Yesterday I posted some thoughts on the book, The Meat Racket. The book takes aim at poultry contracting, and in particular the use of tournament contracts to reward growers for performance. People who abhor the tournament system liken it to a lottery, where only chance determines who gets bonuses and who gets penalties.
A former student read yesterday's post and passed along an interesting and highly relevant anecdote. The student was a former high school ag teacher. One of the jobs that comes with being an ag teacher is helping students prepare for and participate in various FFA competitions. One of these competitions is a broiler competition.
The interesting thing about the high school FFA broiler competition is that it works very much like the Tyson contract tournament system. All students are required to buy their chickens from the same place and grow the same number of days before competition. Then there is a competition where there are only a handful of winners. Surely winning must be due only to luck - right?
Here's what the former FFA teacher had to say (with the school identity removed and replaced with "XXX"):
Clearly, there are some difficult to measure managerial talents that help drive success in raising chickens. How do we know this? There is an FFA competition at the end of the year that reveals that there is a non-random component to growing successful chickens. FFA kids know this. So does Tyson.