Prestage Farms rolls out surveillance equipment to keep things in perspective

An Eye On Farming

Prestage Farms rolls out surveillance equipment to keep things in perspective

Founded in 1983, Prestage Farms and its affiliates produce more than one billion pounds of turkey and pork annually. From its corporate headquarters in North Carolina, the company now employs some 1,800 associates and contracts with over 400 farm families. It maintains one of the world’s largest turkey hatching facilities, and has expanded across state lines to include pork divisions in Mississippi, Iowa, South Carolina and Oklahoma.

THE GOAL: SAFE FOOD PRODUCTION

As a major part of the world’s food production system, the owners of Prestage Farms are dedicated to producing safe and nutritious food for consumers. They pride themselves on the company’s long legacy of producing pork and turkey in a responsible, ethical and humane manner. They are committed to exceeding the expectations of their customers and communities, as well as meeting the highest standards regarding animal welfare they have established for themselves.

“When we first started talking about installing a surveillance system, we wanted to have cameras and recorders that were affordable and easy to operate” said Bradley Faircloth, business analyst at Prestage Farms. “The equipment works in the background, and if an incident occurs, we just access the NVR and pull up the footage easily. It lets us see what happened so we can concentrate on fixing the situation.”

Although poultry farming has been considered by many to be a relatively lowtech operation, management of Prestage Farms has instead embraced technology as a means of ensuring the highest quality products possible, and they approached Clinton, North Carolina-based security integrator Star Communications for help.

MONITORING PROCESSES AND ENHANCING DAILY OPERATIONS

In the first stage of what will be an extensive multi-phase project, the integrator paired Honeywell’s Performance Series 1080p IR cameras with Performance Series PoE embedded NVRs in several turkey houses and the truck wash bay area. The resulting surveillance platform helps farm operators monitor processes and enhance daily operations.

“It gives us peace of mind because it also lets us be upfront with our business operations,” Faircloth said. “It gives us the ability to show that we do what we say we do.”

Star Communications decided to go with Honeywell because of past success with their products and services in the past.

“The Performance Series products are competitively priced, and the threeyear warranty was a high selling point,” said Eric Tew, security manager at Star Communications.

Because the poultry houses generate high levels of dust, the equipment must withstand a challenging environment. “The cameras and NVRs are all selfcontained and fully enclosed, so the equipment is protected—that means more reliable operation and longer unit life,” Tew said.

FUTURE EXPANDABILITY

Another important reason the integrator chose Honeywell’s Performance Series: future expandability. As the project has grown, the cameras and NVRs are expected to be installed in more than 20 poultry houses across the state of North Carolina. Ultimately, the goal is to network those sites with the company headquarters. The farm’s managers are enthusiastic about using the remote viewing capability and incident alerts in the future.

“The Performance Series line is perfect for an entry- to mid-level installation, yet it lends itself for growth in the future,” Faircloth said.

AFFORDABLE AND FLEXIBLE

Because the surveillance project will be implemented in so many diverse locations over an extended period of time, the company found the cost-effective Performance Series line to be an ideal fit.

“The cameras and NVRs are affordable— and they can all operate on a standalone basis, so once the system is installed, there’s no ongoing operational cost,” Faircloth said.

In addition to giving site managers more flexibility in undertaking their daily chores, the Honeywell system will allow the company to oversee employee activity, as well as more closely monitor the health and activity of the birds. It will also provide more transparency regarding the company’s perceived treatment of animals.

“This installation was different from many conventional security applications because the poultry houses are all located in rural areas with no Internet access,” Tew said. “The farmers don’t need cameras to address the level of criminal activity that might be present in more populated areas—they simply use the technology to keep an eye on the enclosures and make sure the birds are okay. Ultimately, their goal is to keep food safer.”

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Security Today.

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