Featured Guest Speaker

The Virginia Aquaculture Conference is pleased to welcome Jim Perdue as the Featured Guest Speaker

A Path for Growth

Jim Perdue, Chairman and advertising spokesman of Perdue Farms, has led Perdue Foods from an East-coast-centered premium fresh chicken brand to a national roster of premium protein brands, including turkey, pork, beef and lamb, and Perdue Agribusiness from a regional grain and oilseed business to a multi-faceted international player. Jim has strong ties to aquaculture; trained in marine biology and fisheries, this Maryland oyster grower serves the Oyster Recovery Project as board chairman. He will discuss parallels between today’s aquaculture industry and the poultry industry of yesteryear and share insight into how the aquaculture industry could flourish and grow.

Global poultry meat production increased rapidly over the last 50 years, growing more than 12-fold. The United States has become the world’s largest producer of poultry meat followed by Europe, China and Brazil. Modern poultry production systems, genetics and husbandry, product innovation and marketing evolved greatly during that time in the United States making chicken the No. 1 meat here. These advances in U.S. poultry were rapidly adopted in Europe and Brazil.

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FA0) examined global protein markets in 2017 and reported aquaculture experienced the greatest annual growth in global protein production at 7.4% between 1990 and 2014. Global aquaculture production has surpassed wild-catch fishery yields. The FAO predicted chicken will overtake pork as the No. 1 meat in the world around 2020. FAO also predicted aquaculture could overtake chicken in the near future.

Aquaculture is destined to compete head-on with poultry for a share of U.S. consumer protein demand. Aquaculture’s healthy food status, the local food movement and tourism drive US consumer demand for fin and shellfish. Before aquaculture can increase market-share, more intensive and efficient production systems are needed. Improvements in genetics, feed efficiency and disease management will reduce production costs. However, capitalization, biosecurity and compliance with food safety and environmental regulations will challenge industry growth. Product innovation will become increasingly important to attract consumers and compete with cultured seafood protein products under development.

Jim received his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University, a master’s degree in marine biology from the University of Massachusetts at South Dartmouth, a doctorate in fisheries from the University of Washington Seattle, and his MBA from Salisbury University in Maryland.

Jim Perdue is a recognized poultry industry leader. Jim is a member of board of the National Chicken Council. He was inducted into the American Poultry Historical Society’s Poultry Industry Hall of Fame in February 2019 for his innovation and management of a “premium protein company” and industry leadership “producing antibiotic free chicken raised humanely”.

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