Chicken Companies Agree to Pay $85 Million to Settle Antitrust Allegations

Cargill Inc. and the newly formed Wayne-Sanderson Farms have agreed to pay $85 million to settle claims they violated antitrust laws by sharing information about poultry workers’ wages.

The civil settlement between the companies and the government follows a lengthy review of the $4.5 billion sale of Sanderson Farms Inc.—the third-largest U.S. poultry company—to Cargill and agriculture investment firm Continental Grain Co. The settlement, which also addresses how chicken farmers are paid, came three days after the deal closed. The deal, which was first announced in August 2021, merged Sanderson’s chicken operations with those of Wayne Farms LLC, a smaller chicken company owned by Continental, to form a new privately held company based in Georgia.

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