François Léger, a beef and agriculture enthusiast, started FPL Food in 2004 with one dream: to raise sustainable beef and bring a high quality beef product to everyone’s plate while respecting the planet. Armed with an agriculture degree, he began his career in the beef industry working for companies across the globe, including Australia, South America, and the U.S. After 21 years of learning the industry, he landed the opportunity to realize this dream with the purchase of a harvesting and grinding facility in Augusta, Georgia. And in true cattle fashion, he branded the business with his initials, and our company, FPL Food, was born.
The business grew, allowing him to acquire and develop our own farming operation in Reidsville, GA. In 2011, he named his ranch Châtel Farms, an homage to his French roots. His goal was to show that quality cattle could be raised and finished for beef production in the Southeastern United States, all while implementing new sustainable practices with the mindset to return to the land what is being borrowed from it. And step up to the plate he did, by sourcing some of the best Angus genetics for his herds and growing corn and other forage crops as feed on-site. In 2012, Francois purchased 4 Akaushi wagyu bulls, and as the demand for wagyu has grown across the United States, so has the herd at Châtel Farms. That same year, FPL Food added an additional processing facility with grinding capabilities in Thomasville, GA to keep up with the growing demand for case-ready retail products such as portioned steaks and burger patties. In 2017, the farm invested in monoslope barns and built the feeding operation to further the mission to raise exceptional cattle. In 2019, Francois started the foundation of the Châtel-Ankony herd by purchasing pure-bred Angus genetics.
Today, Francois’ vision for Châtel Farms spreads across four farms in Georgia and one in Texas: two feeding operations, a pure-bred Angus farm, a cow-calf ranch, and a row crop farm. These farms are home to more than 8,000 Angus and Akaushi wagyu pure-bred, seed-stock animals and feeder cattle as well to support our FPL Food beef brands.
FPL Food continues to focus on implementing innovation and pursuing renovations through out our harvest and processing facilities as well as our farms to improve efficiency, lower our carbon footprint, ensure the well-being of our cattle, and ultimately produce the highest quality beef.
Thanks to François’ dream, we’re still at it today. With over 1,600 team members at three facilities throughout Georgia, — our farm, production plant, and further processing facility help us maintain the quality our customers have come to expect.