Two Turkey Industry Legends Receive NTF Lifetime Achievement Award

October 24, 2012
Orlando, FL

Sherrie Rosenblatt
Vice President of Marketing and Communications
202-898-0100 ext. 7227

The National Turkey Federation (NTF) honored Louis Maxwell, chairman of the board, and Gordon Maxwell, president, Goldsboro Milling Company, with the NTF Lifetime Achievement Award.

Presented during the NTF Annual Convention here, these industry leaders received the award for their long-term, unselfish dedication to creative innovation in turkey production.

In presenting the award, Nick Weaver and Walter “Gator” Pelletier, who are executives with Goldsboro Milling Company, spoke about how the Maxwell’s, first cousins, grew the business from a feed mill to a fully integrated turkey business.

Louis joined the business after graduating from University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1950. He talked his family into raising food-producing animals because the feed business was drying up and they had mouths to feed.

Weaver said, “Louis will also be the first to tell you that they failed in some of these endeavors, but with some advice from Marvin Johnson from House of Raeford, the turkey business did well.” That was 1957 and Goldsboro Milling Company moved quickly to expand its operations to include turkey breeder farms.

Gordon graduated with a poultry science degree from North Carolina State and joined Louis in the family business in 1964.

Louis and Gordon expanded the turkey operations and in 1967 built the first turkey hatchery. Pelletier said, “Today, the company’s hatchery complex is comprised of three state-of-the-art hatcheries with a combined maximum capacity of more than 40 million poults per year. In its first 10 years the hatchery facility underwent several expansions.” In 1988, construction was completed on the largest and most technologically advanced feed mill of its kind.

Meanwhile, in 1986, the company built and became the principal owner of Carolina Turkeys, a producer of an extensive line of turkey products. Weaver said, “The Carolina Turkey plant, even though the world’s largest when constructed, has continued to aggressively expand both its facilities and the scope of its production and marketing.”

Weaver went onto explain Goldsboro Milling Company’s current status under Louis and Gordon’s leadership. “In 2006, Goldsboro Milling became the majority owner of Butterball, LLC,” Weaver said. “The marriage of excellence in turkey production and customer service from Carolina Turkeys, with the international brand recognition of Butterball, resulted in undeniable benefits to consumers everywhere.”

“Today, the company’s fully vertically integrated turkey enterprise is a world leader. It maintains the world’s largest turkey breeder population, has developed the world’s largest turkey hatchery complex, it employs the world’s leading technologies in the manufacturing of its feed and in all aspects of live production, and operates the world’s largest turkey processing plant with products marketed worldwide.”

Weaver concluded, “At the present time, Goldsboro Milling Company and its diverse subsidiaries annually produce about 40 million turkey hatching eggs, sell 8 million hatching eggs and 17 million poults to other producers, and place about 15 million turkeys for in-house production.”

NTF initiated its Lifetime Achievement Award program at its 1946 Annual Convention. Since that time, 63 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.


The National Turkey Federation is the advocate for all segments of the $8 billion U.S. turkey industry by providing services and conducting activities that increase demand for its members’ products. The federation protects and enhances its members’ ability to effectively and profitably provide wholesome, high quality, nutritious turkey products.