On That Date, No. 5

Jesse Jewell - Courtesy of  Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia “In Georgia there is a man who hatches, feeds, raises, kills, plucks, freezes, and sells 10 million chickens a year. He also owns the hens that lay the eggs that hatch into the broiler chicks; and he makes the pies that contain the chicken meat that isn’t sold as frozen broiler. His name is Jesse Jewell, and his operation is just about the perfect example of what may be the agriculture of the future.

“The revolutionary economic organization that propelled Jewell from a small-town feed dealer to the largest integrated producer of broilers in the country is called vertical integration. Some hail it as a long needed reorganization of farm economics that will bring greater efficiency to agriculture; others see it as the slimy tentacles of a tyranny that is changing the American farmer into an employee -- a piece rate worker.

“Nearly everyone who has studied the dynamic growth of integration agrees that as this system, which now dominates the broiler industry, is applied to hogs and cattle and other farm enterprises it is bringing about the greatest change in American agriculture in a generation.”


Grant Cannon, “Vertical Integration,” Farm Quarterly 12, no. 4 (Winter 1958): 56.