Turkey Industry Pioneer Receives NTF Lifetime Achievement Award
Bill Prestage, Prestage Farms, Receives NTF Honors
San Antonio, Texas, February 13, 2010 -
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SAN ANTONIO – Feb. 13, 2010 – The National Turkey Federation (NTF) honored Bill Prestage, founder of Prestage Farms, Clinton, N.C., with the NTF Lifetime Achievement Award.
Presented during the NTF Annual Convention here, this turkey industry leader received the award for his long-term, unselfish dedication to creative innovation in turkey production.
In presenting the award, Bill’s three sons, John, Ron and Scott, executives with Prestage Farms, spoke about how their father grew his single turkey operation into a fully integrated business.
Bill Prestage joined the turkey business in 1967 when he purchased share in Carroll’s Mill where he pioneered new and innovative production practices such as moving the birds inside to better control their environment and provide optimum growth opportunities.
Scott Prestage said, “Dad perfected this new way of growing turkeys and then carried these practices into the swine production business and within a few years the company had become a significant player in both poultry and swine production.”
In 1983 Bill Prestage sold his share in Carroll’s Foods and went right back into the turkey business with his wife Marsha and sons, John and Scott, to create Prestage Farms. With 22 employees and 18 contract growers, Prestage Farms produced 8 million pounds of turkey in its first year of operation.
Prestage’s turkey operation went to new heights in 1993 with the construction of the world’s largest single-stage hatchery and the capability of setting up to 650,000 eggs per week. The turkey division of Prestage Farms expanded into South Carolina in 1994 when Ron Prestage joined the family business.
“Dad’s turkey production efforts were brought full circle in 2000 with the purchase of the Rocco turkey processing plant in St. Pauls, N.C., and the beginning of the development of a Prestage Foods Label,” said John Prestage. Today, Prestage Farms produces 450 million pounds of turkey and 750 million pounds of pork annually. Prestage employs more than 1,800 associates and contracts with more than 700 farm families.
John went on to explain the characteristics that make Bill Prestage deserving of such an award. “His humility and commitment to the community is visibly in the many honors he has won for volunteerism and distinction,” John said. Bill Prestage has served as president of both NTF and the North Carolina Turkey Federation as well as on the Board of Directors for North Carolina Natural Gas and Smithfield Foods.
John concluded, “The Lifetime Achievement Award is for those who have given their lives to the turkey industry and who have left better off for their efforts – that sums up our father perfectly.”
NTF initiated the Lifetime Achievement Award program at its 1946 Annual Convention. Since that time, 65 recipients have been recognized with this honor. Past recipients include turkey industry leaders, executives of national and state poultry/turkey organizations, allied industry leaders, government officials, university professors, researchers and journalists.
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