New poultry producer Pure Prairie Farms has completed the purchase of a former Simply Essentials chicken processing plant in Charles City, Iowa. The plant, which previously closed in August of 2019, is a state-of-the-art retail tray-packaging facility and features air-chill technology. The plant is scheduled to be fully operational by spring of 2022.
Pure Prairie Farm's chicken products will initially focus distribution in the upper Midwest. In addition to organic offerings, the company's products will include all-natural, highly trimmed portions, made from chicken flocks in which antibiotics have never been used, and that have been fed a vegetable- and grain-based diet. Pure Prairie Farms expects to capitalize on the growing desire for premium poultry products, as U.S. consumer demand rises to a forecasted 113 pounds of chicken consumed, per capita, in 2021.
"Everyone that's come together in this effort has a passion for the chicken business," says Brian Roelofs, Pure Prairie Farms' president and chief executive officer. "It's been a long journey, and we are excited to bring this state-of-the-art plant back to life. Not only for everyone involved, but for the greater community of Charles City. It's now the place we call home," Roelofs adds.
According to Roelofs, Pure Prairie Farms represents the cooperative efforts of local farm partners, investors, and executives who bring bench strength in Midwestern poultry and a deeply committed team. Not only will the company's ownership make-up include the executive group and farm partners, alike—a unique combination in the chicken industry—but Pure Prairie Farms plans to further differentiate itself from industry giants as it focuses on the value of relationships. "Through the entire process, which has been years in the making, we've remained steadfast in our commitment to growers as partners. We look forward to building an even stronger team as we work together, as one, to offer unmatched chicken experiences and value for one another," Roelofs adds.
Along with Roelofs, executive positions include poultry industry veterans of former Minnesota-based GNP Company, before it was purchased in 2016. These include Brad Vokac, vice president of sales and marketing, and Eva Wiechmann Miller, vice president of supply chain for Pure Prairie Farms. George Peichel, chief financial officer, and Anita Janssen, vice president of strategic initiatives, round out the company's top leadership, both having previously held executive positions with former Iowa-based chicken company, Prairie's Best Farms.
"Our intent is to become an employer of choice and for Pure Prairie Farms to share its prosperity with the greater Charles City community. Through the experience of our team and appreciation for people, we are 100% committed to further building relationships through stewardship, integrity, cooperation, and excellence, together," says Roelofs.