Prestage Farms founder Bill Prestage began his agriculture career in 1960 with Central Soya as a salesman of animal feed products. A relationship with one of his customers, Mr. Ottis Carroll, developed into a business opportunity, and in 1967 the two became business partners in what would become known as Carroll’s Foods, located in Warsaw, NC.
Turkeys Moved Inside – Contract Farming Tapped
The turkey production business they began together pioneered new and innovative production practices such as moving the birds inside to better control their environment and provide optimum growth opportunities. Contract production was tapped utilizing the skills of the local farmers to manage the birds while offering the farmer a stable income and a constant bird marketing opportunity. Centralized acquisition of supplies, feed ingredients, genetic breeding, medications, veterinary services, transportation, and management support all worked together to complete a vertical integration package. Bill Prestage perfected this new way of growing turkeys and then carried these practices into pork production.
Prestage Family Forms New Company – Prestage Farms
After the passing of Mr. Carroll, Mr. Prestage sold his interest in Carroll’s Foods to the Carroll family and formed his own company, Prestage Farms, with his wife Marsha and two of their sons John and Scott. In 1983, the family purchased a feed mill and turkey production operation located in Harrells, NC from Swift. With 22 employees and 18 contract growers, the company produced eight million pounds of turkey in its first year of operation. A pork production division would soon follow. Mr. Prestage often speaks of negotiating his first contract sow agreement on the hood of his car with a handshake. A new feed mill, warehouse, garage, maintenance shop, and office building were completed in 1984, and the company’s corporate headquarters moved to its current location on Hwy 421 near Clinton, NC.
Vertical Integration Concept Introduced in Pork Production
The early 90’s brought much expansion for the pork division. North Carolina farmers embraced the idea of moving the animals inside and the vertical integration concept offered to turkey producers. A second feed mill was built near Moltonville, NC in 1992 to meet the feed production needs of the growing animal herd. Happiest when he is building or expanding, Mr. Prestage’s entrepreneurial spirit took his business from its corporate base in North Carolina across state lines to include pork divisions in Mississippi, Iowa, South Carolina, and Oklahoma. These new divisions included three additional feed manufacturing facilities.
World’s Largest Single-Stage Turkey Hatchery Is Built
A new hatchery was erected in 1993 and is still today the world’s largest single-stage turkey poult hatching facility with the capability of setting up to 650,000 eggs per week. The turkey division continued its growth with a new production division in the State of South Carolina in 1994, when Bill and Marsha’s third son Ron Prestage, DVM joined the company as the division’s president.
Prestage Begins Processing Turkey Under The Prestage Foods Label
The new millennium brought the turkey production division full circle with the purchase of the Rocco turkey processing facility in St. Pauls, North Carolina in the year 2000. After extensive renovations, the plant was reopened in 2002 with Prestage processing its own turkeys under the Prestage Foods label.
In 2004, two new wings were added to the corporate offices in North Carolina to accommodate additional space needs for staff as well as conference and meeting facilities.
Prestage Farms Today
Today, Prestage Farms and its affiliates produce in excess of one billion pounds of turkey and pork annually. The company employs some 1,800 associates and contracts with over 400 farm families.