Raleigh, N.C. — The owners of a Clinton-based poultry and pork operation have donated $10 million to North Carolina State University for poultry research and education and extension programs, officials said Wednesday.
With the gift, the school will rename its Department of Poultry Science as the Prestage Family Department of Poultry Science in honor of Bill and Marsha Prestage and their family, Chancellor Randy Woodson said.
"The impact of this gift will ensure the pre-eminence of the Prestage Department of Poultry Science for generations to come and provide a powerful stimulus for economic development in North Carolina and beyond,” Woodson said in a statement.
The gift will be divided into two endowments. One will provide faculty and student support, curriculum enrichment, increased opportunity for interdisciplinary research and enhanced ability to respond to an agricultural crisis. The second will fund the Prestage Family Distinguished Professorship in Turkey Physiology, Nutrition and Immunology, allowing N.C. State to recruit a top faculty member in the field.
"This endowment is an investment in the future," Bill Prestage said in a statement. "With only six poultry science departments left in the country, we felt it was important to endow the N.C. State poultry science department in order to ensure that the department would always have the funding necessary to continue its service to the industry."
North Carolina ranks second nationally in overall poultry production, with nearly 10 percent of the U.S. volume. Companies statewide produce approximately 800 million broilers, or chickens raised for meat, 32 million turkeys and more than 3 billion eggs annually.
Prestage Farms works with more than 400 family farms across the country to produce about 1.25 billion pounds of turkey and pork each year.