The iconic 37-foot statue that features the likeness of Pilgrim’s Pride co-founder Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim wearing a pilgrim hat in Pittsburg, Texas, and a smaller bronze statue of Pilgrim and his pet chicken, Henrietta, will be moved to new locations.
Pilgrim died on July 21, 2017 at the age of 89.
JBS USA, which acquired a majority stake of Pilgrim’s Pride in 2009, told KLTV that the Pilgrim family requested that the large statue, which sits atop a pavilion in front of a company facility in Pittsburg, be returned to them. The bronze statue will be taken from beneath the pavilion and moved to the Pilgrim Bank Mount Pleasant South branch.
Pilgrim helped start what is now the second largest broiler company in the United States after his brother, Aubrey Pilgrim, and his partner, Pat Johns, in 1946 purchased a feed and seed store for $3,500 from W.W. Weems in Pittsburg. Soon after that purchase was made, Lonnie Pilgrim asked his brother to join him.
According to the Pilgrim’s website, the Pilgrim brothers would sell 100 baby chicks and a sack of feed to local farmers who would take the chicks home and raise them in their backyards. Selling those chicks to drive feed sales was one of several innovative ideas that would later lead to the vertical integration model of poultry production that is today’s industry standard.
Pilgrim’s Pride, according to the WATT PoultryUSA Top Poultry Companies survey, processed 156.02 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken in 2018. It is the second-largest broiler company in the United States, trailing only Tyson Foods.
The company in recent years has added to its capacity, both in the United States and globally, through acquisitions. Pilgrim’s Pride acquired Tyson de Mexico in 2015, U.S.-based GNP Company in 2017, and U.K.-based Moy Park, also in 2017.