AGRICULTURE: Quack Farmer Trouble

Nowhere in the world were there meatier, tastier ducks than those which the Emperor Tung Chi raised in the Imperial aviaries at Peking, China. In 1873 a Connecticut Yankee named James E. Palmer contrived to bring three of the Emperor's ducks and one indispensable drake to the U.S. This quacking quartet hatched an industry.

On Long Island, which now raises five to six million Pekin ducks a year—about half the total U.S. supply—duck farmers last week were half-wishing the Emperor had kept his ducks. Their feed costs were the highest ever, but the price of ducks had dropped 13% in...

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