Clinton, N.C.-based Prestage Farms has been chosen as this year’s recipient of its industry leadership award in recognition of the pork and turkey processor's numerous innovations.

The award, formerly known as the Industry Innovator Award, is presented annually as "The Jewell" in honor of poultry industry pioneer Jesse Jewell.

In an industry in which some companies are near the century mark, Bill Prestage, who is president of the company, founded Prestage in 1983. He works with his wife and three sons in the business.

Among the company’s leading-edge accomplishments is its brand-new initiative to build a biomass energy production company that will convert poultry litter to energy for Smithfield’s Tar Heel, N.C. hog production facilities. The company is considered a leader in using sustainable practices in the industry, and last year, Bill and Marsha Prestage gave North Carolina State University $10 million for its College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“We believe in investing in technologies that allow our business and industry to be both environmentally and economically sustainable,” says John Prestage, senior vice president of Prestage Farms. “We strive to continuously improve our methods, so, this recognition is truly an honor.”

“Curbing the waste stream and emissions that accompany raising animals for food is a challenge for everyone, and we’re impressed with the leadership that Prestage Farms has shown in this, and other areas of innovation,” said Bill McDowell, editorial director of Meatingplace and its sister publications. Meatingplace is sponsor of the award.