The Department of Poultry Science in North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will be renamed the Prestage Family Department of Poultry Science following a transformational $10 million gift.
Bill and Marsha Prestage owners of Prestage Farms, a poultry and pork production company headquartered in Clinton, NC offered the gift to one of only six poultry science departments in the US.
“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 says. “The partnerships we have with supporters like the Prestage family are essential in helping us fulfill our mission as the largest public institution of higher education in North Carolina. Together we will continue to strengthen NC State’s position as an incubator for research, educational innovation, collaboration and economic development.”
The gift will be divided into two endowments that will provide income in perpetuity to support a strategic combination of teaching, research and extension programs. The Prestage Department of Poultry Science Endowment for Excellence will allow the department to respond to emerging needs and opportunities by providing faculty and student support, curriculum enrichments, increased opportunity for interdisciplinary research and enhanced ability to respond to an agricultural crisis.
The second gift endowment will be used to fund the Prestage Family Distinguished Professorship in Turkey Physiology, Nutrition and Immunology. The distinguished professorship will allow NC State to recruit a renowned faculty member who will contribute to the department’s overall teaching, research and outreach mission.
”This endowment is an investment in the future. With only six poultry science departments left in the country, we felt it was important to endow the NC State poultry science department in order to ensure that the department would always have the funding necessary to continue its service to the industry,” says Bill Prestage. “While we could have built a building, buildings will eventually need to be replaced. An endowment is forever.”
Poultry production is big business in North Carolina. The state ranks second in the US, producing nearly 10% of the nations poultry. Annually, North Carolina poultry companies produce approximately 800 million broilers, or chickens raised for meat, 32 million turkeys and more than 3 billion eggs. North Carolina currently ranks No. 2 nationally in turkey production; No. 3 in total poultry; No. 5 in broiler production; and No. 10 in egg production.
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.