Iconic Brand has an Eye to the Future

Butterball is a truly iconic American brand, part of dinner table traditions for families since 1954. Today, after nearly 70 years in business, the revered company still has a sole focus on turkey, ensuring its products are consistent, healthy and responsibly produced.

Butterball is headquartered in Garner, North Carolina with locations across the country and a customer base around the globe. It exports to over 30 countries, striving to develop diverse and high-quality products to meet the various needs of different cultures.

For domestic consumers, Butterball produces an array of turkey products, including ground turkey, sausage links and bacon, burgers, deli meat, roasts, breasts, tenderloins—and of course, whole turkeys.

Our relationships with CoBank and AgCarolina have been incredible.

“Butterball is very brand and consumer-focused. We are constantly assessing and evaluating how and where we can improve,” said Jay Jandrain, president and CEO of Butterball.

As with most essential companies, Butterball remained operational during COVID-19, but also experienced unprecedented challenges. “Since the pandemic, the economy has accelerated, and while we are experiencing inflation, we are continuously looking for ways to accommodate our customers with a premium product at a competitive price,” Jandrain said. “It’s imperative our products stay affordable. Through it all, we are committed to our customers. And in turn, we’ve also relied more heavily on our own partnerships as we navigate through it.”

Butterball has had a longtime relationship with AgCarolina Farm Credit and became a CoBank customer in 2006. In 2021, Butterball re-balanced its banking business within the Farm Credit System—shifting its credit management and leadership from a commercial lender to CoBank—and now receives more than 50% of its funding from Farm Credit.

“Our relationships with CoBank and AgCarolina have been incredible. Especially through the difficulties of the pandemic, they have remained steadfast—they truly understand our business—and not only that, the business of our partners and growers. Without our turkey growers, Butterball does not exist. CoBank came into our relationship with a long-term view, understanding that times might be a little difficult now, but they are here through it,” Jandrain said.

Despite recent industry challenges, Butterball has remained steady and profitable, utilizing a new long-term credit facility led by CoBank, including a revolving loan and term debt options.

“Now more than ever, Butterball is excited for the future. CoBank is one of our biggest champions—it’s not just transactional, it’s a relationship. We couldn’t be more grateful for that, so we can focus on what matters—producing great-tasting turkey that brings people together,” Jandrain said.

This story was originally published in the CoBank 2023 Annual Report.