Today, animal-rights group Mercy For Animals (MFA) announced the launch of the Transfarmation Project, an initiative that will help struggling chicken farmers exit the animal-agriculture industry. MFA developed the project to help chicken farmers, who often become indebted to large corporations under restrictive contracts. “The plant-based food industry is expected to be worth $85 billion by 2030, and as a growing number of consumers opt for plant-based foods to improve their health, there is a real opportunity for farmers to meet that demand,” MFA President Leah Garcés said. “We aim to help farmers transition to growing hemp, mushrooms, hydroponic lettuce, and other crops—and even to producing solar and wind energy. We will bring together investors, engineers, farmers, business folks, policymakers, and advocates to design replicable models that will boost rural economies and build a more compassionate farming system.” Mike Weaver, a former contract chicken farmer for Pilgrim’s Pride, recently converted his chicken barns into a plant-based production facility, growing hemp for the burgeoning CBD industry. During his best year, Weaver was able to make $7,000 from chicken farming. When his hemp production is up to scale, Weaver expects to make approximately $2 million and employ four times as many people. “Farmers in America are in bad shape,” Weaver said. “All of America needs to be concerned about what’s going on with family farms and in rural America. Big Ag has taken control of production, and they are driving the small family farmers out. Farmers are ready for a change, and initiatives like the Transfarmation Project can help.” While MFA works to help chicken farmers, vegan brand Miyoko’s Creamery is looking to transform the dairy industry. Last week, the brand—known for its vegan cheeses and butter—announced its intent to convert a California dairy farm into a research and development facility for its non-dairy products.

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