Bill of Rights," which clarifies parts of the chicken contract system, according to Tyson.

"We value the farmers who raise our chickens and work hard to maintain good relationships with them, but also know we can do better," Doug Ramsey, group president of Poultry for Tyson Food, said in a statement. "That’s why we’re taking steps to enhance how we interact with them."

One of those steps is a new poultry advisory council designed to be a platform for contract growers to share feedback on the poultry industry. Tyson can use the comments to "gather insights that might help us improve how we operate," Ramsey said in the statement.

The group plans to meet periodically at Tyson’s home offices in Springdale to discuss grower issues with executive leadership. Issues like expenses, such as electricity and gas, labor costs and chick and feed delivery delays, have already come up over dinner, said Brent Butler, one of the current advisory council members.

Butler, 55, of Siloam Springs, has grown chickens for Tyson Foods the past decade. His family, including his sons and some outside help, work the farm. Over the phone Thursday, Butler said there’s been some councils beforehand for poultry growers, but none quite like this.

One tool in development is a mobile application for independent poultry growers. When finished, the application will have helpful tips, industry news and email updates from Tyson for poultry growers. This information can be currently found on growwithtyson.com. A release date for the application has not been set.

There’s also a website with information distilled from Tyson contracts that details entitlements for independent poultry growers. A spokesman with Tyson said in an email that the company wanted to translate the independent poultry grower contract into "easy-to-understand" language for those interested in how the system works. Tyson calls it the "Contract Poultry Farmers’ Bill of Rights."

The document explains a grower’s right to discuss his contract with outside parties; the right to a fixed-length contract — usually three to seven years, sometimes 10-15 years — that can "only be terminated for cause"; the right for the poultry farmer to terminate a Tyson Foods contract for "any reason or no reason at all" by giving a 90-day written notice; and the right to join an association of contract poultry farmers.

Mitchell Crutchfield, 66, grew Tyson Foods chickens for 25 years in Clarksville. Tyson stopped delivering day-old chicks to Crutchfield in 2012, in effect, canceling the contract. He and his wife, Karen, filed for bankruptcy protection soon after to save their farm.

To better understand the growers’ perspective, Tyson is developing a chicken advisory council — made for chicken growers, by chicken growers — and investing in updated technology for enhanced communications. One is a mobile application for farmers. Another is a website that laid out a poultry grower "Bill of Rights," which clarifies parts of the chicken contract system, according to Tyson.

"We value the farmers who raise our chickens and work hard to maintain good relationships with them, but also know we can do better," Doug Ramsey, group president of Poultry for Tyson Food, said in a statement. "That’s why we’re taking steps to enhance how we interact with them."

One of those steps is a new poultry advisory council designed to be a platform for contract growers to share feedback on the poultry industry. Tyson can use the comments to "gather insights that might help us improve how we operate," Ramsey said in the statement.

The group plans to meet periodically at Tyson’s home offices in Springdale to discuss grower issues with executive leadership. Issues like expenses, such as electricity and gas, labor costs and chick and feed delivery delays, have already come up over dinner, said Brent Butler, one of the current advisory council members.

Butler, 55, of Siloam Springs, has grown chickens for Tyson Foods the past decade. His family, including his sons and some outside help, work the farm. Over the phone Thursday, Butler said there’s been some councils beforehand for poultry growers, but none quite like this.

One tool in development is a mobile application for independent poultry growers. When finished, the application will have helpful tips, industry news and email updates from Tyson for poultry growers. This information can be currently found on growwithtyson.com. A release date for the application has not been set.

There’s also a website with information distilled from Tyson contracts that details entitlements for independent poultry growers. A spokesman with Tyson said in an email that the company wanted to translate the independent poultry grower contract into "easy-to-understand" language for those interested in how the system works. Tyson calls it the "Contract Poultry Farmers’ Bill of Rights."

The document explains a grower’s right to discuss his contract with outside parties; the right to a fixed-length contract — usually three to seven years, sometimes 10-15 years — that can "only be terminated for cause"; the right for the poultry farmer to terminate a Tyson Foods contract for "any reason or no reason at all" by giving a 90-day written notice; and the right to join an association of contract poultry farmers.

Mitchell Crutchfield, 66, grew Tyson Foods chickens for 25 years in Clarksville. Tyson stopped delivering day-old chicks to Crutchfield in 2012, in effect, canceling the contract. He and his wife, Karen, filed for bankruptcy protection soon after to save their farm.