For over six decades, Pilgrim’s has produced healthy, high-quality food products that go into some of the world’s finest recipes. Working with approximately over 4,000 family farms throughout the U.S. and Mexico, we are dedicated to providing these wholesome, high-quality products at a great value. As the second-largest chicken producer in the world Pilgrim’s has the capacity to process more than 34 million birds per week for a total of more than over 10 billion pounds of live chicken annually.
With corporate headquarters located in Greeley, Colorado, we have operations in 14 U.S. states as well as in Mexico and Puerto Rico. We are committed to the 40,000 plus team members who work with us to provide products to foodservice, retail and frozen entrée customers. The company’s primary distribution is through retailers, foodservice distributors and restaurants as well as through the export of chicken products to customers all over the world. Pilgrim's Pride is a part of the JBS USA family. JBS S.A., the world's largest protein company, owns 75.5% of our outstanding common stock.
To become the BEST and MOST RESPECTED Company in our industry, creating opportunities for a better future for our team members.
- Become a more valued partner with our key customers.
- Relentless pursuit of operational excellence.
- Unique portfolio of diverse, complementary business models.
- Safe workplace environment, safe people, safe products and healthy attitudes.
- Drive ownership and accountability into every level of our Company.
- Relentlessly pursue the root cause of issues.
- Make decisions based on knowledge, facts, and data, rather than experience.
- Create growth and development opportunities that help our team members succeed.
OUR WHY (WHY DO WE GET OUT OF BED EACH MORNING?)
To fully realize our talents, skills and potential to create the BEST Company in the industry and a better future for our fellow team members, our families and the world. Together, we are Pilgrim’s and we are determined to be the BEST.
OUR HOW (HOW DO WE FULFILL OUR WHY?)
Together, we will make a difference in the lives of our team members and families if we consistently drive one another to outperform our competitors and become the BEST Company in our industry.
THE CONTEXT FOR OUR WHY
TOGETHER means all of us, listening and respecting each other, helping our team. Winning is more rewarding when it’s together (a team win).
MAKE A DIFFERENCE means that our daily efforts are performed for a greater purpose than just ourselves. We believe we can improve the lives of others through our work.
FOR OUR TEAM AND OUR FAMILIES means for each of us. There is a family and a team who depends on us (our leadership). They support us by helping take care of our responsibilities when we aren’t there. They support us by consistently working hard. It is our duty to reward them with our best in leadership every day.
TO CREATE A BETTER FUTURE means we work in a very competitive industry and in order to thrive and grow, we must strive to be the best company thus ensuring opportunities remain for us to improve our lives.
WE ARE PILGRIM'S means we are a company of PEOPLE who have a burning desire to make a difference. We are over 40,000 strong and we value, respect and support each other no matter what.
DETERMINED TO BE THE BEST means we know that in order to receive maximum reward for our work and to create the best future for our families and our team members, we must have a passionate desire and determination to be the best at all times. We are willing to work hard, work smart and support each other in order to win.
The story began on October 2, 1946, when Aubrey Pilgrim and his partner, Pat Johns, purchased a feed and seed store for $3,500 from W. W. Weems in Pittsburg, Texas. Soon after forming the partnership, Aubrey asked his brother, Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim, to join them.
The Early Days
In the early days, the Pilgrims would sell 100 baby chicks and a sack of feed to local farmers who would take the chicks home and raise them in their back yards, keeping some for family needs and bringing back the remainder when they were grown. Selling baby chicks to drive feed sales was one of several innovative ideas that would later lead to the "vertical integration" model of poultry production used by nearly every major poultry company today.
The Pilgrim brothers faced a number of tremendous challenges in building their new business.
"There was nothing remotely close to a long-range plan, a strategic plan, or a business plan associated with Farmer's Feed and Seed," Bo recalled. "I doubt if there was even very much time for daydreaming about a future. We were working long hours, sometimes hauling a load of peas over to the Cass County Canning Co. in Atlanta, Texas, not getting home until three o'clock in the morning, then getting to the store to open it at seven o'clock. The fact is, it was all about survival. Survival meant meeting a customer's expectations so the customer would become a return customer."
He soon learned not only to survive, but also how make a business grow.
"The first year I was with my brother as a partner, we added a warehouse to the store and, with it, a loading ramp, unloading pit, an elevator to carry feed to a bagging machine, and an electric sewing machine for the feed sacks," he said.
Bo's early process improvements allowed the company to dramatically reduce wasted grain, which used to be lost through the cracks of the floor in the feed store, and enabled the Pilgrim brothers to use automation to sell truckloads of feed out of the warehouse.
"We began to grow in a way that, looking back, was a set of small but integrated steps. We didn't know it at the time, of course, that our steps were linked in some way. We were simply responding to one opportunity after the next. In retrospect, the pieces of a fairly elaborate puzzle were beginning to fall into place," said Bo.
The puzzle soon began to take shape as opportunities came in the form of acquisitions and capital improvements. The first major expansion came in the 1950s, when the Pilgrim brothers purchased the Hudson Cotton Gin and a hatchery in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. They leased their first chicken-processing plant in Mt. Pleasant in 1960.
Tragedy struck in 1966 when Aubrey Pilgrim died of a heart attack, leaving Bo to lead the company he had worked so hard to help establish. As Bo remembers, "I can't begin to tell you what a shock Aubrey's death was to me. My whole world was shaken... Aubrey and I were brothers and business partners. Nobody was closer to me."
After a long, sleepless night, Bo Pilgrim decided it was up to him to continue the Pilgrim's legacy.
"That single decision gave my life direction from that day forward," he said. "I had every hope and intention and motivating desire to run the company to even greater heights. Failure was not an option."
Growth Through Acquisitions
In the years ahead, the company continued to grow and thrive, purchasing Market Produce of Fort Worth in 1969 and undergoing two name changes: Pilgrim's Corporation and Pilgrim Industries, Inc. Several other acquisitions followed, and on November 15, 1986, Pilgrim's Pride Corporation became a publicly owned company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. One year later, the company expanded into Mexico.
In the 1990s, Pilgrim's Pride continued its growth, acquiring Green Acre Foods, Inc. in Nacogdoches, Texas. Fast-forward to the acquisition of WLR Foods, Inc., in 2001, which expanded the company's sales and marketing capabilities from coast to coast, and the purchase of ConAgra's chicken division in 2003, which doubled the size of the company and helped generate record sales and earnings growth for Pilgrim's Pride.
On December 27, 2006, Pilgrim's Pride completed the acquisition of Atlanta-based Gold Kist for $1.1 billion in cash and the assumption of approximately $144 million of debt. At the time, Gold Kist had been the third-largest poultry processor in America, processing 14 million birds per week and employing 16,500 people at the time it was acquired by Pilgrim's Pride. With the addition of Gold Kist, Pilgrim's became the world's leading chicken company in terms of production and the fourth-largest U.S. meat protein company by revenues.
But by 2008, the chicken market had changed dramatically. Record-high corn prices, an oversupply of chicken and financial constraints combined to force Pilgrim's Pride to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2008. The company brought in a new CEO, Don Jackson, who steered the company through a 13-month reorganization in which it closed plants, eliminated thousands of administrative and production jobs, and refocused on becoming a market-driven company. In December 2009, Pilgrim's emerged from its reorganization as a stronger, more competitive company. Pilgrim's also achieved an incredibly rare feat for companies in Chapter 11 – it repaid all creditors in full and preserved significant value for existing shareholders. JBS USA, a unit of JBS S.A. in Brazil, acquired 64% of Pilgrim's stock in December 2009.
Pilgrim's is now headed by Bill Lovette, our CEO since 2011. The company’s mission has been focused on striving to be the best managed and most respected company in the industry by being a valued partner with our key customers, relentless pursuit of operational excellence, and strategically growing our valued added exports.
On June 1st, 2015, Pilgrim's announced plans to acquire Tyson de México, a poultry company with an estimated annual revenue of $650 million. Tyson and Pilgrim's worked together to complete the deal quickly, and it was finalized June 26, 2015.
Pilgrim's announced on November 29, 2016 its agreement to acquire GNP Company, a leading provider of premium branded chicken products in the Upper Midwest, in an all cash, $350 million transaction. The transaction, as described in the announcement, was completed on January 6, 2017.
Today JBS USA controls 75.5% of Pilgrim’s stock.