Agriculture 2023: JOHN KING
PRESIDENT, VIRGINIA POULTRY GROWERS COOPERATIVE, HINTON
Turkey growers in the Shenandoah Valley formed the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative in 2004, after Pilgrim’s Pride announced it was closing a processing plant in Hinton, a major economic hit to the region. Approximately 200 farmers own 100% of the co-op and receive a portion of profits based on how much business each farm does with the co-op.
The co-op was one of the first turkey processers in the nation to offer organic and antibiotic-free products, and it processes about 7 million turkeys a year. In 2019, it completed a three-year, $100 million plant expansion.
A two-time Radford University grad, King served as vice president of sales and became president of the cooperative in 2017. He previously worked for ag giants Rocco Foods (now Cargill) and Pilgrim’s Pride and joined the co-op when it was formed. King serves as a board member on the powerful and influential statewide board of GO Virginia, the state economic development initiative. He also is an executive committee member on the National Turkey Federation’s board and also serves on the Council for Rural Virginia’s board.