Legendary businessman Bo Pilgrim, founder of Pilgrim’s Pride has passed away.
Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim died on Friday, at the age of 89. Bo and his brother Aubrey, began what is known today as Pilgrim’s Pride in 1946. Aubrey, Bo purchased a small feed and seed store in Pittsburg, Texas for $3,500 and grew it to be the world’s second largest chicken producer, and the single largest in the United States.
The Pilgrims began selling 100 baby chicks and a sack of feed to local farmers in 1946, who would then take the chicks home and raise them. The farmers would keep what was needed for their family needs but bring the remainder of chickens back, once they were grown. Selling the baby chicks to drive feed sales was just one of several innovative ideas that would lead to “vertical integration” model which is now used by nearly every poultry company world-wide.
This brilliant business man was known, not only for his innovation and extraordinary success, but also for his love and passion of the local community. Bo regularly gave back, including numerous ‘generous’ donations to Dallas Baptist University, which is now home to the “Patty and Bo Pilgrim Chapel.” Patty and Bo’s name also adorn the Patty and Bo Pilgrim Cancer Center at the Texas Oncology campus in Mount Pleasant. The Pilgrims also contributed to the Witness Park and Prayer Tower located in Pittsburg.