Ready-to-cook (RTC) production and sales volume, operating facilities and capital improvements in 2007 for the USA's top broiler companies are reported in the following profiles. WATT PoultryUSA rankings data are based primarily on an exclusive survey of companies but also includes data from published sources and industry estimates. Company profiles appear in descending order of ranking based on RTC volume in pounds. 

1. Pilgrim's Pride Chairman of the Board and Interim President Ken Pilgrim told shareholders in September that the 2006 acquisition of Gold Kist had yielded $150 million in annualized savings three months ahead of schedule. "By all accounts, the process of combining Pilgrim's Pride and Gold Kist into one organization with a common culture and focus on the customer has been an overwhelming success," he and Senior Chairman Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim said in a jointly signed letter. Indeed, the Pilgrim's organization appears to have the Midas touch for finding the synergies in acquisitions.

  • Pilgrim's Pride Corporation; Pittsburg, Texas
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 174.65 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↓ 7.29 Mil Lbs. ↓ 4.0%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 42.72 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 5.24 Lbs.

Pilgrim's Pride reported producing 174.65 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on an average weekly basis in 2007, a decrease of 7.29 million pounds or 4 percent from the previous year. The company slaughtered 42.72 million birds per week at an average live weight of 5.24 pounds, according to WATT PoultryUSA rankings data.

0802USAprobPilgrimsKen 
Ken Pilgrim 

The company's $7.6 billion in consolidated sales break out 50.8 percent foodservice, 27.5 percent retail, 5.7 percent institutional and 16.1 percent export. Product forms are 62.4 percent fresh and 37.6 percent frozen; 43.6 percent cut-up; 21.3 percent non-cooked further processed and 12.4 percent cooked. Sales break out 34.6 percent Southeast, 21.2 percent Southwest, 14.8 percent Midwest, 12 percent Northeast, 9.3 percent West and 8.2 percent international.

Pilgrim's Pride Corporation employs 55,000 people in operations that include 34 integrated complexes, comprising 52 hatcheries (56.4 million eggs per week capacity), 35 feed mills (355,500 tons per week), 38 slaughter processing facilities, 15 further processing plants (non-cooking), 12 cooking facilities, 39 distribution centers, 10 rendering plants and 28 wastewater treatment plants. The company's rolling stock includes 4,180 vehicles.

Broilers are grown on 5,738 farms in 20,223 houses. The company's breeder flocks are on 1,802 farms in 3,116 houses.

2. Tyson Foods President and CEO Richard Bond called Tyson a much better company at the end of fiscal 2007 than a year earlier. After a year of belt-tightening through a cost management initiative, all of the company's business segments, including chicken, were profitable versus the prior year. Supported by improved sales prices, the company's 2007 operating income from the chicken segment rebounded from $53 million in 2006 to $280 million.

  • Tyson Foods, Inc.; Springdale, Arkansas
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 144.17 Mil. Lbs. Wkly. ↓ 7.69 Mil Lbs. ↓ 5.1%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 39.2 Mil He. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per He. 4.97 Lbs.

The company reported $8.19 billion in chicken segment sales in the fiscal year ended October 1, 2007. (Chicken segment includes sales from allied products and the Cobb breeding stock subsidiary.) Sales of chicken products break out 49 percent foodservice, 34 percent retail and 11 percent export.

0802USAprobTyson 
Richard L. Bond 

Tyson Foods operates 32 broiler complexes, which include 40 hatcheries, 33 feed mills, 35 slaughter facilities, 34 non-cooking further processing plants and 13 cooking facilities. The company's broilers, breeders and pullets are produced on 6,658 farms (6,633 contract and 25 company-owned).

In 2007, Tyson opened the Discovery Center, which includes 19 research kitchens and a USDA-inspected pilot plant. The 100,000-square-foot facility is designed to help the company create new foods and bring them to market faster. Also in 2007, Tyson sold two commodity chicken plants (Ashland and Gadsden, Ala.) and related facilities for $40 million.

Tyson has said it expects to close deals in 2008 for two integrated poultry joint ventures in China, as well as an integrated poultry deal in Brazil.

3. Perdue Farms Chairman James A. "Jim" Perdue is the third generation Perdue in charge of the No. 1 brand of fresh chicken in the Eastern USA. In 2007, the company introduced the Perfect Portions line of individually wrapped fresh, boneless, skinless chicken breasts sized to cook quickly and evenly. A Goldilocks-themed commercial with Mr. Perdue aired on TV across the Eastern USA.

  • Perdue Farms, Inc.; Salisbury, Maryland
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 55.7 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↓ 0.46 Mil Lbs. ↓ 0.8%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 12.16 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 5.87 Lbs.

Ranked third in sales in the chicken industry, the company's $4.0 billion in fiscal 2007 sales break out 66 percent retail, 29 percent foodservice and 5 percent export. Product forms are 74 percent fresh and 26 percent frozen. Brands are Perdue, Shenandoah, Cookin' Good and Gol-Pak.

0802USAprobPerdue 
James A. Perdue

Perdue Farms employs 21,000 people in operations that include 18 hatcheries, 10 feed mills, 10 slaughter processing plants, one non-cooking further processing facility, four cooking facilities, two distribution centers and two rendering plants. The company contracts with more than 2,400 independent farm families.

4. Sanderson Farms CEO Joe Frank Sanderson, Jr., in 2007 oversaw the opening of the company's Waco, Texas, complex, which began processing chicken early in the fourth fiscal quarter. At full production, the facility represents a capacity increase of 1.25 million chickens per week enough to provide steady growth for the company through 2009.

  • Sanderson Farms, Inc.; Laurel, Mississippi
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 38.94 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 4.29 Mil Lbs. ↑ 12.4%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 6.61 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 6.92 Lbs.

The company in 2007 posted record $1.48 billion sales, which break out 37 percent retail, 26 percent foodservice, 13 percent institutional, 14 percent export and 10 percent industrial. Product forms are 86 percent fresh and 14 percent frozen; 95 percent cut-up; and 2 percent non-cooked further processed. Geographically, sales break out 22 percent Southwest, 33 percent Southeast, 11 percent Northeast, 12 percent Midwest, 8 percent West and 13 percent international. The company has 500 different products.

0802USAprobSanderson 
Joe Sanderson, Jr. 

Sanderson Farms employs 9,748 people in eight integrated complexes, comprising seven hatcheries (8.99 million eggs per week capacity), six feed mills (73,200 tons per week), eight slaughter processing plants (7.25 million birds per week), a cooking plant and seven wastewater treatment plants. The company's rolling stock includes 602 vehicles.

The company's broilers are grown under contract on 432 farms in 2,944 houses (7.5 million chicks per week grow-out capacity). Breeder flocks are on 174 farms in 488 houses (2.2 million bird capacity).

5. Wayne Farms President and CEO Elton H. Maddox heads up the wholly-owned subsidiary of the ContiGroup, with fiscal 2007 chicken sales of $1.23 billion. Those sales break out 52 percent institutional (industrial), 41 percent foodservice, 2 percent retail and 5 percent export. Product forms are 44 percent fresh and 14 percent frozen; 15 percent non-cooked further processed and 27 percent cooked. Geographically, sales break out 33 percent Southeast, 27 percent Midwest, 19 percent Northeast, 16 percent West, 1 percent Southwest and 4 percent international. Company brands are Wayne Farms, Dutch Quality House and Platinum Harvest.

  • Wayne Farms, LLC; Gainesville, Georgia
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 34.40 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↓ 0.5 Mil Lbs. ↓ 1.4%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 5.88 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 6.74 Lbs.

The company employs 9,199 people in eight integrated complexes, comprising eight hatcheries (7.6 million chicks per week capacity), seven feed mills (44,700 tons per week), eight slaughter/processing plants (6.2 million head per week capacity) and five further processing (all with cooking capabilities) plants. The company's rolling stock includes 390 vehicles. Broilers are grown under contract on 807 farms in 2,982 houses. Breeders are on 220 farms in 441 houses.

0802USAprobWayneFarms 
Elton H. Maddox

The ContiGroup Companies focus on animal proteins, including poultry, pork, cattle feeding and aquaculture.

6. Mountaire Farms President John Wise leads the company that has pushed the envelope in broiler house design by making 66- by 600-foot houses the company standard. These larger houses, which promise better cash flow, have helped the company recruit contract growers in a tight market and had a part in allowing the company to grow RTC production by 10.5 percent in 2007.

  • Mountaire Farms; Selbyville, Delaware
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 30.53 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 2.89 Mil Lbs. ↑ 10.5%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 4.89 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 7.66 Lbs.

The company's $1.15 billion sales break out 30 percent retail, 25 percent foodservice, 25 percent industrial, 10 percent institutional and 10 percent export. Product forms are 90 percent fresh and 10 percent frozen. Company brands are Mountaire, Sizzlin' Sensations and Bo San. The company also packs under Black Label and Blue Label.

0802USAprobMountaire 
John Wise

Mountaire Farms employs 6,830 people in three complexes that include three hatcheries (6.4 million eggs per week capacity), four feed mills (41,400 tons per week), three slaughter processing plants (4.85 million head per week capacity) and three wastewater treatment plants.

Broilers are grown under contract on 941 farms in 2,749 houses (5.03 million chicks per week placement capacity). Breeder hens and pullets are housed on 163 farms in 323 houses (2.15 million bird capacity). The company's rolling stock includes 446 vehicles.

7. House of Raeford President and COO Don Taber reported a 19.3 percent increase in RTC chicken production in 2007. The company acquired and converted a turkey plant in Wallace, N.C., to broiler processing. Broilers were also grown to heavier weightson average an additional 0.57 pounds per bird. The company famous for its turkey business has more than doubled its chicken production since 2001!

  • House of Raeford, Inc.; Rose Hill, North Carolina
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 24.58 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 3.98 Lbs. ↑ 19.3%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 4.29 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 7.24 Lbs.

The company's $604 million chicken sales break out 75 percent foodservice, 13 percent retail and 12 percent export. Product forms are 80 percent fresh and 20 percent frozen; and 44 percent cut-up. The company brands are House of Raeford Farms and Columbia Farms. Geographically, sales break out 82 percent Southeast, 4 percent Midwest, 2 percent Northeast and 12 percent international.

House of Raeford operations include six complexes with four hatcheries (5.2 million eggs per week capacity), four feed mills (39,000 tons per week), six slaughter plants (4.29 million birds per week capacity), two further processing facilities, two cooking facilities and four wastewater treatment plants.

Capital improvements in 2007 include $1.9 million for a shavings mill. The company budgets $5.6 million for grain storage in 2008.

8. Keystone Foods Poultry Division Senior Vice President Keith Lewis and his team kept ready-to-cook broiler production steady at 19.44 million pounds weekly. Keystone's poultry division provides a controlled, consistent supply of chicken to the parent company's foodservice distribution. Consolidated sales break out 95 percent U.S. foodservice and 5 percent export. Product forms are 47 percent fresh and 20 percent frozen; and 33 percent non-cooked further processed. The company brand is Key Farms.

  • Keystone Foods, LLC; Huntsville, Alabama
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 19.44 Mil Lbs. Wkly. No Change From 2006
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 3.53 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 6.64 Lbs.

Keystone Foods employs 6,950 people in operations that include three hatcheries (4.13 million eggs per week), three feed mills (25,500 tons per week), three slaughter plants with non-cooking further processing capabilities, and four further processing/cooking plants. The company's broilers are grown (98 percent under contract) on 295 farms in 1,542 grow-out houses (3.77 million chicks per week placement capacity).

Keystone Foods is a global manufacturer of food products and custom distributor to the food industry in 14 countries around the world.

9. Koch Foods President and CEO Joseph C. Grendys led the company to its second year of growth by acquisition in 2007, when the Chicago-based company acquired slaughter/processing plants from Tyson Foods in Ashland, and Gadsden, Ala. The acquisition included a feed mill in Talladega and hatcheries in Fair Knoll and Empire. (Before the acquisition, Koch was a primary customer of the Ashland and Gadsden plants.) This comes on the heels of Koch's 2006 acquisition of the broiler processing operations of Alabama-based Sylvest Farms, Inc.

  • Koch Foods, Inc.; Chicago, Illinois
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 18.6 Mil Lbs. Wkly.
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 5.31 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 4.75 Lbs.

Koch was a one-room chicken deboning and cutting operation as recently as 1985. Through acquisition and growth, the company today delivers fresh and frozen products to customers throughout the USA, and its frozen products reach customers around the world.

0802USAprobKochFoods 
Koch Foods

Products include whole birds, bone-in and boneless chicken breasts and legs, prepared and fully-cooked snacks and entrees. Company brands are Koch Poultry, Antioch Farms, Preferred Foods, Rogers Royal and Mr. Bennies. The company also packs under numerous private labels.

Koch's broiler operations include six hatcheries, six feed mills and six processing plants.

10. O.K. Foods CEO Collier Wenderoth, Jr., says that for more than 70 years the company has built its business on a practical philosophy: keeping it simple. That means producing "quality chicken products at a good value, with genuine service along the way."

  • O.K. Foods, Inc.; Fort Smith, Arkansas
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 16.2 Mil Lbs. Wkly No Change From 2006
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 3.0 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 7.0 Lbs.

The company's sales break out 30 percent foodservice, 25 percent retail, 20 percent institutional and 25 percent export. Product forms are 50 percent fresh and 50 percent frozen; and 100 percent cut-up. Sixty-five percent of product is in non-cooked, further processed form, and 35 percent is cooked. O.K. Foods offers 200 products. The company brand is Tender Bird.

O.K. Foods employs 5,000 people in two complexes that include three hatcheries (3.5 million chicks per week); two feed mills (21,000 tons per week); two slaughter/deboning plants (3 million birds per week capacity); three deboning facilities; and two further processing plants, one of which includes cooking capabilities; two distribution centers; and two wastewater treatment plants.

Broilers are grown under contract in 910 houses. Breeder flocks are housed on 62 farms in 120 houses.

11. Foster Farms CEO and President Ron Foster and his management team have set a goal to make the family-owned business the most trusted food company in America. As part of that effort, the company totally eliminated the use of antibiotics for growth promotion at the end of 2004.

  • Foster Farms; Livingston, California
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 16.18 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↓ 0.82 Mil Lbs. ↓ 4.8%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 5.2 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 5.54 Lbs.

The company's $1.8 billion sales break out 88 percent retail, 10 percent foodservice, 1 percent institutional and 1 percent export. Product forms are 74 percent fresh and 26 percent frozen; 54 percent cut-up; 36 percent non-cooked further processed; and 10 percent cooked. Geographically, sales break out 70 percent West, 18 percent Northwest, 7 percent Southwest, 2 percent Southeast, 1 percent Midwest, 1 percent Northeast and 1 percent international. Foster Farms offers 756 products. The company brands are Foster Farms and Coastal Range.

0802USAprobFoster 
Ron Foster

Foster Farms employs 10,700 people in operations that include three complexes, five hatcheries (8.6 million eggs per week capacity), five feed mills (37,720 tons per week), five slaughter processing plants (5.6 million head per week capacity), two further processing facilities, four cooking facilities, two distribution centers and one rendering plant.

Broilers are grown on 224 farms in 2,275 houses (65 percent of flocks in company-owned housing and 35 percent under contract) with 5.9 million chicks per week placement capacity. Breeder flocks are on 183 farms in 296 houses (2.3 million hen capacity). The company's rolling stock includes 975 vehicles.

12. George's CEO Gary George runs a company that specializes in the foodservice business. The company's sales break out 85 percent foodservice, 8 percent retail and 7 percent export. Product forms are 74 percent fresh and 26 percent frozen; 86 percent cut-up; 32 percent uncooked further processed; and 1 percent cooked. George's offers 750 products. The company brand is George's. Geographically, sales break out 27 percent Northeast, 23 percent Northwest, 18 percent West, 17 percent Midwest, 5 percent Southeast, 2 percent Southwest and 8 percent international.

  • George's, Inc.; Springdale, Arkansas
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 14.78 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 0.23 Mil Lbs. ↑ 1.6%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 4.83 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 4.11 Lbs.

George's operates two complexes, comprising four hatcheries (6.4 million eggs per week capacity), three feed mills (18,500 tons per week), three slaughter plants (4.95 million birds per week capacity), one non-cooking further processing facility, one cooking facility, one rendering facility and two wastewater treatment facilities. The company operates a rendering plant in a partnership agreement. Rolling stock includes 403 vehicles.

0802USAprobGeorge 
Gary George

Broilers are grown mostly under contract (95 percent) on 471 farms in 1,535 houses (5.0 million bird weekly placement capacity). Breeder flocks are on 149 farms in 293 houses (1.52 million bird capacity).

Capital improvements: George's completed construction in 2007 of a $17 million feed mill in Cassville, Mo.

13. Peco Foods President and CEO Mark Hickman guided the company toward more institutional business in 2007. The company's 2007 sales break out 35 percent foodservice, 25 percent retail, 20 percent institutional (up from none in 2006) and 20 percent export.

  • Peco Foods, Inc.; Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 14.62 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↓ 0.84 Mil Lbs. ↓ 5.4%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 3.37 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 5.77 Lbs.

Product forms are 60 percent fresh and 40 percent frozen; and 100 percent cut-up. Geographically, sales break out 20 percent West, 15 percent Northwest, 15 percent Midwest, 25 percent South, 5 percent Northeast and 20 percent international. The company brand is Peco.

0802USAprobPecoFoods 
Mark Hickman

Peco Foods employs 3,700 people in four complexes that include three hatcheries (3.8 million chicks per week capacity), four feed mills (25,000 tons per week capacity), four slaughter/deboning plants, a deboning/further processing plant, a cooking plant and a wastewater treatment plant.

14. Fieldale Farms CEO Joe S. Hatfield may run one of the largest integrated chicken companies in the nation, but one of its most notable products in recent years is a premium niche offering, Springer Mountain Farms Chicken. Chicken for the upscale label is raised on an all-vegetable diet without the use of antibiotics.

  • Fieldale Farms Corporation; Baldwin, Georgia
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 14.52 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 0.18 Mil Lbs. ↑ 1.3%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 3.05 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 5.5 Lbs.

The company's $623 million sales break out 64 percent retail, 26 percent foodservice, 1 percent institutional and 10 percent export. Product forms are 77 percent fresh and 23 percent frozen; 87 percent cut-up; and 3 percent cooked. Fieldale Farms has 740 different products. The company brand is Fieldale Farms. Geographically, sales break out 48 percent Southeast, 24 percent Northeast, 11 percent Midwest, 5 percent West and 12 percent international.

0802USAprobFieldale 
Joe. S. Hatfield

Fieldale Farms employs 4,900 people in operations that include three hatcheries (4.5 million eggs per week capacity), two feed mills (with combined capacity of 29,000 tons per week), two slaughter/processing plants, three non-cooking further processing facilities, a cooking facility, two protein conversion plants and four wastewater treatment plants. The company's broilers are grown under contract on 404 farms in 1,420 houses with total weekly placement capacity of 3.4 million birds. Breeder flocks are on 88 farms in 153 houses.

15. Allen Family Foods CEO Charles C. Allen, III, guided the company to a 15.7 percent increase production of ready-to-cook chicken in 2007. The company also reported $44 million in capital improvements and more to come in 2008.

  • Allen Family Foods, Inc.; Seaford, Delaware
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 13.63 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 1.85 Mil Lbs. ↑ 15.7%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 2.71 Mil. Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 6.21 Lbs.

The company's sales break out 64 percent retail, 25 percent foodservice, 5 percent institutional and 6 percent export. Product forms are 90 percent fresh and 10 percent frozen; 75 percent cut-up; and 10 percent non-cooked further processed. Geographically, sales are 84 percent Northeast, 10 percent Midwest and 6 percent international. Company brands are Allen's, Delmarva and Sussex Farms.

0802USAprobAllen 
Charles C. Allen, III

Allen Family Foods employs 3,000 people in three complexes that include three hatcheries (2.5 million chicks per week capacity), three feed mills (16,500 tons per week), three slaughter/processing plants, three wastewater treatment plants and a rendering plant. The company's broilers are grown on 550 grow-out farms in 1,283 houses (28.7 million chicks per week placement capacity). Ninety percent of broilers are grown under contract. Breeder flocks are on 37 farms in 108 houses (1.2 million-bird capacity). The company's rolling stock includes 556 vehicles.

Capital improvements completed in 2007 include $37 million to "rebuild" the processing plant in Harbeson, Del., and $7 million for an addition to the plant at Hurlock, Md. Improvements planned for 2008 include $20 million for a feed mill; $6 million for an addition to the plant in Harbeson; and $4 million for an addition to the Hurlock hatchery.

16. Townsends Chairman and CEO P. Coleman Townsend and his management team say they are focused on growing the company's value-added and fresh chicken business. Townsends reports $450 million in chicken sales, which break out 35 percent foodservice, 30 percent retail, 15 percent institutional and 20 percent export. Product forms are 65 percent fresh and 35 percent frozen; 95 percent cut-up. The company's further processed items are 62 percent uncooked and 38 percent cooked.

  • Townsends, Inc.; Georgetown, Delaware
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 12.48 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 0.08 Mil Lbs. ↑ 0.6%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 1.90 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 7.72 Lbs.

Townsends markets 400 products. Company brands are Townsend, Perfect Breast, Pristine Cuisine, Speedy Bird, Ruby Dragon, A La Henri and Chef's Select.

0802USAprobTownsend 
P. Coleman Townsend

The company employs 3,300 people in operations that include two complexes, comprising two hatcheries (2.2 million chicks per week capacity), three feed mills (18,000 tons per week), two slaughter plants with processing and further processing operations (1.9 million birds per week capacity), one further processing plant, two cooking facilities and a wastewater treatment plant. Rolling stock includes 589 vehicles.

Broilers are grown under contract on 354 farms in 1,250 houses. Breeder flocks are on 100 farms in 181 houses.

Capital improvements completed in 2007 include projects to restructure product flow at the plant in Batesville, Ark., and consolidation of the par-frying operation in the further processing plant in Mocksville, N.C.

17. Simmons Foods COO of Poultry and Pet Foods Todd Simmons reported that the company boosted production of ready-to-cook chicken by 16.6 percent, largely on the basis of increased broiler weights (up by over 0.4 pound per head).

  • Simmons Foods, Inc.; Siloam Springs, Arkansas
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 11.78 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 1.68 Mil Lbs. ↑ 16.6%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 2.95 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 5.11 lbs.

The company's $550 million sales break out 30 percent foodservice, 25 percent retail, 15 percent industrial and 25 percent export. Geographically, sales break out 16 percent Northeast, 16 percent Southeast, 16 percent West, 8 percent Northwest, 8 percent Midwest and 25 percent international. The company offers 600 products. The company brand is Simmons.

0802USAprobSimmons 
Todd Simmons

Simmons Foods employs 4,100 people in two complexes that include two hatcheries (3.75 million eggs per week capacity), a feed mill (15,000 tons per week capacity), three slaughter/processing plants (2.9 million birds per week capacity), two further processing plants with cooking capabilities, a cooking plant, a distribution center, a rendering plant and five wastewater treatment facilities.

Broilers are grown on 450 farms in 1,200 houses (80 percent under contract). Breeder flocks are in 133 houses.

18. Case Foods Chairman and CEO Thomas R. Shelton reported a 7.4 percent increase in ready-to-cook chicken production in 2007.

  • Case Foods, Inc.; Salisbury, Maryland
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 10.13 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑0.70 Mil Lbs. ↑ 7.4%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 1.61 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 7.59 Lbs.

The company's $454 million in sales break out 42 percent foodservice, 30 percent institutional, 10 percent industrial, 8 percent retail and 10 percent export. Product forms are 90 percent fresh and 10 percent frozen; 98 percent cut-up; and 30 percent uncooked further processed. Geographically, sales break out 30 percent Northeast, 20 percent West, 15 percent Southeast, 20 percent Midwest, 5 percent Southwest and 10 percent international. The company markets 410 different products. The company brand is Case Farms.

0802USAprobCaseFoods 
Thomas R. Shelton

Case Foods employs 2,289 people in three complexes that include three hatcheries (2.25 million chicks per week capacity), two feed mills (20,000 tons per week), three processing plants (1.7 million birds per week), one cooking facility and three wastewater treatment plants. The company's rolling stock includes 355 vehicles.

Broilers are grown under contract on 339 farms in 886 houses (1.7 million chicks per week placement capacity). Breeder flocks are on 63 farms in 119 houses.

Capital Improvements: Case Foods plans to construct a new feed mill in Ohio in 2008 at a projected cost of $14 million.

19. Cagle's CEO J. Douglas Cagle reported that ready-to-cook chicken production increased by 12.5 percent in 2007. The company also reported the installation of new processing equipment in two plants in 2007.

  • Cagle's, Inc.; Atlanta, Georgia
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 7.56 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 0.84 Mil Lbs. ↑ 12.5%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 2.36 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 4.05 Lbs.

Late in 2007, Mr. Cagle, along with his two sons and a limited liability company controlled by members of the Cagle family, made an acquisition proposal to acquire all stock in the company not already owned by the Cagle family group. The family group currently owns 64 percent of the company's stock.

0802USAprobCagle 
J. Douglas Cagle

Cagle's projected fiscal 2007 sales of $245 million break out 34 percent foodservice, 32 percent retail, 18 percent institutional and 16 percent export. Product forms are 78 percent fresh and 22 percent frozen; 64 percent cut-up; 34 percent non-cooked further processed; and 1 percent cooked. Geographically, Cagle's sales break out 28 percent Southeast, 18 percent Southwest, 18 percent Midwest, 18 percent West, 15 percent Northeast and 12 percent international. The company packages product under 12 brands (including private labels).

Cagle's employs 1,753 people in operations that include one hatchery (2.4 million chicks per week capacity), one feed mill (15,000 tons per week capacity), two slaughter/processing/further processing plants (2.18 million birds per week capacity) and a distribution center. Rolling stock includes 150 vehicles.

Capital improvements in 2007 included installation of new scalding and picking equipment to complement Stork Nuevo evisceration lines running under HIMP inspection in the Collinsville plant; new scalding equipment and a waste-fired boiler in the Pine Mountain Valley plant; and upgrades to the truck fleet, including anti-rollover devices and computerized PSI monitoring.

Planned for 2008 are enhancements to the wastewater treatment capabilities and new chillers in the Collinsville plant. Planned for the Pine Mountain Valley plant are enhancements to further processing capabilities and an expansion of cooler capacity in support of the planned addition of Stork Nuevo evisceration equipment and pickers.

20. Mar-Jac Poultry CEO Pete Martin reports that the company increased production of ready-to-cook chicken by 13.2 percent in 2007.

  • Mar-Jac Poultry, Inc.; Gainesville, Georgia
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 7.2 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑0.84 Lbs. ↑ 13.2%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 2.0 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 4.40 lbs.

The company's $250 million sales break out 45 percent foodservice, 25 percent institutional and 30 percent export. Product forms are 60 percent fresh and 40 percent frozen; 80 percent cut-up; and 30 percent uncooked further processed. Geographically, sales break out 40 percent in the Southeast, 15 percent Midwest, 15 percent Northeast and 30 percent international. Mar-Jac offers 200 products. The company brand is MJ.

0802USAprobMarJac 
Pete Martin

Mar-Jac employs 1,200 people in operations that include one hatchery (2.5 million eggs per week capacity), one feed mill (9,500 tons per week), one slaughter, processing and further processing facility and a wastewater treatment plant. Rolling stock includes 100 vehicles.

Broilers are produced under contract on 350 farms in 675 grow-out houses. Breeder flocks are on 32 farms in 56 houses.

21. Amick Farms President and CEO Ben Harrison reported a 9.4 percent increase in ready-to-cook chicken production in 2007, as the company slaughtered 150,000 additional birds per week while keeping live weights steady at 8 pounds.

  • Amich Farms, Inc.; Leesville, South Carolina
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 7.0 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 0.6 Mil Lbs. ↑ 9.4%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 1.15 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 8.0 Lbs.

The company's $275 million in sales break out 49 percent institutional, 18 percent retail, 15 percent foodservice and 18 percent export. Product forms are 70 percent fresh and 30 percent frozen; and 100 percent cut-up. Amick offers 100 products. The company brand is Amick Farms.

0802USAprobAmick 
Ben Harrison

Amick Farms employs 1,500 people in operations that include one hatchery (1.5 million eggs per week capacity), one feed mill (12,750 tons per week capacity), one processing plant (1.2 million birds per week capacity), a distribution center and a wastewater treatment facility. The company's rolling stock includes 70 vehicles.

Broilers are produced under contract on 135 farms in 600 houses. Breeder flocks are on 17 farms in 45 houses.

Amick Farms is a division of the OSI Group.

22. Marshall Durbin Cos. President Melissa Durbin reported that the company's $251 million sales break out 55 percent foodservice, 25 percent institutional, 8 percent retail and 12 percent export. Product forms are 89 percent fresh and 11 percent frozen; and 83 percent cut-up. Geographically, sales break out 57 percent in the Southeast, 18 percent Midwest, 8 percent Northeast, 3 percent Southwest, 2 percent West and 12 percent international. The company brand is Marshall Durbin.

  • Marshall Durbin Cos.; Birmingham, Alabama
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 6.39 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 0.27 Mil Lbs. ↑ 4.4%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 2.12 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 3.90 Lbs.

Marshall Durbin employs 2,000 people in operations that include three hatcheries (2.9 million eggs per week), two feed mills (8,800 tons per week), two processing plants (2.2 million birds capacity per week) and a distribution center.

Broilers are grown on 216 farms in 714 houses. Breeder flocks are on 86 farms in 194 houses.

The company reports $3.9 million in capital improvements in 2007 as follows: $2 million in refrigeration upgrades; $1.5 million in high-speed evisceration equipment; $300,000 for vacuum transport for offal; and $100,000 for wastewater rotor screens and stormwater retention improvements.

Marshall Durbin has budgeted $3.3 million in 2008 for the following capital improvements: $1.75 million for condensation control and refrigeration improvements; $1 million for increased deboning and cut-up capacity; $500,000 for process efficiencies improvements; and $50,000 for an antimicrobial system.

23. Claxton Poultry President Jerry Lane reported that the company's $230 million in sales break out 55 percent foodservice, 35 percent retail and 10 percent export. Product forms are 85 percent fresh and 15 percent frozen; and 85 percent cut-up. The company brand is Claxton Select.

  • Claxton Poultry Farms; Claxton, Georgia
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 6.20 Mil Lbs. Wkly. No Change From 2006
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 1.64 Mil Lbs. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 4.71 Lbs.

Claxton Poultry employs 1,650 people in operations that include two hatcheries (2.07 million eggs per week capacity), one feed mill (7,800 tons per week), one processing plant, a distribution center and a rendering plant. Rolling stock includes 150 vehicles (excluding trailers).

0802USAprobClaxton 
Jerry Lane

The company's broilers are grown under contract on 173 farms in 539 broiler houses (1.71 million bird placement capacity). Breeder and pullet flocks are on 42 farms in 101 houses.

24. Gold'n Plump Poultry CEO Mike Helgeson is the third generation of his family to run the company that in recent years has achieved a number of firsts, including offering a full line of fresh, fixed weight scannable chicken products. The company also offers a full line of fresh, All Natural Raised With No Antibiotics, chicken, which was introduced in 2007.

  • Gold'n Plump Poultry; St. Cloud, Minnesota
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 6.09 Mil. Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 0.35 Mil. Lbs. ↑ 6.1%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 1.57 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 4.77 Lbs.

The company's sales break out 61 percent retail, 20 percent foodservice, 8 percent institutional, 8 percent industrial and 3 percent export. Product forms are 93.5 percent fresh and 6.5 percent frozen; and 79 percent cut-up. Geographically, sales break out 82 percent Midwest, 8 percent Southeast, 5 percent Southwest, 4 percent Northeast and 1 percent international. The company brand is Gold'n Plump.

0802USAprobgoldnplump 
Mike Helgeson

Gold'n Plump employs 1,500 people in two complexes that include two hatcheries (2.0 million chicks per week capacity), two feed mills (7,695 tons per week), two slaughter plants (1.66 million birds per week), one further processing facility, one distribution center and a wastewater treatment plant. Rolling stock includes 386 vehicles.

Broilers are grown under contract on 213 farms in 257 houses. Breeder flocks are on 62 farms in 72 houses.

Capital Improvements: A $12 million hatchery began operation in Independence, Wis., in March 2007.

25. Peterson Farms CEO Blake Evans heads the integrated chicken production company founded in 1939 by Lloyd Peterson and primarily known for its genetic research and production of breeder poultry. Peterson Farms, however, is also the parent company of the Processing Division, Peterson LP Gas, L&L Farms and Decatur General Store.

  • Peterson Farms, Inc.; Decatur, Arkansas
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 5.09 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↓ 0.33 Mil Lbs. ↓ 6.1%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 1.14 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 5.81 Lbs.

The company's $156 million in chicken sales break out 32 percent retail, 24 percent institutional and 44 percent export. Geographically, sales break out 50 percent Midwest, 5 percent Northeast, 5 percent Southeast, 5 percent Southwest, 5 percent West and 30 percent international. Peterson offers 30 products. The company brand is Peterson Farms.

0802USAprobPetersonFarms 
Blake Evans

Peterson employs 1,300 people in broiler production and processing operations that include three hatcheries (1.61 million eggs per week capacity), a feed mill (9,150 tons per week capacity), one processing plant, one distribution center and a wastewater treatment facility.

Broilers are grown under contract on 171 farms in 624 houses. Breeder flocks are on 50 farms in 111 houses.

26. Harrison Poultry President and CEO Mike Welch reported the company increased production of ready-to-cook chicken by 11.4 percent in 2007.

  • Harrison Poultry, Inc.; Bethlehem, Georgia
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 4.80 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 0.49 Mil Lbs. ↑ 11.4%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 1.0 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 6.07 Lbs.

The company's $195 million sales break out 60 percent retail, 25 percent foodservice, 5 percent institutional and 10 percent export. Product forms are 85 percent fresh and 15 percent frozen; and 75 percent cut-up. The company brand is Harrison Golden Goodness.

0802USAprobHarrison 
Mike Welch

Harrison Poultry employs 800 people in operations that include a hatchery (1.2 million eggs per week capacity), a feed mill (6,500 tons per week) and a processing plant (1 million birds per week capacity). The company's rolling stock includes 105 vehicles.

Broilers are grown under contract in 435 houses. The company's breeder flocks are on 30 farms in 45 houses.

27. 

  • Golden-Rod Broilers, Inc.; Cullman, Alabama
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 3.42 Mil Lbs. Wkly. No Change From 2006
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 1.10 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 4.15 Lbs.

28. Coleman Natural Foods Poultry Division (formerly listed as BC Natural Chicken) comprises merged operations in Pennsylvania (BC Natural Chicken), California (Petaluma Poultry) and Georgia (King's Delight). Coleman Natural Proteins is owned by Booth Creek Management Corp., a Colorado equity group with extensive interests in the food industry.

  • Coleman Natural Foods; Golden, Colorado
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 3.08 Mil Lbs. Wkly.
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 0.72 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 5.88 Lbs.

COO Mark McKay reported sales of $315 million in chicken, which break out 62 percent retail, 25 percent foodservice and 13 percent industrial. Company brands are Coleman Natural, Colman Organic, Rosie Organic and Rocky the Range Chicken. Geographically, sales break out 30 percent Northeast, 30 percent West, 25 percent Southeast, 5 percent Southwest, 5 percent Northwest and 5 percent Midwest.

0802USAprobColeman 

Coleman Natural Foods, Poultry Division, employs 1,100 people in operations that include one hatchery (380,000 eggs per week capacity), one feed mill (2,300 tons per week), two slaughter processing plants (720,000 birds per week capacity), two further processing facilities, three cooked product facilities, three distribution centers and two wastewater treatment facilities. The company's rolling stock includes 65 vehicles.

Broilers are grown on 93 farms in 272 houses (80 percent contract and 20 percent company owned). Breeders and pullets are on 18 farms in 26 houses.

Capital improvements: The capacity of the BC Natural Chicken processing plant in Fredericksburg, Pa., was expanded by 29 percent in 2007. The company plans to add a new distribution center in 2008.

29. Farmers Pride President and CEO Scott Sechler and his management team completed a three-year capital improvement program in 2006 that included among many other things the installation of air-chilling at the Fredicksburg processing plant. The company's premium label Bell & Evans broilers are fed rations without ionophores, antibiotics or animal byproducts.

  • Farmers Pride, Inc.; Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 3.0 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↓ 0.2 Mil Lbs. ↓ 6.3%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 0.85 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 5.55 Lbs.

The company's $180 million sales break out 80 percent retail and 20 percent foodservice. Product forms are 85 percent fresh and 15 percent frozen; and 85 percent cut-up. Geographically, sales break out 60 percent Northeast, 18 percent Midwest, 10 percent Southeast, 10 percent Southwest and 2 percent West. Company brands are Farmers Pride and Bell & Evans.

0802USAprobFarmersPride 

The company employs 1,000 people in operations that include a hatchery (615,000 eggs per week capacity), processing plant (1 million head per week capacity) and wastewater treatment facility. Birds are grown under contract.

30. Draper Valley Farms was acquired in 2007 by Booth Creek Management Corp., a Colorado equity group with extensive interests in the food industry. The company now operates as Draper Valley Holdings, LLC. Booth Creek also owns Coleman Natural Foods.

  • Draper Valley Holdings, LLC; Mount Vernon, Washington
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 2.13 Mil Lbs. Wkly.
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 0.55 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 5. 29 Lbs.

Draper Valley Brands are Draper Valley Farms, Cascade Poultry, Northwest Farms and Ranger The Free Range Chicken.

Draper Valley employs 589 people in operations that include two hatcheries (600,000 chicks per week), two feed mills (3,000 tons per week), one processing plant, one further processing plant and one distribution center. Approximately 80 percent of the company's broiler production is under contract.

31. 

  • Holmes Foods; Nixon, Texas
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 1.70 Mil Lbs. Wkly.
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 0.51 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 4.0 Lbs.

32. MBA Poultry, LLC, produces air-chilled tray-pack chicken and a line of certified-organic, free-range chicken. Organic birds are raised on company-owned grow-out facilities. Birds destined for tray-pack products are grown under contract.

  • MBA Poultry, LLC; Tecumseh, Nebraska
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 1.25 Mil Lbs. Wkly.
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 0.32 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 6.15 Lbs.

33. 

  • Lady Forest Farms; Forest, Mississippi
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 1.06 Mil Lbs. Wkly.
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 0.35 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 4.05 Lbs.

34. Gentry Poultry CEO W.M. Gentry reports that the company's $50 million sales break out 40 percent retail, 30 percent foodservice, 30 percent institutional and the remainder in non-specified categories. All sales are in the Southeast. Product forms are 100 percent fresh; 70 percent cut-up; and 10 percent uncooked further processed.

  • Gentry Poultry Co., Inc.; Ward, South Carolina
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 1.02 Mil Lbs. Wkly. No Change From 2006
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 0.31 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 4.35 Lbs.

Gentry Poultry employs 200 people in operations that include a processing plant with a slaughter capacity of 315,000 birds per week. Broilers are grown under contract on 28 farms. Rolling stock includes 33 vehicles.

35. Gerber's Poultry President Mike Gerber reports the company completed over $1.3 million in capital improvements in 2007. The company installed a 140-bird-per-minute Meyn Maestro evisceration system at a cost of $1 million. Other improvements included installation of wastewater reuse system and sludge press at a cost of $300,000 and improvements to labeling equipment and systems.

  • Gerber's Poultry; Kidron, Ohio
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 0.97 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 0.08 Mil Lbs. ↑ 9%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 0.27 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 5.09 Lbs.

Gerber's sales break out 70 percent retail and 30 percent foodservice. All sales are in the Midwest. Product forms are 98 percent fresh and 2 percent frozen; 75 percent cut-up; and 10 percent uncooked further processed.

0802probUSAgerber 

The company employs 320 people in operations that include slaughter, processing, further processing and distribution in one facility. The company also operates a hatchery (400,000 eggs per week capacity). Logistics are handled by a third party. Broilers are raised under contract on 107 grow-out farms in 128 houses.

Capital improvements planned for 2008 include $300,000 in upgrades to refrigeration systems; $200,000 for paw harvesting; $300,000 for boiler and potable water system upgrades; and $100,000 for security-related upgrades.

36. Park Farms brands include Fresh N' Natural, Fresh N' Natural Premium Trim, Poultry Perfecto, Park Farms IQF Chicken and All Natural Specialty Poultry.

  • Park Farms, Inc.; Canton, Ohio
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 0.95 Mil Lbs. Wkly. No Change From 2006
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 0.32 Mil Lbs. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 3.80 Lbs.

The company employs approximately 380 people in operations that include a hatchery (400,000 chicks per week capacity), a slaughter plant (330,000 birds per week capacity), a further processing facility and a distribution center.

37. Hain Pure Protein President Joe DePippo and his management team like to say that they march to the tune of a different drumstick. Focusing on the natural and organic category, the company's FreeBird antibiotic-free chickens are fed a diet free of animal byproducts.

  • Hain Pure Protein Corp.; Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 0.84 Mil Lbs. Wkly. ↑ 0.04 Mil Lbs. ↑ 5%
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 0.22 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 5.30 Lbs.

The company's $41 million sales break out 55 percent foodservice and 45 percent retail. Product forms are 95 percent fresh and 5 percent frozen; 30 percent cut-up; and 5 percent cooked. Geographically, sales are 65 percent in the Northeast, 30 percent Midwest and 5 percent Southeast.

Hain Pure Protein employs 220 people in operations that include a feed mill (1,100 tons per week), hatchery (235,000 chicks per week), processing plant, rendering plant and wastewater treatment plant. Chickens are grown under contract on 28 farms in 56 grow-out houses.

Acquisition: Hain Pure Protein, which is a joint-venture subsidiary of Hain Celestial and Pegasus Capital Advisors, LP, acquired Plainville Turkey Farm, Plainville, N.Y. in 2007.

38. Empire Kosher Poultry President and CEO Greg Rosenbaum and his management team operate the world's largest kosher poultry processing business. The company was founded on the principle of producing premium-quality poultry while observing the Jewish Dietary Laws, collectively known as kashrus, which require a natural cleansing and preparation process.

  • Empire Kosher Poultry, Inc.; Mifflintown, Pennsylvania
  • Ready-To-Cook Volume: 0.5 Mil Lbs. Wkly.
  • Live Throughput @ Plants: 0.19 Mil Hd. Wkly. Avg. Wt. Per Hd. 4.25 Lbs.

The company employs 750 people in operations that include a hatchery (280,000 eggs per week capacity), a feed mill (4,000 tons per week capacity), a processing plant with further processing and cooking capabilities and a wastewater treatment plant. Broilers are grown on 34 farms in 55 houses.

0802USAprobEmpire 

Nearly 25 percent of Empire's customers are not Jewish. They purchase the product because they find the taste superior to ordinary poultry and enjoy the health benefits of the kosher process.