CANDOR, NC – December 5, 2023 – Mountaire Farms, the nation’s fourth largest poultry producer, recently held its annual Top Grower Banquet in Pinehurst, N.C., to honor those family farmers who are the superstars of animal production.

With more than 500 contract growers spread across 17 counties in North Carolina, and two counties in South Carolina, this event was held to honor all the hard-working men and women who are helping Mountaire feed the world.

The Mountaire Ambassador Award was given to grower Terry Valk, of Valk Poultry in Montgomery County. He went above and beyond to help a neighbor who also raised Mountaire chickens but was struggling with health issues.

“Terry looked after the farm as if it were his own and exceeded even our expectations,” said Armando Mirande, Sr. Director of Live Operations for Mountaire. “He made multiple visits to the farm every day for weeks, worked on equipment, and called on other folks to help get the farm up to standards. In a situation like this it is good to have growers like him that you can trust to take care of business.”

When Mountaire invited him to our event to be recognized as an ambassador, his initial response was that he was grateful but thought surely, we must have somebody more deserving than him, Mirande added. “This sort of attitude is what makes him the perfect recipient of such an award. We thank him for all he’s done this year.”

The company presented the “Top Grower” awards to farmers who consistently outperform everyone else. Six are selected from the growers who raise chicken for the company’s Lumber Bridge processing plant, and six are selected from the growers who raise chicken for the company’s Siler City processing plant.

Top Growers for Mountaire in 2023 include:

  • Terry Locklear, Terry & Sally Farm, Robeson County
  • Lola Rouse, Princess Ann Farm, Robeson County
  • Josh Macon, Sunrise Farms, Randolph County
  • Justin Latham, Latham Poultry, Randolph County
  • Jay Simpson, Jay Simpson Farm, Randolph County
  • Bradley Morrison, Speck of Dirt Farm, Moore County
  • Randy Rankin, Hayden’s Farm, Marlboro County SC
  • Wendell Locklear, Shanda Kay Farm and Wendell & Connie Farm, Robeson County
  • Michael Harris, Julie Harris Farm, Moore County
  • Kou Yang, Mirkwood Farm, Montgomery County
  • Jace Ward, Jace & Megan Farm, Robeson County

The Most Improved Growers include:

  • David Melvin, Israel Farm, Bladen County
  • Jonathan Scott, Cambyl Farm, Robeson County
  • John Chisholm, Jeanette Chisholm Farm, Moore County
  • Brian Crissman, Crissman Farm, Lee County

Mountaire’s Environmental Stewardship Award winners were also recognized for their accomplishments this past year:

  • 1st quarter – Tony Purvis, Walker Hill Farm, Moore County
  • 2nd quarter – Jeff Lucas, Lucas Farm, Montgomery County
  • 3rd quarter – Dustin Morrison, DM Morrison Farm, Moore County
  • 4th quarter – Roxana Shepard, Abner Mountain Farm, Montgomery County

The company also honored their retiring growers:

  • Ricky McBride, Ricky McBridge Farm, Montgomery County, 23 years
  • David Sullivan, David Sullivan Farm, Richmond County, 26 years
  • Stoney Creek, Moore County, NC, Grower: Kim Garner, 27 years

“A common sentiment among all our retiring growers is how much they always appreciated the treatment they received from Mountaire throughout the years,” Mirande said. “It’s always based on fairness and respect and that is why they stayed with us all those years. Our history shows we have had so many more growers migrating from other integrators to us than those we have lost. There are plenty of companies to grow for in North Carolina and this record speaks for itself.”