Just as the spread of the global pandemic accelerated in the U.S. in March 2020, our PERDUE® brand was slated to launch a new product-focused TV commercial advertising campaign.
However, given the state of global fears and unknowns surrounding COVID-19, we felt that a traditional commercial didn’t feel right in the moment. Foregoing the planned ad launch, we opted for a new approach to acknowledge the unfolding situation and salute the many essential workers across the nation who were working overtime to keep the food supply chain up and running as the unprecedented crisis continued to evolve.
With a quick pivot, we scripted an unorthodox production plan for a new ad featuring Chairman Jim Perdue, who filmed the spot himself in “selfie mode” while the production team directed remotely.
The result was a heartfelt message in Jim’s own words into his own cell phone. Standing in front of one of the company’s branded trucks, he thanked everyone from farmers to shelf stockers — “folks who are rarely seen, even more rarely thanked, yet they’re always there when we need them the most.”
In 2020, the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Niman Ranch, awarded scholarships to 48 young people from seven states totaling more than $169,000 during the 22nd Annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Award Ceremony.
Recipients will use the funds to help defray the costs of higher education so they can return to the farm and support rural agriculture communities.
As we embarked on a new fiscal year in April 2020, the harsh reality of the coronavirus pandemic was intensifying across the U.S., impacting our business and our communities. We were in the midst of our company’s 100th anniversary year, with hopes for celebration and commemoration of our heritage. Those plans were set aside for a larger calling.
As stay-at-home orders expanded, and increased demand for fresh poultry left grocery stores shelves empty in many places, it was the thousands of Perdue associates who answered the call as federally designated frontline workers to help meet the sharp adjustments in demand. They showed up diligently to help maintain a steady supply of food to keep our fellow Americans fed.
Through it all, the focus of Perdue’s COVID-19 response was and remains two-fold: keep our associates safe and do our part to keep America fed.
What we could not anticipate was that a year later, as we closed out our fiscal year, the virus would still be a constant presence in our lives. It was a year of great uncertainty and anxiety in which wearing masks and social distancing were the current reality.
Beginning in the fall of 2020, the roll out of FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines signaled that hope was on the horizon and we may soon see an end to this unprecedented global pandemic. Through our partnerships with local and state health organizations, associates across many of our operations were starting to receive free vaccinations, as the company worked persistently to fulfill our commitment to provide all associates access to a vaccine.
Early on in March 2020, Perdue established an internal Coronavirus Response Task Force to help navigate the potential impacts to our business. Throughout the pandemic, Perdue was ahead of the curve in putting measures in place to mitigate COVID-19 often before guidance from public health experts evolved. In fact, at our invitation, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials toured a number of our food-production facilities and they recognized our extensive incremental mitigation practices as “best-in-class.”
In December, Perdue Farms called on the CDC to prioritize essential meat and poultry workers, and their families and co-habitants, for vaccine prioritization as part of the Phase 1b of distribution. Perdue also offered resources to assist the CDC and states in this effort, recognizing that a successful vaccine program would require partnership between government and private industry.
The pandemic shed a harsh light on the ongoing issue of food insecurity. For many Americans, the pandemic forced thousands of people to seek assistance with putting a meal on the table for the first time. As a food company, Perdue Farms was uniquely positioned to help.
Through our decades-long partnership with Feeding America® and our “Delivering Hope To Our Neighbors®” hunger-relief initiative, Perdue Farms donated more than four million pounds of protein to Feeding America®-affiliated food banks in our communities and beyond.
We also directed protein donations to support frontline health-care workers and first responders, and to support community-based hunger-relief programs.
As we navigate forward amid the pandemic, we remain committed to keeping our associates, their families and our communities safe, while keeping food on tables across the nation.
We will continue to be guided by our 101-year heritage and our values of quality, integrity, teamwork and stewardship, while working hard to fulfill our vision “to be the most trusted name in food and agricultural products®.”
The Perdue family farmhouse, located across the street from our headquarters in Salisbury, Md., is a daily reminder to all of us at Perdue of our values of quality, integrity, teamwork and stewardship upon which the business was built.
The farmhouse was built in 1917 by company founder Mr. Arthur Perdue. Three years later, he and his wife, Pearl Parsons Perdue, began a small poultry operation on its ground in 1920. Their only child, son Franklin Parsons Perdue, was born in the home in May of that year.
The farmhouse underwent a restoration in 2007, revealing the original wood-side exterior, interior hardwood, woodwork and fireplaces. The work also uncovered a wood shingle hidden in one of the walls, signed and dated “September 1917” by Arthur Perdue.
In 2017, the Perdue family farmhouse was designated a Maryland Century Farm and is included on the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties. The home retains its original floor plan and many original architectural features. Family photos, furnishings and memorabilia are on display throughout the home along with some family narrated videos.
The farmhouse underwent a restoration in 2007, revealing the original wood-side exterior, interior hardwood floors, woodwork and fireplaces. The work also uncovered a wood shingle hidden in one of the walls, signed and dated “September 1917” by Arthur Perdue.
In 2017, the Perdue family farmhouse was designated a Maryland Century Farm and is included on the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties. The home retains its original floor plan and many original architectural features. Family photos, furnishings and memorabilia are on display throughout the home, along with some family narrated videos.
For 102 years, Perdue Farms has remained family owned and the Perdue family is committed to continuing that legacy into our second century. Two generations of the Perdue family work in the company today and the family is committed to keeping Perdue Farms a family owned, values-driven business. Chairman Jim Perdue is the third generation to lead the company. Additionally, four members of the next generation of the family are currently working in the business.
Chairman, Perdue Farms
VP of E-Commerce, Perdue Foods
VP General Manager, Niman Ranch
VP General Manager of Pet
Director of Business Development, Perdue Agribusiness