is a major chicken processing company based in Salisbury, Maryland
-Demographics:Salisbury is the principal city of the Salisbury-Ocean Pines CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Salisbury metropolitan area and the Ocean Pines micropolitan area , which had a combined population of 176,657 at the 2010 census.As of the census of 2000, there were...
, United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
with annual sales in excess of $4.6B.
Origin and war era
The company was founded in 1920 by Arthur Perdue
Arthur W. Perdue was the founder of Perdue Farms along with his wife Pearl in 1920.The business was started in his backyard, and at the time only produced table eggs from chickens. The company he started in his backyard grew in to the $4.1 billion company it is today.-Legacy:The Arthur W...
with his wife, Pearl Perdue, who had been keeping a small flock of chickens. The company started out selling eggs, then in 1925, Perdue built the company's first hatchery, and began selling layer chicks to farmers instead of only eggs for human consumption. His son Frank Perdue
Franklin Parsons "Frank" Perdue , born in Salisbury, Maryland, was for many years the president and CEO of Perdue Farms, now one of the largest chicken-producing companies in the United States.-Career:...
joined the company in 1939 at age 19 after dropping out of college. In the 1940s, the company made a transition from selling layer chicks to broiler chickens.
The company was incorporated as A.W. Perdue & Son
and Frank Perdue assumed leadership in the 1950s. The company also began contracting with local farmers to raise its birds and supplying chickens for processing as well as opening a second hatchery in North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...
during this period.
Perdue entered the grain and oilseed business by building grain receiving and storage facilities and Maryland's first soybean processing plant.
In 1968 the company began operating its first poultry processing plant in Salisbury. This move had two effects: it gave Perdue Farms full vertical integration
In microeconomics and management, the term vertical integration describes a style of management control. Vertically integrated companies in a supply chain are united through a common owner. Usually each member of the supply chain produces a different product or service, and the products combine to...
and quality control over every step from egg and feed to market as well as increasing profits which were being squeezed by processors. This move enabled the company to differentiate its product, rather than selling a commodity.
In 1991, Frank's son Jim Perdue
Jim Perdue has been the Chairman and advertising spokesman of Perdue Farms since 1991. He is a third generation leader of the company founded by his grandfather in 1920....
was named Chairman, becoming the third generation of leaders from the Perdue family.
As of 2005, Perdue Farms is the third-largest American producer of broilers (chickens for eating), annually producing 59,320,000 pounds of ready-to-cook broiler meat, behind Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods, Inc. is a multinational corporation based in Springdale, Arkansas, that operates in the food industry. The company is the world's second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork only behind Brazilian JBS S.A., and annually exports the largest percentage of beef out of...
(151,300,000 lbs.) and Pilgrim's Pride
Pilgrim's Corp., previously Pilgrim's Pride , is a former U.S.-owned company with its U.S. headquarters relocated to Greeley, Colorado. As a subsidiary of the Brazilian food giant, JBS, it is the largest chicken producer in the United States and Puerto Rico and the second-largest chicken producer...
Corp. (150,930,000 lbs.)
In 2010 the corporate structure of Perdue Farms changed. A holding company, FPP Family Investments, Inc., owned by the Perdue family, became the controlling entity for Perdue Farms. The holding company also owns Perdue AgriBusiness, a grain operation; FPP Business Services, a shared business services company; and Coleman Natural Foods.
Oher subsidiaries include Heritage Breeders, LLC which is responsible for developing the breed used by Perdue, and developing other lines of stock for sale to other poultry companies; Venture Milling, which creates proteins for livestock; Perdue Fats and Proteins, LLC, which sells pet and animal feed ingredients; Perdue BioEnergy, LLC, which works in the field of renewable energies; and Perdue AgriRecycle which converts poultry litter into organic fertilizer products.