Who We Are

The purpose of the Texas Poultry Federation and Affiliates is to serve as the voice of Texas egg and chicken farmers. Texas egg and poultry farmers are committed to providing safe, high-quality and affordable food products for families across the state and nation and are integral members of their local communities. In addition, our farmers are dedicated to providing excellent care to their flocks and being responsible stewards of the land, air and water surrounding their farms.

Our Leadership

The Texas Poultry Federation is governed by a Board of Directors who represent the state's poultry farmers at the local, state and national levels. The board encompasses a variety of farmers and alied industry professionals who have expertise and a passion for the industry to help drive the organization forward and to ensure a sustainable future.

Board of Directors



Heath Sellers - 2024
Tyson Foods Inc.

First Vice-President

TJ Klein - 2024
MPS Egg Farms


Gary Hogue - 2026
Aviagen N.A.

Dr. Kevin Kessler - 2025
Tyson Foods Inc.

Billy Wyatt - 2026
Aviagen N.A.

David Carpenter - 2026
Cal-Maine Foods


Charles Swain - 2025
Cobb Vantress Inc.

Lance Lacefield - 2025

Matt Whiteman - 2025
Cal-Maine Foods

Holly Duck - 2024
Merck Animal Health

Ashley Fontenot - 2024
Sanderson Farms Inc.

Kevin Odenbach - 2024
Cobb Vantress Inc.


Gary Fuchs - 2024
Ideal Poultry Breeding Farms

At Large Members

Judson Smith - 2024
Wayne-Sanderson Farms

Joe Klein - 2024
Nest Fresh

Stephen Fuchs - 2024
Ideal Poultry Breeding Farms


Dr. Audrey McElroy

Joe Klein - 2024
Nest Fresh

Stephen Fuchs - 2024
Ideal Poultry Breeding Farms

image of baby chicks

Staff Leadership

JC Essler head shot

J.C. Essler

Executive Vice President
Texas Poultry Federation

A poultry industry veteran with more than 20 years' experience, J.C. Essler has served as the executive vice president for the Texas Poultry Federation since 2019. In his role, Essler is responsible for advising the board of directors and ensuring that the board-approved plans and initiatives are effectively implemented.

Additionally, Essler represents the organization on poultry issues within the Texas Legislature, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Animal Health Commission, Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Board, Texas A&M University and Stephen F. Austin State University.

Essler holds a degree in poultry science from Texas A&M University. He is also a graduate of the Texas A&M AgriLife's Advanced Leaders Program. He and his wife, Kelly, have two sons, Jimmy and Henry.

image of chickens

Our Affiliates

The Texas Poultry Federation is comprised of four Affiliate organizations, including the Texas Allied Poultry Association, Texas Broiler Council, Texas Egg Council and the Texas Poultry Improvement Association.